Crumbly Berries: Information And Reasons For Raspberries Falling Apart

Red Raspberries
(Image credit: Vasyl Chybor)

If you find malformed berries on your canes that have only a couple of drupes and fall apart at a touch, you have crumbly berries. What is crumbly berry? We've all seen the fruits that failed to live up to their promised splendor. A fungal disease usually causes this. Crumbly raspberry fruit may also be the result of poor pollination, sneaky little mites, or even overeager hoeing and trimming. Find out reasons for berries falling apart and how to ensure gorgeous, full berries on your plants.

What is Crumbly Berry?

Raspberries are actually a fruit composed of numerous clustered smaller fruits called drupes and include blackberry plants as well. When your berry has only a portion of the usual number, it is misshapen and devoid of juice and flavor. This is usually because the plant has contracted tomato ring spot or raspberry bushy dwarf viruses. As soon as you try to pick the affected fruits, they break apart. The virus is wind borne and has numerous hosts. Signs of bramble problems may include yellow streaked and stunted older leaves. New leaves rarely show any signs of infection.

Other Reasons for Berries Falling Apart

Another simple cause for crumby berries is mechanical injury. Broken canes and damaged stems cannot feed the forming fruit adequately, resulting in diminished raspberries. Areas with extremes of wind, heat, and cold, or overuse of pesticides can limit the ability of bees and other pollinators to do their job. The flowers do not fully get pollinated and produce partial fruits. One of the hardest to identify causes of crumbly berries is the dry berry mite. Crumbly raspberry fruit is the result of this tiny insect's feeding. The sucking causes some parts of the forming berry to ripen early and become swollen in spots. The other areas fall inward and create a lumpy berry that is smaller than it would otherwise grow. Fruits affected by the mites are not as crumbly as those with the virus, but boast large seeds. Raspberry leaf curl virus is another raspberry problem caused by an insect. Raspberry aphids transmit the disease when they feed on the berries. The overall effect is stunted plants, poor winter hardiness, and small malformed berries.

Crumbly Raspberry Fruit Cures

The wind borne method of spread makes it difficult to prevent the viral spread. Remove excess vegetation from the raspberry bed and ensure that wild brambles are not located near your plants. You can also try moving newer plants to unaffected areas of the garden. This may limit the spread of the disease to the new plants. There are no recommended domestic sprays for control of these viral bramble problems. Your best bet is to choose plants that are virus free, such as Esta and Heritage. Combat aphids and mites with a horticultural soap and blasts of water to rinse off the pests. Provide superior care for healthy plants that are better able to withstand injury and recover from pest infections.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.