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flower and fruit gardening guides home > raspberry diseases

Raspberry diseases

Raspberry disease is generally one of two types: viral or fungal. Although there are hundreds of raspberry varieties, only a few diseases are common. The key to keeping your raspberry stand disease-free is in knowing how to grow raspberries and practicing careful and attentive husbandry.

A raspberry plant thrives in a slightly acidic soil.

Raspberries thrive in well-worked, slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic matter and well-drained. In early spring, plant raspberries in a location that receives a minimum of six hours sunlight daily. Locate your raspberry stand in an area well-away from wild raspberry bushes that may harbor raspberry disease. Many perennial weeds also may harbor raspberry disease and virus carrying insects. Before planting, take the time to eliminate all weeds thoroughly.

Place your raspberry plant in a bucket of water before planting.

An hour before you intend to plant raspberries, soak their roots in a bucket of water. Then set each plant in a well-watered hole that?s both wide and deep enough for the roots to spread out. This is especially important for red raspberries, which propagate through root suckers. Firm soil around roots, removing any air pockets. Then cover the cane an inch or two above its previous growth line. Water again. For red raspberries, cut each cane back to an eight inch height to give roots a chance to become established. In black raspberry canes, you?ll prevent anthracnose (a common fungal raspberry disease), by cutting the canes to ground level. This ?handle? will typically die back anyway and is trivial to the plant?s health as long as roots are planted properly.

Leave enough space between raspberry plant rows.

Leave enough space between rows so you can work the ground with your tiller and enough space between plants so you can comfortably rid your raspberry stand of weeds. Planting raspberries in raised beds and mulching between rows also helps eliminate weeds that harbor raspberry disease. Avoid overhead irrigation, over fertilization and wounding plants. If you should break or cut a raspberry cane, remove and destroy it. Wounded canes are susceptible to both anthracnose and cane blight (another common fungal raspberry disease).

Raspberries are biennials

Raspberry plants are biennial and grow foliage the first year. The second year they bloom and bear fruit. After the second year, their job is done. Removing old fruiting canes after this second year harvest will help prevent raspberry disease from developing on old rotting canes. Raspberry pruning at the end of each harvest also helps new root suckers to thrive and aids in prevention of raspberry disease as well.

As you work in your raspberry stand, immediately remove any canes, foliage or fruit that shows irregularities.
Inspect the area for other plants that show the same symptoms. Such irregularities are typically symptoms of raspberry disease. Knowing the symptoms of the most common raspberry diseases can prevent total devastation of your raspberry stand since removal of infected plants and plant material will usually control the disease.

Raspberries can most commonly suffer these diseases.

The most typical raspberry diseases are fungal diseases such as anthracnose, cane blight, spur blight, and botrytis fruit rot (gray mold). Symptoms of fungal raspberry disease include lesions or discoloration of canes or leaves, brittleness of canes, leaf spotting, mold, and wilting.

Viral raspberry diseases are difficult to curb.

Although less prevalent than fungal diseases, viral infections are more difficult to curb. The most common viral raspberry diseases include raspberry mosaic disease, raspberry leaf curl virus, tomato ringspot, and tobacco streak virus. Viral raspberry diseases are spread by nematodes in soil and by insect infestation, the most common being the raspberry aphid. Unfortunately, there is little good news about controlling viral raspberry disease once it invades your raspberry stand. The best method of control seems to be prevention by choosing virus resistant cultivars (varieties), proper planting, and attentive husbandry.

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