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  • Killer on the Loose September 19, 2014
    Tis the time of year when huge “bees” are flying all over the yard.  They aren’t actually bees, but bumblebee mimics and they prey on the very insects they resemble.  Meet a Robberfly (Mallophora bomboides), a member of the insect order Diptera.  This particular species is commonly called “Florida Bee Killer” due to their preferred […] We love hearing from y […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Lights, Camera, Action: Hollywood’s Fan Palms September 18, 2014
    Sprinklers let loose— Water is softly spraying a neighbor’s yard, and it sounds nice, even though it is only a plain green lawn that’s benefiting.  Well, not just a lawn— Out the window I see both a tall California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) and a more robust Phoenix Palm (Phoenix Cunninghamiana) standing together in the […] We love hearing from you! P […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • When the Gall Moves, it Probably isn’t a Gall September 12, 2014
    I was walking past the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) tree, one of two saplings I have planted on the southwest side of the pond. Bald-cypress are known for getting species-specific insects known as Cypress Twig Gall Midge (Taxodiomyia cupressiananassa). The smaller of my two trees has a few sprinkled throughout. Galls are housing created from […] We love […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Gardening for Wildlife at the Flower Farm September 11, 2014
    On September 28th last year (2012), my husband and I closed on our first home, a 1.5 acre property that backs out to a nature preserve and is surrounded by woods on all four sides. I wrote about our gardening efforts last year in an article I called “Wildlife Gardening in Rivendell,” because the property […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit September 9, 2014
    Anticipation Anticipation makes my world go ’round. I find something, perhaps a plant, just beginning to emerge in the spring. I return to the infant plant often. Watching and waiting. Looking forward to its grand finale. This is the story of anticipation from beginning to disappointing end, of a Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum. The photograph above, […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Little Lacewing Life Cycle September 8, 2014
    Lacewings are delicate insects that are considered to be beneficial to your garden.  I’ve observed them in my beautiful wildlife garden during the day and at night.  To the casual observer they appear to be clumsy fliers, but that may serve as a survival technique.  From what I’ve read, they have sensory organs at the […] We love hearing from you! Please cli […]
    Judy Burris
  • Cream of the Gardening Crop: Skimmers September 5, 2014
    I’ve a new dragonfly at my place.  I was excited when I saw the overall purple hue of this beauty.  I knew it was one I had never seen before and at first I struggled to identify it. Anyone can make up a  checklist of Dragonflies and Damselflies (order: Odonata) based on their location.  I […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beauti […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Vampires in the Canyon September 4, 2014
    Is there a vampire in the Canyon?  If you were hiking through the Santa Monica Mountains this month, you would most certainly run across patches of strange-looking, yellowish vine-like plants. What is this plant that is laid out across the chaparral bushes as if it were strangling them? Is it really hurting the bushes on […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Duckweed For Wildlife September 3, 2014
    Duckweed is the smallest flowering plant in the US If you have a wildlife pond, I’m sure you’re familiar with Duckweed (Lemna minor) as it can quickly cover the surface of your pond. Duckweed is commonly found in ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow moving streams. In streams where the water moves more quickly, the Duckweed is […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown

#GardenChat

Planting Raspberries & Blackberries

Yesterday hubby and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. (My how the time flies!) To celebrate we planted raspberries and thornless blackberries. Truthfully we weren’t “celebrating” by planting berry canes but we had several to plant and Mid-March is the ideal time for planting them. Our gain is your gain, if you haven’t planted raspberries or blackberries before the following may help!

Raspberry: They’re separated into two categories, “ever-bearing” which continuously bear fruit throughout spring, summer and fall and “seasonal” berries which bear all at once either in early, mid or late summer. There are three colors: red, black and purple. When growing different colored varieties they must be kept separate. We planted “Killarney” a red mid-summer bearer that’s very cold hardy and “Heritage” a red ever-bearing variety with origins in our home state of New York. A list of raspberry varieties and their hardiness zones can be found here.

