The Q&A Archives: Japanese Beetles in Raspberries

Question: This is my second try, my first try or your reply must of got lost. You advised me some time ago to remove leaf mulch from the base of my raspberry patch in an effort to help rid habitat of the Japanese beetle larvae. You then advised putting down landscape fabric. Two questions, I won't be able to get the fabric real tight to the base of the existing canes. Is that a problem? If I put down large pine bark chips on top of the fabric, will that create a new home for the bugs, between the top of the fabric and the top of the layer of pine bark?

Answer: Sorry you didn't receive my earlier reply. Actually, Japanese beetles don't live in mulch. The grubs live in and usually feed upon grass roots in lawns and meadows, and other places that receive full sun. If you've verified that the grubs have attacked the roots of your raspberries, the landscape fabric should prevent them from reaching the roots. Do the best you can to cover the area, but be careful with mulch. Too much moisture right on top of the raspberry crowns can invite disease.

You can try and prevent beetle damage by covering your canes with fabric row covers before the beetles start to emerge in your area. Your agricultural extension service (ph# 616/336-3265) can tell you when to expect their presence. Best of luck!

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