raspberry planting

Asked February 23, 2015, 2:34 PM EST

I want to put in around 5 acres of raspberries. Is it possible to drill them in, maybe in the fall, so they can stratify and pop up in the spring or earlier summer? My property is in Manistee County. Any and all advise regarding raspberry plant/planting is welcome.

Manistee County Michigan

5 Responses

I don't know what you mean by "drill them in." You will be planting a cane with roots attached.They need to be planted with roots spread sideways so they spread all the way around the cane. This involves looking at the cane and planting it at the depth that it was originally in the soil.

I don't know what you mean by "stratify." That's what is done with some seeds so they will germinate in the spring. It is not done with roots. I don't know if you can even find raspberries to buy in the fall. Even if you could, there is no time for root systems to develop.

You plant in the spring but plants will start to grow only when the soil has warmed adequately. You cannot make them come up earlier or later.

There is no way I can provide you with enough information to make your project work. You need to learn about weed control, fertilizing and pruning. You need to decide what kind of raspberries you want to grow.You needto know the difference between primocanes and fruiting canes. Check the MSU Bookstore onlinefor raspberry information- http://bookstore.msue.msu.edu Or look online for information on growing
raspberries. Look for sites that end in "edu" for research-based information. I am really worried that you have a great deal to learn and the success of your project depends on it.

What I am talking about when I say drilling in, I have a soy bean planter (drill) that I could space the seed row on 6 foot centers and plant seed like winter wheat in late fall. This wold allow the seed to freeze in the ground over the winter, stratifying them. I just wondered if they would grow in the spring or just rot in the ground. It would be a lot easier to drill in 5 acres plus than hand planting. I could also drill the seeds in late spring if better.

Raspberries are not sold as seeds. You are going to get more that just a stick or a seed. You get a single cane with roots. Your cane has roots attached which must be spread out horizontally. That is done by hand. If you are planting on six foot centers, canes will be leaning into each other very soon. If you prune them so you can get between the rows, you will lose production. You need a row that has a guide wire down each side so the canes can lean on the guide wire. There are usually two T-posts on each end of the row.

If you could plant how you want, you cannot harvest or renovate because you cannot get between rows. This is why you need to read up on how raspberries are grown. All those years of mistakes have been corrected when you read about spacing and trellising, fertilizing and weed control. Your system is not going to be successful.

I can by seed in bulk (kilos) and if I planted on 6 foot centers I could either cultivate or mow between rows. This also allows room to harvest. I have also considered planting white clover between rows for weed control, but am not certain if the clover would be to invasive and choke out the berries? The clover I could just mow with my flail mower. I have already bought some seeds and am starting some to plants in a local greenhouse, but I am also thinking of cost of purchasing enough plants for 5+ acres and hand planting labor cost verses just filling my planter's seeder on 6 foot centers and driving the tractor. I just never heard of any one trying to drill seed in before and wonder why?

Hi I am a Fruit Educator with MSU Extension. I am not aware of anyplace in the world that plants raspberries from seed to get a commercial planting. The seed you have has probably come from a commercial juice operation. They are not all one variety and there would be differences between the plants. Since you don't know the parent variety you don't know if you have a summer or fall bearing plants. It would take several years (probably some fruit in year 2 and increasing yields to year 6) for plants from seed to get big enough to fruit. Most fruit production is very labor intensive and raspberry harvest takes a lot of hand labor. I would imagine you would need at least a dozen full time help for the harvest season to pick the fruit as it ripens. There are raspberry harvest machines but they cost several hundred thousand dollars. Machine harvested fruit is generally sold for juice or wine. A lot of people who buy that kind of thing purchase it from Chile where they have thousands of acreages of raspberries. You will also need a small sprayer to spray the bushes for insects and diseases and a small weed sprayer to apply herbicides in the row. Weed control is a big problem in raspberries.
Raspberry varieties are propagated by digging one year-old canes and planting these. Yields begin the second year and full production in the third year. Varieties are selected from seed and plants are certified virus free. Varieties are chosen for harvest season, fruit size and flavor.
I generally counsel people who want to plant 5 acre of raspberries and have no experience with the crop to plant a quart acre and make all you mistakes on a small scale. I think a small U-pick or local sales planting could be profitable but unless you have a market and experience a large scale planting would not be profitable.