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Does anyone grow raspberries as bushes, not tied in cordons?

NollieNollie Posts: 7,061
OH’s mum used to and always had a fabulous crop, but the kids did get scratched to bits sent out to pick them! Reason I’m asking is I have inadvertently got three raspberry bushes, spur of the moment purchase as reduced end of season plants last year. I plonked them in, 45cm apart, didn’t think they would do anything in my growing conditions, but now I have rampant, untrained bushes that are taking over and I don’t know what to do with them.

Do I keep them bushy as they are and keep hoiking out the thuggish canes creeping out of the bottom of the raised bed? Is it too late to try and thin and train them into a neat row of canes? Which would give me the better crop? Not much off them so far - two summer fruiting and one autumn.
Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.


  • I've done almost exactly the same thing, planted three varieties against a wall last year planning to install a cordon system before the start of this year, haven't got round to it and now have 6ft tall, 4ft wide bushes with masses of raspberries and canes popping up around my blueberries and strawberries :)

    I'm just pulling up the problem canes as I see them, we'll pick off as much fruit as we can this year and then dig the whole thing out when fruiting is over.  I suspect you could thin them out but you might lose fruiting this year if they're disturbed too much, of course if that isn't a concern then you've nothing to lose.   If they're all tangled like ours you've also got the problem now of knowing which canes have/will fruit so you'll find it difficult to prune for fruit next year. 

    Good luck :)  I'm going to try to find something a little less aggressive, either raspberry variety or the neighbours have what I believe are something like Tayberries which form much smaller, neater bushes.
  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,657
    edited June 2018
    It's easy enough in terms of the plants to train them in. It's a matter of whether you are able to make a frame that they can line up to?

    If you prune them as per the standard instruction - so cut your autumn fruiting one right to the ground after it fruits, and cut out all the canes that have fruited (however poorly) and keep four or five new (this year's growth that haven't fruited) canes per plant of the summers. Pick the canes to keep that will suit your frame best. When the autumn ones sprout next spring, do the same - pick the ones that are growing in the right 'line' and cut any wayward ones out.

    Worst case, if they are too tangled with other things, you can cut the summer fruiting ones right down to the ground as well. You'll lose next year's fruit on those but the root will be fine and the whole thing will be more manageable next year. They are tough plants
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,956
    Sure.. most people in the US do two foot wide rows of fall fruiting, and just mow them all down right before winter with a riding mower.  Summer fruiting are more tricky in bush form, as you need to selectively prune out old from new.  The canes are slightly different colors due to the difference in maturity, so it can be done.  Just a bit more of a fuss.  

    Leave plenty of space between rows for picking and fitting a mower down through.  Mow over the suckers that come up in the grass to keep it tidy and contained within the rows.  
    Utah, USA.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,061
    Thanks for your replies, I am wondering if I might end up digging them out as well, as they are bursting out of their quite small bed - 2m x 60cm. I probably need a proper place to grow raspberries, not just bung em in a former seed bed uncomfortably close to my raised veg beds! I can knock in a couple of sturdy posts and stretch wires to do a cordon and I might try that when they are finished their meagre fruiting. In that space it would be one quite small row, though, so I am wondering if it’s worth it? 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 21,765
    I can't get them to grow in a row either. I have autumn ones and summer ones in the veg garden. The autumn ones fruit twice a year, June and autumn as I'm in Dordogne and the summers are long. Their original fence is now bare of raspberries and the raspberries have gone off wandering. I pull up the canes that are really in the way, otherwise I just let them get on with it. They've been doing that for 20 years. Luckily the veg garden is big. At the moment they are mostly around the greenhouse. This year I've had an amazing crop.
    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,389
    I grow mine in what the family now refer to as the 'raspberry jungle'. Old canes are cut down but the rest of it is left to its own devices. There's more fruit than I can pick so plenty to share with whatever fancies a nibble. I let some canes droop to the ground where hedgehogs and foxes can have a share too.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • purplerallimpurplerallim Posts: 4,861
    These are my autumn fruiting ones that are two years old. The beauty of these is that they were cut to ground level in February so it's all new growth trained how I want it. I have found summer fruits harder to manage so these suit me fine.
  • NollieNollie Posts: 7,061
    I recently read that autumn fruiting would be better for my climate than summer, and the ease of chopping back to the ground appeals. Maybe thats why the summers ones are not fruiting much and probably too much sun. I am in the process of clearing a woodland glade that might be perfect, where I can let them run a bit jungly and not worry about the faff of training too much. Happy to share with the wildlife,
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,199

    I have been growing an autumn variety, but only have about 6 canes/bushes about 1 ft apart along a narrow row, backed by a fence,  for about 9/8 years now. I roughly keep them in line with a wire stretched along two canes. I find them quite easy to control this way, just pulling out the odd sucker which pops up in the herb bed next door. What they might be doing in my neighbours garden the other side of the fence, I haven't a clue!

    However. I dug the old plants out last February as output had dropped off and planted a new variety "Polka" so it will be interesting to see what happens next - hopefully not a 6ft x 4ft jungle!!

    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • wild edgeswild edges Posts: 9,389
    Do you get wild raspberries out there?

    The jungle method does work well in the heat as the plants create a lot of shade around their roots. Mine are a bit too rampant now and keep popping up all over the place, including in the greenhouses.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
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