The Q&A Archives: Berry plant fertilizer

Question: How do you fertilize raspberry, gooseberry, and currant plants?

I've heard that chemical fertilizers like Miracle Grow cause a depletion of worms in the soil.

And I've heard that mulching and composting can lead to cane borer pests.

Answer: While over-fertilization can make soil inhabitants leave, an annual application of a 10-10-10 fertilizer should not drive the earthworms away. Plant roots don't really care whether the fertilizer is processed or natural and the use of either should not encourage pests. Mulching is recommended, to maintain soil moisture content, suppress weeds and slow evaporation. If you're concerned about attracting pests and diseases, keep the mulch from contacting the stems of your plants. Cane borers are the larvae of a beetle and typically enter the canes near the growing tip, not near the base of the plant. Enjoy your edible garden!

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