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
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.
On 5/9/04 12:58 PM, in article firstname.lastname@example.org,
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 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!
Fort Langley, BC
On 5/9/04 8:51 PM, in article email@example.com,
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
Do you have a manure source? Do you know how the previous owners
fertilized the raspberries?
Fort Langley BC
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.
On 5/17/04 7:00 PM, in article firstname.lastname@example.org,
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.
Fort Langley BC
PS: Raspberries are delicious...worth the effort.
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