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Raspberry Growing

When you begin to talk about raspberry growing, it sounds like it should be a simple subject. Actually, it is? after you choose what cultivar, color, and variety of raspberry you would like to grow!

The raspberry is the ?second fruit of the summer,? only overtaken by its relative, the strawberry, which holds first place for ?June-bearing?. Like the strawberry, the raspberry is a member of the genus, Rubus. There are two cultivars of raspberry: the summer bearing and the ever bearing. The main way these two cultivars differ is that the summer bearing produces fruit only once a season, while the ever-bearing raspberry completes the growing season with both a summer and an autumn crop of fruit.

Raspberries come in a rainbow of colors: yellow, red, purple, and black with varieties in varying shades.

Yellow and red raspberries are closely related, as are purple and black. You?ll often find the yellow or red raspberry growing in a narrow hedgerow with plants supported by a raspberry trellis. Yellow and red raspberries propagate in two ways: by ?root suckers? and crown ?shoots?. The gardener reaps several benefits from a raspberry stand that is planted for growing in hedgerows. Aside from simplifying both cultivation and harvest, the narrow hedgerow also allows the gardener to control the speed of propagation as well as limits the area the raspberry stand can occupy.

Both the purple and black raspberry were originally developed by nurseries growing red raspberry/blackberry hybrids. Neither purple nor black raspberries send out runners or propagate from root suckers like their red and yellow relatives. Like their blackberry ancestor, both purple and black raspberries propagate through crown shoots and tip rooting. The easiest way to maintain a productive purple or black raspberry stand is to propagate them through crown shoots, which is new growth, found at the base of fruiting plants. Propagation in this way allows you to prune the tips of your canes before they bend over and take root. Aside from keeping a tidier raspberry stand, pruning allows your black or purple raspberry canes to grow lateral fruit and blossom bearing branches.

Pruning a raspberry stand is a basic part of growing raspberries. Although the stand needs weeding, water, and minimal pruning throughout the growing season, leave major pruning for fall. Fall pruning consists of cutting down all second year canes (floricanes) to crown level and discarding them. Thin new growth and primocanes (first year growth), leaving only strong and healthy plants to winter.

If you are going to add to a raspberry stand or begin a new one, autumn is also the best time to begin your project. Till the ground until the soil is well worked and add aged manure or compost to help the soil stay loose and retain moisture. Then you will be ready for raspberry growing in the spring!


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