Image by Seth Mazow
By Amy Grant
Raspberry plant propagation is gaining in popularity. After all, who doesn’t love the plump, juicy berry soon after strawberry harvest and just before blueberries are ripening? With a careful soil preparation and selection of virus free stock, propagating raspberries will keep you enjoying these edible brambles for years to come.
Raspberry Plant Propagation
Raspberries, whether red, yellow, purple or black, are susceptible to viruses. Resist the urge to propagate raspberries from an existing patch or your neighbor’s garden as these plants may be infected. It is always best to acquire stock from a reputable nursery. Raspberry propagations are available as transplants, suckers, tips, root cuttings, or tissue-cultured plants.
How to Propagate Raspberries
Raspberry propagations from nurseries arrive in culture vessels, in rooting cubes, or as year old dormant plants. The rooting cubes should be planted after danger of frost passes. They tend to be the most insect, fungus and nematode resistant raspberry propagators.
Year old dormant raspberry propagators reach maturity earlier and tolerate drier soil. This type of raspberry plant propagation should be planted within a few days of purchase or “heeled in” by placing a single layer of the plants along a sheltered trench dug in well drained soil. Cover the roots of the raspberry propagation and tamp down. Let the raspberry plant acclimate for 2-3 days and then move into full sun within a 5-7 day time frame.
Can You Grow a Raspberry Plant from Cuttings?
Yes, raspberry plants can be grown from cuttings. However, as mentioned above, it is preferable to purchase raspberry starts from a reputable nursery to avoid any contamination.
Red raspberry plant propagation comes from primocanes, or raspberry suckers, and may be transplanted in the spring when they are 5-8 inches tall. The suckers come up from the roots and these root divisions can be cut through with a sharp spade and separated. The red raspberry sucker should have some of the parent plant’s roots to foster the most vigorous raspberry propagations. Keep the new raspberry propagation moist.
Black or purple raspberries and some blackberry varieties are propagated by “tip layering” wherein the tip of the cane is buried in 2-4 inches of soil. The tip then forms its own root system. The following spring, the new raspberry propagation is then separated from the parent, leaving 6 inches of the old cane attached. This portion is referred to as “the handle” and should be snipped off at soil level to reduce any potential disease from carrying over.
Final Note on Propagating Raspberries
When transplanting any of the above methods of raspberry propagations, be sure to plant in well draining soil with good air circulation and adequate moisture. Do not start your berry patch in a previously Verticillium wilt prone garden area such as where tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant or peppers have been grown.
This fungus stays in the soil for several years and can be devastating to your raspberry propagations. Keep black or purple raspberry propagations 300 feet from their red counterparts to reduce the risk of virus cross over. Follow these tips and you should be making raspberry jam for the next 5-8 years.