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Raspberry growing

I have been growing summer fruiting raspberries for about 30 years on the north east coast of England. Every 10 years or so I replace them with new canes, but always in the same location. Up until last year I had no problems at all with yield, but for no apparent reason I had a complete crop failure - with the exception of one solitary cane which this year is about 6 feet tall and looking very healthy indeed. Can you cast any light on this please, and perhaps offer some advice as to why the crop has failed so drastically?

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  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,426
    The usual recommendation is not to put the new canes in the same spot as the old ones, to avoid a build-up of viruses etc.  It sounds as if something catastrophic has attacked your raspberries butI'm afraid I couldn't guess what it might be... did the canes have discoloured patches, or distorted leaves?
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,899
    Did an animal, like a vole, nip the stems over the winter?  Voles at the roots of my blackberries this past winter.  They look okay on the surface, but lift up out of the ground with a yank.  
    Utah, USA.
  • The canes didn't get as far as producing any leaves at all! The buds just stayed obstinately black.
    I haven't seen any animals in the area - perhaps a cat now and then.
    I think it may be a case of trying to grow them in the same place for years. Would it be an idea to remove the soil entirely, leave fallow for a year, and then replace it with new and enriched material?
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,899
    Any chance of making a bed in a different part of your garden?  It is most likely a fungus, or possibly a virus.  Remove all plant material and roots, and burn or put into the garbage.  If you can't make a new bed elsewhere, dig up and remove a foot or so of soil.  Spread it around elsewhere in your garden, as long as it's not near other cane fruit.  Then refill with quality compost.  Purchase certified virus free stock from a quality nursery.  
    Utah, USA.
  • Thanks for your information and advice. Do you think there is any mileage in treating the soil with Jeyes fluid, or would it be best just to ditch the old and replace with new? Unfortunately there is no possibility of planting the raspberries anywhere else in the garden - no more space available!!
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,426
    Jeyes fluid will kill all the good things in your soil as well as (or if you're unlucky, instead of) the baddies... I think you've no choice but to remove and replace, or grow your raspberries in a big pot.  (There are new varieties more suited to container growing...)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
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