Growing raspberries in Oklahoma

countrysmiths(7)April 25, 2007

My daughter and son-in-law gave me 5 raspberry plants for my birthday! From a little research on the web it does not look like that they especially like it here in Oklahoma. Has anyone been successful here in Oklahoma with raspberries? What advice do you all have about where and how to plant them. They gave me 3 lantham reds and 2 heritage plants, they came from Lowes.



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If you don't mind, I'll be camped out here waiting for a response because I want to plant a blackberry bush before too long.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 4:35PM
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Hello it's me again,
I bet all of you will be glad when my back is well so I can get back into the yard and off of here so much. I will too!
I don't know about growing raspberries in our climate. I know they are sold locally. I just don't of anyone who grows them so someone else will have to respond to that question.
But...blackberries surely will do fine since they are one of the wild native berries around here. My sister's entire back fence at the back of her acreage is covered with them. And they grow in the countrysides around here pretty prolifically. They must like the heat.
I have always thought both raspberries and blueberries grew in cooler locations but I really don't know much on that subject at all.
I am sure Dawn will know.
Hey Dawn! Someone else needs your expertise!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 5:22PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I hope your birthday was a happy one, Mark!

It can be challenging to successfully grow raspberries in Oklahoma, but it is not impossible. Well, is is not completely impossible. The raspberries that have the best chance of success are the black raspberries which, by the way, are related to blackberries but are not blackberries.

You grow raspberries the same way that you would grow trellised blackberries, except they need to be in shade for 50% of the day. If possible, morning sun is preferred so they are shaded during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, raspberries are a full-sun plant and are more likely to get diseases when grown in shade, so you can't win for losing.

First of all, raspberries just aren't heat tolerant. It can be very hard to baby them along and keep them alive during our hottest months. The heat stresses them and that stress makes them more susceptible to pests and diseases.

Secondly, they need a nice, cold winter WITHOUT the occasional warm to hot days we often see here in winter. As soon as a few 'hot' winter days occur in January or February, the buds will break and then will subsequently refreeze when the winter weather returns to its usual cold. Once that freeze damage occurs you will lose those buds and there goes the crop for that year.

However, with proper soil preparation and plant maintenance, you could conceivably manage to get a crop from them once every few years. You should know, though, that raspberries raised in our heat will never be of the best quality. Both yield and flavor will suffer in comparison to what you would have if you were growing them in a climate for which they are better suited.

Latham is very disease and virus resistant. It bears small, medium and big, firm, red berries. It was developed in Michigan, which should tell you something about the kind of weather it prefers.

Heritage has been around for decades and many people consider it the best fall-bearing raspberry, although technically it is an ever-bearing raspberry. It produces 2 crops--one in mid-summer and one in the late summer (here) or fall (up north). The fall crop is usually larger and tastier. The berries are very large and are a very bright red. It was developed in New York.

Raspberries MUST HAVE deep, well-drained, loamy soil. They will not survive on slow-draining heavy soils. They can be grown in very fast draining sand, but only with constant irrigation. They need good air circulation which is one reason you trellis them. They also MUST HAVE soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. A pH that is higher or lower is going to be a problem. They are fairly shallow rooted. Roughly 85% to 90% of their roots will be in the top 20" of soil.

Rather than writing a short book here describing how to prepare soil, plant, trellis, etc., I'm going to link the OSU fact sheet for blackberries and raspberries.

I have grown blackberries (Arapaho, Choctaw and Navaho) and they are a piece of cake compared to trying to raise raspberries.

Hope this info helps, Mark. I know they thought they were giving you a lovely gift, but I sure wish they had chosen blackberries. And, Jeff, everything you need to know about blackberries is in the fact sheet. One bit of advice....they love, love, love compost and manure.


Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Blackberry and Raspberry Fact Sheet

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 7:51PM
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Well, I'm no expert, but I grew red raspberries successfully in Bartlesville, OK for several years. I didn't know they were not supposed to grow well in OK. I planted them along the concrete-block foundation, on the east side of my house. Of course they were all brambley and I didn't have but 8 or 10 plants to start with. I'd go out every day in the early summer and get maybe a handful, sometimes would pop them in my mouth, other times bring them in and drop them in a freezer container. I'd just add to the container and keep it in the freezer till it was full. When I had collected two quarts, I made some jam. Yum!

As I look at the list of what they need, I can see I accidently bumbled into a good spot. The cool concrete block wall kept them sheltered from the hot afternoon sun and from some of winter's effects as well, I suppose. I don't remember what kind I had, but the fruit grew on one-year-old canes.

