Home Grown

Tips and resources for farmers and gardeners

Taking Care of Raspberry Plants in Fall

Taking good care of raspberries in the fall is important for future productivity of the patch, according to University of Illinois Extension local foods/small farms educator Maurice Ogutu.

"Avoid overfertilizing and supplemental watering of summer-bearing red and black raspberries in the fall so that the canes can start hardening off. Fall-bearing raspberries can benefit from supplemental water in dry weather in order to maintain quality and size of the fruit.

"Do not prune any raspberry cane at this time unless it is seriously damaged or diseased."

You should only apply fertilizer and lime based on a soil test and plant tissue analysis. Some sulfur- and magnesium-containing fertilizers such as Sul-Po-Mag or Epsom salts can be applied at this time so they can be leached to the root zones of the plants.

"Survey the patch to check what types of weeds are present and decide on what type of herbicide to use. If biennial weeds are present in the patch, you can control them with herbicides at this time."

"Mole traps and baits must be placed in the active runs to be most effective. That makes good scouting essential," said Menjoulet.

To find active mole runs, Menjoulet recommends poking a hole through the top of the run. Mark the location with a flag a few inches to the side of the run or by using a landmark that is memorable.

In about 2 hours, check the run and if the hole is repaired or plugged back up, the run is active and will be a good location for baits and traps.

Control fruit rot in fall-bearing raspberries by applying recommended fungicides and harvesting frequently.

"Scout the patch for powdery mildew and apply recommended fungicides. If phytophthora root rot is identified in the patch, treat the affected areas by drenching the roots with recommended rates of Ridomil Gold or Alliete in September or early October. You can also use other fungicides recommended in your state."

Scout the plants for crown borers. The borer adult is a moth that looks like a yellowjacket.

"Check wilting canes to see if they are damaged by crown borer and determine if a crown borer larva is present in the crown. If so, remove the infected plants. If the roots of the wilted canes are dark red in color, they have been attacked by phytophthora crown rot.

"Rogue the infected canes and eliminate wild brambles growing near the patch."

Maurice Ogutu, 815-235-4125

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