A year ago last spring I planted four raspberry plants in a desolate corner of the yard. I amended the poor soil with lots of peat, compost and fertilizer, worked it up really well, planted the starts two feet apart and planted them deep. I must have done everything right because now they are going wild! Just one growing season later, they have filled in all open space between plants, are cascading madly onto the lawn, and have started coming up in unexpected places (only suggestively) near the closest original plant. Unfortunately, they’ve even started encroaching on the closest blueberry bush, which was originally a good number of feet away!
So, what to do with the creeping creepers?
With any plant that has a tendency to spread, if you can’t plant in a container it’s going to be a constant battle to control the size of its territory. I will need to manage my raspberry planting yearly to keep it from becoming a tangled mess!
Control horizontal size.
The first thing on my list is to separate the clump that is encroaching on my blueberry bush. I will probably have to do this each spring or summer. No barrier in the ground is going to be deep enough to keep those raspberry roots at bay for long. Raspberries are so hardy that I should be able to just dig up the offending clump and move it to a new location.
Control vertical size.
I made a booboo last fall. When the raspberry leaves fell off, I did not prune back the old canes. This meant that this year’s new growth often grew from the old canes and it grew in a very haphazard way. This fall I will prune the old canes back to the ground in mid-late November, whether the leaves are all gone or not.
While the new canes tend to grow vertically up for four or five feet before the spring harvest, after that they tend to bow over from their own weight. There are so many canes and they are getting so tall that no twine tacked to the fence is going to suffice. I’m going to have to install three or four sturdy fence posts strung with several lengths of bean wire to give the plants something to lean on. (I remembered the fence-posts-and-bean-wire trick from my grandma’s garden when she grew raspberries and boysenberries—thanks Grandma!)
Wish me luck! Any recommendations for making raspberry control easier?