Wild Black Raspberry Dilemma

jtburtonMarch 12, 2013

While doing some further cleanup in the vicinity of my berry patch I noticed what I believe to be a wild black raspberry plant. It has the purple arching canes although it is almost thorn-less. Growing up locally in Northern KY, I don't think I have ever come across a wild raspberry plant before. Wild blackberries are prevalent, almost invasive, but never a wild black raspberry. I hate to eradicate it like I did with the wild blackberries but I also don't want to infect my berry patch with viruses and other berry maladies. Is there some way that I can treat the wild black raspberry with preventive measures to reduce or eliminate the risk of infection to other nearby domestic plants?

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Raw_Nature(5 OH)


I appreciate your concern for eradicating wild plants... Why don't you just move it elsewhere?


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 12:02PM
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How "far away" does it have to be to not be a risk?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 1:45PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Who the hell really knows... Nature works in ways man can't comprehend... Just use your intuition... My thought is if it is truly wild then it must have strong disease resistance to begin with... Does it look sickly? If not, I wouldn't be concerned... What I'm thinking is when you bought your raspberries, they accdently slipped in a black one? If you want to be extra cautious, take it out by the roots and plant it far away. Man trys to understand nature to a science, when in reality he will never come close... Always use your intuition... Hope this helps


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:04PM
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I am guessing what you have is actually a dewberry, not a black raspberry. They are quite common and have a mild, delicious berry. However, they're not overly productive and have probably been spread by birds and animals. I wouldn't worry about disease and would just leave them alone unless they're really in the way--in which case I'd have no problem destroying them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It sounds like a black raspberry to me. They are not uncommon around here.

The two reasons why I have heard you should not plant wild berries is if you transplant them from the wild they will bring wild viruses in. The other reason is they are more susceptible to viruses but are latent in them, meaning they are carriers so they have no symptoms but will infect your berries. I don't know if the latter thing is only for ones moved from the wild or not. Since your berries were from seed they won't have the wild viruses, but they could still be more susceptible. To be safe I would put it as far from your other berries as you can.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:52PM
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chervil2(z5 MA)

Wild black raspberries are common in my area. My impression is that these plants are usually healthy and productive. I would encourage growth of this plant isolated from your cultivated varieties by a distance of at least 100 feet. Keep in mind that you could be the vector of disease transmission by handling the wild and cultivated varieties with common tools and your hands.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:14AM
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Other than physically touching the plant myself, I would imagine that the next most likely vector of viruses would be the pollinator (e.g. bees). From the limited amount I have read, aphids appear to transmit the viruses to the black raspberry plant and then the pollinating bee would then be the vector for transmitting the virus to the domestic brambles. Assuming this logic, if I were to use insecticide on the wild raspberries to kill off the aphids, I wonder if that would protect my other plants? I guess that only works if the plant isn't already infected.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:25AM
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I don't think the seed carries virus. If it grew from seed (there aren't others nearby) I wouldn't worry much about it.

I think the only concern would be that it could be more susceptible to and/or tolerant of disease and serve as a reservoir.

But if it gets exposed to disease in its current location, your other brambles will probably also be exposed anyway.

The safe planting distances are very large relative to the planting space available to most urban/suburban gardeners.

I probably wouldn't worry about it.

That said, at my place the wild black raspberries are soft and insipid. I don't even bother to pick them and put them into my mouth when I am out foraging.

But Iike my cultivated black raspberries quite a bit for fresh eating.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 1:37AM
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I think I'm going to leave it this year and see how it grows. From doing a little more reading, the viruses that are resident to wild black raspberries do not appear to be a threat to blackberries and a limited threat to raspberries, primarily black raspberries. Since my black raspberries are new this year and won't be blooming until 2014, I think the risk is probably small (no pollen transfers). I'm going to clean up the wild black raspberry plant and give it a good spray routine to kill any fungus or insects that could be present.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 10:33AM
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