The Q&A Archives: Size of raspberries

Question: My raspberry patch has been well established for 15 years or so. The last 2 or 3 years the berries have been small. I have not changed my watering habits. What do you suggest I do to increase the size of my berries again?

Answer: Sounds like a cultural problem. Here are some basics to producing plump, tasty fruit: Raspberries grow best on deep, sandy-loam soils well supplied with organic matter. They may be grown in any good garden soil provided it is well drained to a depth 3 ft and has high moisture holding capacity. Although the pH of the soil is not that critical, a range of 5.8 to 6.5 is considered optimum. Select a site where tomatoes, potatoes or eggplants have not been grown. If the soil lacks organic matter work 1 inch or more of organic residues such as lawn clippings, rotten leaves, or well rotted manure into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Before planting mix about 3 pounds of 10-10-10 or equivalent fertilizer per 100 square feet of soil.

Fruiting canes and new shoots occur together in the row from spring to the end of harvest. They compete for light, water, and nutrients. Usually, more canes and shoots occur than are wanted. They must be thinned or the new shoots will be weak, berry size will be poor, harvest will be difficult, and diseases will be more serious.

Thin fruiting canes in late winter or early spring before they start to grow. Remove all weak canes and thin the strong canes so they are 4-6 inches apart over the width of the row; narrow rows if necessary to 15-18 inches wide.

Hope following the above guidelines will result in the production of better raspberries!

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