Edmonton area raspberry problem

Gardening outside of Edmonton, Alberta. Moved into this rural location about 7 years back. Two very healthy red, everbearing raspberry patches. As the years went by, with the majority of the years severe droughts, the berry plants continually reduced in numbers despite watering (mildy sodic water . . . soft, neutral pH . . . Na at about 300 - 400 ppm), fertilizing (Rapid-Gro), careful management of canes and mulching with leaves/grasses. With the drought, heavy quack grass infestation within path (and across entire acreage, for that matter). But I'm not certain which of these may be contributing or directly responsibly for the reduction in plant numbers. This spring, very low cane count (about 20% of original number of plants). I'd guess that the patches are just about as old as the acreage (20 years). When we moved in in 1997, incredibly dense and healthy pathches.
Any other gardeners local to this area with any ideas? Thinking about a grand strategy to rejuvenate the patches. I've read a few quite different methods, from complete cut down and wait to abandonment of the patch areas and setting in new plants at another locaiton. I'd like to use the same areas. Any input would be appreciated. We are tapped out at this end. The increasing reduction despite tender care was hard to take.
--
Monroe

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On 5/9/04 12:58 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

Hi Monroe Dig a trench 1 foot or so deep and wide on either side of your raspberry rows. Fill with raw manure....any kind. I have used raw chicken s..t from an egg farmer and dumped it in as I say above. You can use cow, horse, pig anything like that. Raw is the best because it has more nutrients in it. You do want to bury it quickly for two reasons: 1. It will probably stink and 2. The sooner it is buried, the less will be the loss of nitrogen into the air. The root system of raspberries reaches out not far from the surface of the soil in all directions. Your raspberries will soon find the manure and away they will go! Grass growing up where the stalks are after a few years gets to be a problem. You can pull it and pull and yet it returns. I move my row every 10 years or so...more or less. The last time I dug the plants out, removed the grass roots and replanted in the same row. That will work should you want to keep them in the same place. If you can find some manure...it will work. For sure! Gary Fort Langley, BC
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wrote:

You mention digging the plants out. In an established patch, just how much of the plant is dug out when one wishes to replant and/or relocate ie. how much of the root sytem?
--
Monroe

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On 5/9/04 8:51 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

Hi Monroe Dig up as much root as you can...within reason. The raspberry plant is a hardy plant much like blackberries. You probably couldn't kill it even if you wanted...well, that is not really true but they will survive under many stressful situations. Cover the roots from the sun... Are you wanting to move them because of weeds? Grass? Or for another reason? Do you have a manure source? Do you know how the previous owners fertilized the raspberries? Gary Fort Langley BC
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wrote:

With the reduction in canes, year after year, and despite constant pulling, the quackgrass is in there good. The severe droughts of the last few years have "done a number" on many of the plants but the quackgrass has flourished. I'm not even talking about my lawn! Severe drought with limited freshwater supplement, sooner or later, takes it's toll. The raspberries are perhaps the most dramatic. But once again, I'm not sure if that is the problem.
You mention shallow roots . . . . . perhaps they had become damaged with the intense heat and drying? We watered reasonably well, so-so slightly sodic well water. We water from the well only when necessary. Garden does fine with this water supplementing whatever rains we receive. The raspberries . . . I don't get it. I thought fungal growth . . . . deer (present, but little evidence of them persistent at the patch) . . . . also thought perhaps the useful life of the patch is over. I moved into the area (edge of the prairie) seven years ago. Came in after a few years of good moisture and the patch was incredibly lush with growth (should note: growth was random, not in rows).
Getting back to the removal or transplant. Thought this may be the best option for "renewal". My preference is to do something where they sit, even if it means putting up with little this year. If I don't remove completely, how would a shallow tilling of the perimeter/heavier quackgrass infestation fare if I leave a good area of healthy berry canes? Failing that, you idea with manure sounds like a good shot. Plenty of . . . cow, horse, chicken, pig . . . you name it, even good ol' Conservative bullsh..t.
Thanks for your help.
--
Monroe

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On 5/17/04 7:00 PM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

Hi Monroe This post is getting longer and longer...oops! Shallow tilling only makes you feel good in the short term unless you can do it again and again over hot summer months. The truth is you must remove the roots of quack grass...there is no easy way out. At least not as far as I know. Monroe, my suggestion is to move the row but not until you harvest this years crop...whatever is there. In the mean time prepare a bed for transplanting. I have no idea how long your beds are so my method may be too labour intensive but this is what I would do. Pick the new row location, get a fork and start. Dig it up and discard any root you find into a compost pile somewhere. (Leaving them in the sun will kill them if left long enough especially if put on black plastic or hung out to dry...horizontal wire fencing held up by 2x4's. The wire fencing should be a type where the roots do not fall through. Something like chicken wire but thicker and stronger...you will want to use it again and again). The sooner you do this the sooner you will see the tips of quack grass roots that you missed. Pull them out. My attitude is you want no quack grass-zero! I also know that there will be at least one you miss...:) Get some manure and till it in. But leave a ditch on each side of the row and fill with manure...I would do that after I planted the raspberries or you will be kneeling/stepping on 's..t' while you plant. I am not sure what to tell you about watering...The methods above have worked for me in the Vancouver area. We do get much rain and that helps water the manure into the ground. Getting rid of the quack grass will eliminate the unnecessary loss of water and nutrients... That's the best information I can give without being there. Send me a ticket and I'll come have a look. :) Good luck and let us know how it works out. Gary Fort Langley BC PS: Raspberries are delicious...worth the effort.
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