The basics to understand and grow RASPBERRY

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If you like raspberries, you should know the BA-BA on raspberries! It’s like that, it’s vital. Already to sleep less stupid, but also not stupidly consume something without knowing how it grows. So we offer you this article to tell you where raspberries come from, what they like, what they do not like, and their physiological peculiarities.

Where do raspberries come from?

After apple trees from China, American strawberries, Middle Eastern peaches, we could begin to think that there are no native food plants in Europe. Well raspberry is a plant of our home! Finally … almost 😉 He comes from a vast area that goes from Turkey to Japan .

In fact we do not care a bit that a plant is native or not, in absolute terms, but they are generally much more adapted to the culture in their original climate. This is the good side. The bad side is obviously the presence of parasites well adapted too, which do not cause fatal damage, but cause every year a loss of productivity.

What is a raspberry tree?

Raspberry is a woody perennial of the family Rosaceae . It is a very large family – present on all continents – that shares physiological characters, but also some diseases and parasites. 
It is especially close to the bramble and mulberry-bramble , which are part of the same genus, Rubus . The raspberry is Rubus idaeus, while the brambles are Rubus fruticosus. 
These species share an ability to suck easily, to sting the gleaner interested in its fruits, and to remake new stems from the roots. In a word, they are invasive and do not let the pricks go! 😉

Particularities of raspberries

The most remarkable thing about raspberries is that the plant is perennial, but its lignified stems are biannual. In other words, after two years the stalk dies. 
The complete cycle of the stem is:

    • the first year it grows very quickly, without branching, and fruited a first time in “terminal cluster” at the top of the stem.
  • In the second year, the stem produces lateral branches which bear fruit and then dry completely.

Another interesting feature is that raspberry belongs to a kind of “plant cohort” made up of beech, elderberry and mountain ash, which share certain mycorrhizae , some auxiliaries and some parasites. The advantage is that these exchanges improve the disease resistance of all the species that make up this cohort when they are planted together .

Why do you have to plant raspberries in autumn rather than spring?

To grow properly, a plant must have well developed its root system . During an early fall planting – September or October – even if it is invisible on the surface because the twigs seem to be at rest, the raspberry begins to spread rooting before winter. So when spring comes out of dormancy it is rooted enough to produce fruit in the first summer. If it is planted in the spring, it does not have time to develop enough, and there is a good chance that it will not have any fruit in the first year . Here. Apart from this, during a planting, it is often advised to water the first weeks: planting it in October avoids watering it for a long time!

Reassembling, non-rising or continuous?

Like roses, raspberries can:

  • flower only once in late spring and fruit in June-July – they are “non-remontants”.
  • bloom once in late spring , and once in the fall to bear fruit twice – they are “goats”.
  • flower and fruit continuously from June to September, they are “continuous”.

In the garden, we prefer the ascending varieties that grow longer, which lengthens the harvest, while professionals prefer harvesting over a short period of time and therefore prefer raspberries non-remontantes. 
Note: this cycle of flowering which varies according to the variety is not exclusive to raspberry, it is found in other Rosaceae such as roses or strawberries.

Key points to get raspberries each year.

  • Raspberries are not too greedy, so to keep a year-to-year production of fertilizer is not necessary, adding compost or brown gold on the surface is enough.
  • On the other hand it often happens that during the flowering and the fructification in June-July it is very dry, it is necessary – in the absence of rain – to water the raspberries at this period in order to obtain well developed fruits. It must also be checked that there is still a significant layer of mulch on the feet.
  • Mulching with organic matter is essential to prevent outbreaks of parasitic fungi: a well-developed and diversified soil life regulates imbalances by itself .
  • Do not hesitate to “rip” raspberries, that is to say to provide them with support so that their flexible stems do not fall back.

Most common diseases.

Symptoms:

  • Byturus tomentosus , the raspberry worm eats buds and fruits, however a certain balance is established with raspberries. It does not cause too much damage, and it can be treated in biological control by preventive means. Pheromone traps cost the equivalent of several kilos of raspberries.
  • In humid periods, yellow-orange stains on the leaves: this is rust , which appreciates the periods during which the climate is humid.
  • Leaves deformed and covered with a white felting: it is the powdery mildew : it appreciates the periods when the humidity of the air is important, and the strong changes of temperature between the night and the day.
  • Peduncles of flowers or cut fruits, dry buds, flowers that do not develop: you are in the presence of larvae of the herb . They are larvae that feed on buds and flowers. They are mostly common in mountainous and cold regions like Switzerland or Norway.
  • Peduncles of flowers or dried fruits: it is one of the signs of the presence of the raspberry worm .
  • Dry stems with black and dry fruits: it is a mushroom, Leptosphaeria coniothyrium which enters the plant by its wounds.
  • Stems, leaves, buds or flowers with purple and silver spots: this is a sign of anthracnose , a fungus that grows in a moist environment.
  • In very wet period, gray foliage on the leaves, flowers and buds. This is ”  gray rot “. The best remedy is to wait for the weather to improve 😉
  • Webs and spiders dry leaves: they are appointed mites Mites weavers , they like dry periods, and hate water on the leaves. This is also a good way to make them run away.

How to choose its variety?

As is often the case with fruit trees, the principle of varietal choice consists in: 
Having an early variety, and a remnant to spread the harvest period. 
Having several varieties slows epidemics since some varieties are more resistant than others. 
In theory, recent varieties are more adapted to current growing conditions. But beware, some varieties have been developed for industrial culture, which does not meet the needs of individuals. 
The varieties without thorns, it’s great, but the raspberry spines are anyway pretty thin 😉

A good way to get one is to find a neighbor in late August that will give you a few branches: the raspberry is cutting hyper-easily (see here if it seems complicated!), And in addition, you’ll have of varieties adapted to your climate ! There are also a lot of non-cataloged old varieties that you can grow!

Dr. Kimberly Seltzer

Postdoctoral Scholar, UC Berkeley Research Assistant, MIT

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