Raspberries: ever bearing vs. summer bearing for biggest crop

fabaceae_nativeNovember 6, 2013

Ever-bearing raspberries seem to be the most popular these days, with their easy pruning (for a single fall crop) and long fruiting season. However, I have not been impressed with their productivity so far, and most of the crop gets frozen out in October anyway because they take so long to really get going for me.

I seem to remember folks on this forum saying that all commercial raspberry production is from summer bearing varieties.

Anyone know if this is really true? Are summer bearers the way to go for heaviest crops (I don't really care if they all ripen together)? Also, and very importantly, do summer bearing varieties ever suffer from late spring frosts?

I so badly want a nice productive raspberry patch, and really appreciate any input...

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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

If you only utilize one third of the plant, of course your yields will be low. Here is photo of Fall Gold during 2nd summer crop. It produced about 300 berries off of 3 canes for the summer. To the left are 3 of 6 primocanes it produced this year. Primocanes just stopped yielding recently. I will trim them for a nice summer crop!
As you can see, berries are right to the ground, amazing!
I have 6 primocanes. 3 will be trimmed for a summer crop. 3 have been cut to the ground as I'm moving them to a new location.
Primocanes started producing about a month after florocanes finished.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:27PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The first picture was taken on 2013 07 08. This photo was taken 2013 07 16. Hard to see, but primocanes are already developing berries.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Wed, Nov 6, 13 at 16:39

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 4:37PM
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Drew, so you're saying that managing ever-bearing varieties for both primocane and floricane crops is the most productive way to go? But what if the primocane crop in most years is limited because of early cold, would that then tip the scale over to the side of a summer-bearing variety?

Thanks a lot for your advice

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 11:01PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Yeah, it would. As you only can harvest 2/3 of the plant. You can plant early, mid and late summer bearing. Some good ones are Encore (late), Prelude (early), and Taylor. I have these and also Cascade Gold. I have yet to evaluate the latter, but the others produce well, and have good tasting berries. Prelude though acts like an everbearing, so not sure why it is considered Summer? It produced a fall crop. Great tasting berries on this one. I really like them. I had a number of fall bearing that also produced late, but I believe it is because they are new. Fall Gold did the same thing for a couple years, but now the fall crop was the first finished of all cultivars. It needed time to adapt I guess?
I like both types btw. And yeah you do need a lot of plants to get a decent harvest. But they propagate easily, room is my problem. I'm maxed out, but for a good 7 weeks I was getting about 30 berries a day, this was decent, and expect even more next year. Some fall and almost all the summer bearing didn't produce the first year. Rosanna, Double Gold, and Honey Queen fall bearers bloomed too late. I will keep canes for a summer crop. Himbo Top, Caroline, Polka, Fall Gold, Kiwi Gold, Crimson Night, and Prelude did produce. So next year I should get around 50 berries a day probably for over 9 weeks.
Here's a recent photo of part of my full sun patch. The back bed is raspberries. The front beds are blueberries, and strawberries.
I also have 2 black raspberries, and 8 blackberry or blackberry-raspberry hybrids. Next year I'm going to be drowning in berries!
This year between the 4x4 beds I added 1x4 beds to add beneficial flowers to attract bees and predator insects.
I did a little research and have already purchased annual and perennial flower seeds that have those features.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flowers for Beneficial Insects

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:32AM
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How do you keep the raspberries from overtaking the blueberries and strawberries?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:20AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

They are in different beds, there is a 2 inch thick, 12 inch high board between them. The raspberries can't enter the other bed, the roots would need to go 12 inches deep, to go under the board. I suppose it could happen, but has not so far. Here is one 4x4 bed. On each side are the new 1x4 beds, the back board is a 12 foot long board, it is behind the 4x4 bed, although you can't see it in this photo. So the raspberries are confined to the 2x24 12 inch high bed.
Now keeping the strawberries away from the blueberries is a problem. Eventually the strawberries will be removed, and the whole bed will be for the blueberry only. This is a young plant. It will grow to 6 feet high. A Chandler Northern high bush. Some strawberry runners have entered the raspberry bed. I pull them out when i see them.
The strawberries are crazy, I removed 20 plants from this bed, and they just filled right back up! I remove any that are near the blueberry. The runners are all over!
These are pineberries btw, a white strawberry, fantastic taste!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:48AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Here is a photo from early summer on 2013 06 24 and you can see the structure better as the plants have yet to grow jungle like! Mulch around the blueberries is pine bark, the rest is mulched with pine straw, looks nice and neat here! Ha, what a difference a year makes! Well not even a year, one growing season! The plants filled every inch of those beds no problem! The farthest bed is 12x8 and I grew corn there this year. I got 65 ears! It is now filled with strawberry runners from the three 4x4 beds. I left a 2 foot center to be able to walk and harvest. I should have made 2 beds each 12x4. Beds should never be wider than 4 feet. A rookie mistake!

This post was edited by Drew51 on Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 2:03

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 1:51AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Raspberres are trellised. This is the lower wire. An upper wirer is there too (not pictured). Also on both sides. Those are excellent wire tighteners btw. The wires are hard to see in the other photos.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 2:15AM
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I too more often than not loose the fall crop on my primocane varieties. What seems to work for me is to plan primocane varieties which bear more in the spring. That way I get a spring crop of decent size, and if the fall crop can mature too, it's an added bonus. Prelude variety has worked well here.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 11:12AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Prelude works well here too, it is one of my favorites. Taylor summer bearing is an old cultivar that is still touted as the best tasting. It is used in a lot of crosses.
I wanted to state more clear that if your plants are less than 2 years old, they may still be adjusting. And you may get a fall crop the 3rd year. Honey Queen is a Canadian cultivar and didn't even flower for the first fall season. Obviously that is far off the norm. It must flower earlier, Konrad of the north grows them! So I assume it is in an adjustment peroid.
Cascade Gold is the only yellow that is summer bearing that is available, So you can even have different colors with summers :) The yellows are worth growing, they are excellent berries. Somehow in the stores that taste bad, I even threw out a quart I bought they were so bad! But every cultivar I have tastes great! You just cannot buy raspberries that taste like home grown.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:33PM
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