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Fall raspberry care

The raspberry crop needs maintenance as it winds down for the year

Raspberry crops need some attention now to ensure growth in the spring. Leah Riesselman is a horticulture graduate research assistant at Iowa State University. She says how you care for the raspberry canes at the end of the growing season depends on the type of plant. A floricane variety sets fruit on one-year-old canes.

"When you grow those you actually have to prune back your second-year-old shoots, keep your one-year-old shoots, and then those will be your flowering canes for your following year,: says Riesselman. "Your primocane varieties actually fruit on those one-year-old canes that are brand new. You can prune them off in the fall, just mow them over on the ground, and they will produce all new shoots with the flowering laterals on them."

Raspberries require soil with a lot of organic matter. Do a soil test to see if any nutrients are lacking, and apply them. Control fruit rot on fall-bearing raspberries by harvesting frequently, and applying recommended fungicides.

Riesselman also recommends getting rid of any diseased leaves or canes, and completely removing them from the area.

"You never want to leave that diseased leaf tissue or canes in the same area because it can spread from that location," says Riesselman. "The spores will overwinter in the soil and spread throughout your planting, so sanitation is really important. Some of your pests can overwinter in the soil as well, but we don't have a lot of pests with the raspberries." 

Many raspberry varieties are winter-hardy. But you can add extra freeze protection by taking canes down from the trellis, and covering them with mulch.

The Garden Helper: More techniques for growing raspberries

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