How to get bigger raspberries

vickima(z5 MA)July 8, 2010

This year my Taylor raspberries are smaller than usual. I planted them 4 years ago from bare root canes. I actually fertilized them a little in early spring with a balanced organic fertilizer - first time I've done that.

I did prune them in early spring, but perhaps I left too many canes? Does water stress affect berry size? at what point? I think they've been well watered this year but just wanted to see what other variables I might check. Can it be a soil problem / mineral deficiency?

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Um, in my totally uninformed and unscientific opinion based on years of personal experience, you should probably have 1 cane per square foot of bed space for the bes size. But, they generally do a pretty good job of self-regulating their thickness, IMO.

Water stress and heat -- you betcha. Isn't it really dry in New England this spring/summer? The berries will get smaller long before the plants show any other symptoms of water stress.

I also think you should fertilize them every year. It can be organic (chicken poo would be fabulous, for example), but you should do it.

Finally, a patch can sort of peter out after a while in the same ground if not properly tended, but you can augment with a lot of compost and fertilizer and keep them going for many years with the right treatment.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 1:49PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Water... One thing i've learned is that they like plenty of water, same with the other berries. I've had some very nice sized Caroline rasberries:

I'd fertilize late fall or early spring...

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:43PM
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vickima(z5 MA)

Wow, those are gorgeous!! It definitely sounds like water has been the problem. It has been very hot and dry in New England, and while I've been watering regularly, it may not have been enough.

Can you water raspberries too much? You know they say if you water tomatoes heavily as they are fruiting you wash the flavor right out. Does that happen with raspberries?

I will fertilize this fall or next spring. I planted them too close to my vegie garden so I was afraid they'd sucker too heavily if I fertilized. I guess I'd rather just make sure I have healthy plants.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:54PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

We've had over 10 inches of rain since June 1... i've found a few berries with some mold, but very mine are west facing and get shade until 11am...flavor is great... Caroline is a very good tasting raspberry.

I don't think u can over water these things if you have free draining soil. I live right by the river, and if i dig down 3 ft or so, its basically beach sand.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:10PM
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vickima(z5 MA)

Good to know. I'll pump up the water, but I imagine it's too late for this year's crop.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 6:09PM
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Irregular watering can cause some fruits to split and rot, including tomato plants. Lack of water will cause fruit to be underdeveloped. A hint, most fruit is made up of mostly water.

For watering your berries, brambles need about 5 gallons per week per square foot of plants, or 2 gallons per week per square foot of root area.

You can't wash the flavor out of a tomato by watering the plant. To get rid of the flavor in a tomato, you do what the growers of the ones at the grocery store have done. You can pick them green, refrigerate them, ship then halfway round the world, and then force ripen them with ethylene gas. This is a failsafe method to insure flavorless tomatoes.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 10:31PM
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