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How to care for raspberry bushes

 Photo of caring for raspberry bushes

Growing raspberries — a great way to enjoy your own delicious berries without pesticides and other chemicals year after year. However, to get the most out of your raspberry plantings, it is important to provide intensive care for your raspberries.

You need to know how to care for raspberry bushes of pure and highly productive varieties, otherwise you may be left without a harvest at all. Intensive care includes proper watering of raspberry bushes. The rule is simple - from the end of August until the start of vegetative growth, watering is stopped, and when intensive growth begins, the raspberries need to be watered generously weekly, or provided with drip watering. Mulching the soil also helps retain moisture.

To obtain high yields, bees must have access to cross-pollinated raspberries. It may be necessary to build small bee houses especially for this purpose.

Annual and proper pruning of raspberry bushes is very important. For all varieties, it is advisable to immediately remove all shoots from which the harvest is harvested. Also, at the beginning of summer, you need to remove weak and simply unnecessary shoots. In each bush for fruiting you need to leave 3, 4 or 5 shoots, no more.

In spring and early summer, it is important to fertilize the bushes with organic fertilizers, which will provide the bushes with nitrogen, which is so necessary for the growth of strong shoots.

It is very important to choose the right variety and really high-quality planting material, which is guaranteed to be grown only in a nursery.

How to remove raspberry bushes for the winter

A well-maintained raspberry plantation can produce crops for 15-20 years, although it is recommended to operate the bushes for no more than 10 years. Depending on the varietal variety, raspberries are quite hardy to winter cold, but varietal plants still need some protection for the winter. If you live in the middle climate zone or further north, there are a few simple steps you need to follow to ensure your plants survive to see next spring. So, how to remove raspberry bushes for the winter?

How you protect your raspberries depends mainly on the variety of berries you grow. Summer varieties of raspberries form berries in the summer on shoots that are in their second year. After harvesting, remove 2-year-old canes that have produced berries this season. You also need to trim 1-year-old shoots to 1 meter in height. When late autumn comes, carefully bend the young ones reeds to the ground and pour about 7 cm of soil above them; for this it is better to use loose humus. The powder will insulate the shoots and protect them from freezing in the winter. In the spring, this powder should be gradually removed.

In places with extremely cold winters, it is better to use a simpler option - to grow remontant raspberries, which on the eve of winter, after harvesting, can simply be cut out at the root. These remontant varieties produce a summer harvest of berries on last year's old shoots and a second harvest, and an autumn harvest of berries — on new shoots that grew this year. To preserve both crops, young shoots should be covered with soil in the fall, just like plants of summer varieties.

A simpler approach, however, is to cut out every cane of a remontant raspberry in the fall after harvest, allowing only new canes to emerge each spring. You'll sacrifice a summer harvest, but you'll have a larger harvest in the fall, without all the hassle of securing winter protection.

How to fertilize raspberry bushes

Fertilizer for raspberry bushes should be applied in the spring soon after planting or awakening, as soon as the bushes take root and become stronger. Make sure that the fertilizer is at a distance of 8-12 cm from the stems — direct contact may burn the skin.

Raspberry plants are fed every spring. Fertilizer, especially when it is nitrogen (which is all organic matter), stimulates new growth. This is good in the spring, but can be dangerous in the summer and fall. Basically, that's all you need to know about how to fertilize raspberry bushes correctly.

Any new growth that appears too late in the season will not have time to mature before winter and will likely be damaged by frost, causing unnecessary harm to the plant. Resist the temptation to feed raspberries later than the first days of summer, even if the plants seem weak.

How to strengthen raspberry bushes

To strengthen raspberry bushes before winter, it is enough to follow the basic rules on how to care for raspberry bushes:

  • Do not overfeed the bushes with organic matter.
  • Until the end of summer, provide the plantings with sufficient moisture. From the beginning of autumn, stop watering.
  • If you shorten young shoots in late spring and early summer, they will be thick and strong.
  • When pruning in summer, no more than 5 shoots should be left in each bush, all weak shoots should be completely removed, then the remaining shoots will be strong and truly strong.

How to form a raspberry bush

The method of forming a raspberry bush depends on the type of plant - whether it is a summer variety or a remontant one. Summer varieties produce berries on the previous season's canes, which can be removed after summer berry picking or in early spring before new growth. Both methods have their supporters and opponents.

Remontant varieties form berries on the shoots of the first year of growing season, so these raspberries can be completely removed after the late harvest, when the bushes are dormant. In this case, there will be no summer harvest, but the plantation will overwinter without losses, which is important in the northern regions.

Again, pruning technique depends on varietal diversity. Red and yellow raspberries form fruiting branches directly on the main shoot from the previous season, while black and purple berries form on this year's new shoots.

Pruning red raspberries

Summer raspberry varieties are most often pruned like this: all weak and damaged shoots after winter are cut out in early spring. It is necessary to leave only the strongest shoots, thicker than 6 mm in diameter, with a step of at least 15 cm between plants. Immediately after harvesting the summer harvest, it is advisable to cut the fruiting shoots to the ground.

Remontant varieties can be pruned in two ways - just like summer varieties. In this case, next year you will be able to collect 2 harvests - the first wave will be in the summer, the second in late autumn. If you plan to harvest only one harvest, then in the summer there is no need to prune remontant raspberries. Instead, you can cut absolutely all the canes down to the ground. And this can be done in late autumn and early spring. With this method there will be no summer harvest, only one — in autumn.

After pruning, all branches from the plantation must be removed to prevent the possible spread of pests and diseases. In the spring, when the bulk of new shoots grow above 1 meter, it is advisable to shorten them by 7-10 cm to encourage branching. The tops of these side shoots, of which 3 to 5 are formed on each main shoot, will again need to be cut back by 7-10 cm in the summer. In this case, they will stop growing, and all their efforts will be directed to strengthening and forming future fruit buds.

Then, after harvesting, remove all old shoots and young shoots that are thinner than 1 cm in diameter. Next spring you need to cut out all the weak canes, leaving only four or five of the healthiest and largest ones per bush. For raspberries with black and purple berries, you need to reduce the side branches to 30-45 cm.

This, in principle, is the most important thing you need to know about how to care for raspberry bushes of different varieties in different regions.