Blackberry: Planted the same way as raspberries, but separated into categories of trailing, semi-trailing and erect. There are also thorny and thornless varieties. They require trellising or support of some kind. Varieties are listed here. We planted the thornless variety “Chester” (a trailing, late season berry) along the picket fence.

To Plant:

Select a sunny location. Raspberries and blackberries can stand a bit of shade but will produce better in sun. Berries prefer sandy, well drained soil, however they’ll grow in most average garden soils. (See note at bottom.) Prepare the soil by digging in 2″ of compost and preparing a hole ( for 4 or fewer plants) or a trench (for 5 or more plants) that is 4″ deep and 14″ wide. Space holes 3′ apart.

Next, unwrap the bundled roots and trim any long, straggly root growth with hand pruners.

Set the plants 3′ apart in the trench (or 1 per hole) and gently spread the roots along the row in one direction.

Carefully return only enough soil to the hole/trench to just cover the roots. The point where the cane meets the rootstock should be at soil level. Hold the cane at the top while back-filling with soil and press down gently with your hands to eliminate air pockets.

Mulch around the plants with 4″-6″ of shredded leaves, grass clippings etc. Mulching will prevent weeds. If you must cultivate do it gently and loosen only the top 3″ of soil to prevent damage to the tender roots. The roots will eventually grow to fill in the spaces between the plants and send up new brambles.

DO NOT add fertilizer at planting time. An organic fertilizer can be used 4-6 weeks later when the plants are actively growing. One application per season is adequate as more fertilizer will encourage leaves instead of berries. Once established, pruning once a season is all that’s required to maintain the plants.

NOTE: Our nursery noted it’s important to avoid planting berry canes in soil that has grown peppers, tomatoes or eggplant within the last three years. Verticillium wilt is a shared fungus among these crops and can easily be spread throughout the garden. As always, maintain healthy soil by following best garden practices of crop rotation, proper clean up and prevention.

11 comments to Planting Raspberries & Blackberries

  • I am so glad I visited your blog. I want to get some berry bushes and you gave such great info. thanks

  • Happy anniversary and good luck with those berries! A great way to celebrate!

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Thank you for reading! We’ve grown raspberries and blackberries for years, I think you’ll find them easy to grow and impossible to stop eating. :-)

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Thank you so much! I agree, planting in the garden with hubby is always a great celebration! :-)

  • I really want to plant berries this year, but first I have to get underground cables marked before I dig, then remove grass, so I’m not confident I’ll get it all done on time.

    Have you found a difference between raspberries and blackberries in terms of their resilience when it comes to avoiding diseases? I don’t like spraying and, with the humidity here in Eastern Kansas, some things are just too much trouble to grow because of endemic fungal diseases.

    Grapes for instance I’m just about to give up on, and I’ve heard there’s no such thing as a Kansas organic apple. I haven’t even bothered to try apples because there are cedar trees here, which carry cedar-apple rust.

    Anyway, I’d appreciate any insight on the raspberry/blackberry debate. I’m thinking that blackberries may be more robust. Am I right?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Hi Alison! I have found the blackberries to be more resilient in the garden, and if you have ample moisture that’s a plus. Pruning the canes after fruiting will aid in keeping fungal diseases to a minimum. Choose an earlier bearing variety such as Arapaho or Natchez so the fruit can be harvested and the canes cut back before the heat and humidity are at their highest in mid to late summer. Remember, blackberries will need a support (trellis, poles, fence etc.) Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions. :-)

  • Thanks Lisa. I have plenty of fence to plant against. I’m off to check my local community garden site to see if I’m too late to order through them – I noticed last week that they were supplying fruit bushes.

  • I will probably have a bunch of questions for you in a few weeks when I am planting my raspberry canes. I am so glad we can share information with others that have already done something.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Isn’t it amazing that we can grow our gardens across the states? I love it! :-)

  • Woody Coey

    Can blackberries and rasberries be planted next to each other in same row ?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Yes, they can. Raspberries and blackberries won’t cross-pollinate.

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