My husband is partial to blackberries, it's "soul food" for him and his siblings. There were 11 kids in his family and his dad was an Oklahoma sharecropper. Times were really hard for them and they lived off the land most of the time. They remember going out with their buckets to pick wild blackberries, eating as many as they could hold while still managing to bring home enough to Mom so she could make her famous blackberry cobbler. He's 65 now, his mother's been deceased for quite awhile. But when she was alive, every family get-together they had, she had to bring a blackberry cobbler. Too many seeds for my taste, though.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 7:33PM
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Hello fellow Okie gardeners,
I'm a newbie to the forum and happened to notice the postings on growing raspberries, one of the most sublime berries God blessed us with.
I lost a good raspberry planting last year to the extreme heat and drought, and also probably due to the fact that they were getting too much sun.
I recall a few years ago, I had planted some raspberries under the shade of a huge pecan tree, and they bore summer and fall, and spread like crazy, with little direct sunlight. So they did seem to defy the adage that they are a full sun plant.
One might try growing a few plants under similar conditions to see if they will adapt and do well. Worth a shot.
We gardeners are an adventurous lot, always willing to dare to try new ideas, and see what happens, (within reason), lol!
Bono fortuna with your raspberries. They are indeed so delicious.

PS: My thornless Navaho blackberries survived the drought and are doing well this year. I'm looking forward to Blackberry pies and jam. Yum!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 7:45PM
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Hi everyone! I wanted to grow raspberries too but this thread discouraged me...until Shekanahh!! I have a perfect spot on the east side near my house and darn it, I am going to give it a try!! Thanks Shekanahh! Umm...I might not be thanking you later if they fail but for now, I am up for an adventure. ;-)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 8:57PM
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Speaking of berries, I have a single strawberry growing on one of the transplants I planted about a month and a half ago. It was white, and then pink this afternoon. Maybe by tomorrow morning it will be red.

I hope the birds stay away, because this one has my name on it. I've done a lot for this garden, and it's time it started giving back! Heh...

Thanks for the advice on blackberries, Dawn. I've got just the spot picked out for a bush once I remove this stump that was there. And I'll use plenty of manure and compost.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 11:16PM
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I'm reading about raspberries and blackberries here... what is meant by a "sucker plant"? Is this like those little tentacle things that strawberry plants send out? Or do they go underground?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 11:23PM
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Thanks all for your imput. I am going to try growing them on the east side of the house that gets full sun up till around noon.

After reading about them, its not something that I would have bought myself, but since they were a gift I am going to give it a try. It is nice when family starts giving you plants for gifts instead of somnething like a "tie" So I don't want to discourage that.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 1:13PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I do hope that you have success with the raspberries.

I agree that it is great when family members give you the gift of much better than a "tie".

Maybe you'll be able to give them the right conditions--at least as much as it is possible to do so in Oklahoma--and they will produce a nice crop for you.

And, you know, there are always going to be some people who have success with some plants that "don't grow well here".
Maybe with these plants you will be that person who has success. I hope so.

Happy Growing!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 3:37PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


They are not like the runners that strawberries produce.

The berry suckers will come up out of the ground, fairly close to the plant's base. You can dig up suckers and transplant them in the fall to enlarge your berry plantings.

You can leave them where they come up, if you want to, up to a certain point. It is best to remove the suckers once the plant's base is 12" to 18" in diameter. If you leave them beyond that point you end up with an unruly mess, and the plants can begin to die out from the center.

Remember that you will need to keep some of the suckers for next year's berry production. I tend to leave the suckers alone for a couple of years, and only prune out the primo canes that already bore fruit. If you're wanting to enlarge
your planting fairly quickly though, transplanting suckers is the way to go.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2007 at 3:46PM
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That's great advice you gave Jeff. I appreciated your other posts too on the forum.

About suckers. I did dig a few of my blackberry suckers up and transplanted them in a couple of different places after the spring freeze this year, figuring they might like one place better than another. Sometimes plants are like people that way. They took off like a shot and are doing well, and I can hardly wait to start harvesting from my established Navajos. Love those thornless stalks!

Two years ago, I went wild blackberry picking here in Oklahoma, and of course everyone knows they crowd every fence row and area where people will leave them alone to reproduce. I made Blackberry cordial, wine and lots of pies and cobblers. The pie is a favorite in our house, and there is no way you can go out and buy such delicacies. With the right crust, you have made a pie fit for a King.

So, Okie's and blackberries go hand in hand. That post by Ilene was pure nostalgia. What a sweet story.

And julie, I think your raspberries will do just fine. Most plants will do their own thing if we plant them in the right place and don't fuss over them too much. Just wait and see.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   April 28, 2007 at 10:44PM
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Try Heritage. It is a red that really takes the heat here, and also cold. I have grown it in heavy clays, loamy soils, and nearly all sand. I grew them in Dallas TX, Chickasha OK, and Edin Prairie MN. They are fall bearing (to me that means everbearing). They set a crop in early summer, then start blooming again right after that and bloom and set fruit well into heavy freezes. I have often picked them after several frosts and then at the first hard freeze and put right in the freezer for pies.

The main thing is that they get plenty of air circulation, tons of sun, and drain good, otherwise they will get rot.

There are many different ways to grow them, I usually grow a few central canes and remove the old (last years) growth after they fruit the first of summer. New canes will grow and set fruit after that. I even leave some old canes if they are very healthy but trim them to about 3 ft high when removing others. Any I leave that are old get removed as soon as they quit bearing so the plant renews itself and stays strong. Good luck on them. Here is a link to a site that has some different types. I plan on getting from them this fall. Hopefully they are a good company:

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 4:31PM
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