The Care of Raspberries
Summer-fruiting raspberries bear their berries on new canes made the previous summer. On planting cut back the canes to a ft. and then in spring, when growth shows, cut back farther to a live bud about 10 in. above soil level. This means you will get no crop the first summer but give the plants a chance to develop a good root system. No pruning will be necessary in the autumn following planting and the canes produced during that summer will give you your first crop in the second summer after planting. Thereafter, prune as soon ag the crop has been picked, cutting all fruited canes to ground level, tying in up to six of the strongest new canes and removing any others. In February tip the canes, reducing them to about 4 ft. 6 in.
Autumn-fruiting varieties crop on the new canes which grew during the summer. Thus new plants cut down in April will try to fruit on the new canes the first year. This will put too much strain on the plants so be hardhearted and cut off all blossom the first year. Subsequently delay pruning until February and then cut all fruited canes to ground level (and in the first winter after planting that means cutting down the deblossomed canes).
The summer-fruiting varieties must be protected from birds and netting over the whole row is most satisfactory. By the autumn the birds have sometimes lost interest in this type of food and, in some areas at least, netting is unnecessary. Apart from this, and the time of pruning, summer and autumn raspberries need similar treatment. Methods of support were described earlier under Staking and Tying.
Raspberries need a steady supply of nitrogen and potash. In the first year a mulch of farmyard or stable manure (5 lb. Per sq. yd.) put down in April will be sufficient but in subsequent years also give a dressing of 1 oz. per sq. yd. Each of sulphate of ammonia and sulphate of potash in February. Every third year add 2 oz. per sq. yd. of superphosphate.
Plenty of moisture is essential throughout the growing period and the hose may well have to be used in June. Keep weeds down but try not to disturb the surface soil more than is essential because this damages surface roots, for which reason a paraquat/diquat weedkiller is excellent. Such a weedkiller may also be used to destroy unwanted suckers which spring up away from the row.
- Malling Promise (early). Very heavy cropper and very vigorous. Good flavour;
- Lloyd George (early). Best for flavour. Has long picking season. Not very very vigorous and may well be planted at half usual spacing. This variety tends to produce a small second crop in autumn and may be grown as an autumn variety by cutting down old canes in February;
- Malling Jewel (mid-season). Flowers late and often misses frost. Very popular in Scotland. Crops well but not very vigorous and this, too, may be planted at half usual spacing; Norfolk Giant (late). Somewhat acid but extends the season.
- September. Large berries, excellent flavour. More likely to ripen in October than September; Zeva. Possibly better flavour and larger berries than September.
Raspberries are self-fertile.