Baba raspberry help

gardenspotsMay 7, 2010

I just put in a couple of Baba raspberry plants (in January). They are fruiting now and they have quite a few berries considering they are only a foot to a foot and a half tall. They are producing new canes also. My question is how to prune them?

I know there are one or two "fruit guru's" on here that grow them. There's not much help out there on the internet as they are not real common. I am thinking they are supposed to fruit in both fall and spring (one large fruit set and a smaller fruit set at the other time), but I can't remember which is when. Should I be cutting down these canes that are fruiting now when they are done fruiting or will these fruit again in fall? I am thinking I should cut them down after they are finished fruiting since they are setting fruit on the bottoms of the canes (all of the plant as it was shipped to me), but I don't want to screw it up.

Raspberries don't do well in my part of the country, but since I have tasted them now I am really hoping they make it once the heat sets in full force. They are in the ground with shade during the worst of the heat and lots of mulch to try and keep them cool. I can't wait for the blackberries to ripen!

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jellyman(6/7VA)

Gardenspots:

I have been growing Baba in Northern Virginia for pretty close to 15 years. I don't know about the guru part though.

Baba behaves exactly the same way as any other "everbearing" red raspberry. New canes grow up in spring (primocanes), and by late summer and into fall produce their major crop. If, at the end of the season, you choose not to cut the canes down to the ground and allow them to over-winter, they become "floricanes" the next season, and will set a small, earlier-season crop.

The canes that are bearing a small crop for you now -- the ones that you planted -- are floricanes that grew up last season. Once they have fruited, their cycle is complete, and they should be cut down right to the ground. The future of your berries lies in the new primocanes that are growing up and that will bear later in the season with a much heavier crop. Many people (myself included), choose to skip the early crop entirely since the crop is so small and the old canes tend to get in the way. So I cut all of the canes down to the ground over the winter and begin afresh every season. Whether you try to get an additional early crop from the floricanes is your option.

But do not prune the new canes that are growing up, since they bear most heavily on the ends, and they normally do not need it. If they become heavily laden with berries they may tend to fall over when 4-feet tall or so, but you can simply string a wire down the center of the patch and provide them with some support. It may be worth your while to do this if your primocanes are very vigorous.

The principal advantage of Baba, and the basis for its original patent (now expired) is its resistance to heat. But it is also a productive berry of excellent quality. You mention that heat is a problem in your part of the country, but don't mention where that part is. I assume California. This berry was originally found as a chance seedling near Los Angeles, and is well adapted to that climate. But is also does well in mine, which is quite different.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:56AM
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girlbug2(z9/10, Sunset zone 24)

Thanks for the reply Don. That was helpful info for a raspberry newbie like myself. I think I will try Babas next year (too late to plant now I think) I am learning a great deal on this forum!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:04PM
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gardenspots

Thanks, Don. That's the info I needed. It sounds like I can prune them like I do my blackberries (cut down the old canes after fruiting in spring), then I won't get confused in the future, but I should get berries both spring and fall from the raspberries and only spring from the blackberries.

I am actually in central Texas, so very hot summers. They say Dorman Red is the only variety to even try around here as raspberries really don't like our climate, but I'd prefer an upright variety. My one Heritage plant I tried last year died. I read about Baba here and decided to give it a try before breaking down and getting the Dorman Red's. So far so good. The Heritage didn't even flower last spring, so I am hoping it's a good sign that the Baba flowered and set fruit. Only time will tell if they will make it. Last year at this time we were already approaching the 100 degree mark regularly. We had a much cooler winter and spring this year and temps are just inching into the 90s, so that helps too. It gives them a bit longer time to really get settled before the hot weather.

Blackberries, on the other hand love it around here and I am having good success with that plant I put in last year as well (I added a couple more this year). Lots of berries (still green though) and very strong, sturdy new canes growing.

Thanks a bunch for the info. I will keep it handy.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 12:28PM
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