Problem with my raspberries

Asked June 6, 2016, 1:20 AM EDT

We bought red raspberries from Portland Nursery two years ago. They began to turn brown and the leaves curled up. We pulled them out and planted golden raspberries instead. We gave some starts to our neighbors. Ours began to do the same thing that the red raspberries did--turn brown in the veins and then the leaves curl. When we noticed the same problem with our neighbors starts, we all decided to cut them out and pull them. Do you have any idea what this is? And, can we safely put other plants in this soil ? Attached is a picture of our golden raspberries. By the way, we were careful to clean the blades that touched the raspberries when we took them out.

Multnomah County Oregon plant disease raspberries

1 Response

It may be a challenge to determine why your fruiting canes are dying. Because it’s only their 2nd year in the ground, it may be that their root systems aren’t yet developed well enough to support the new growth. In addition to that, the current unusual early-June heat wave here in the northwest is stressing many plants, including many that are well-established.

On the other hand, if this were a normal year, and if the berries had been in the ground for a number of years, I would suspect root rot because it is the most common reason raspberries fail in home gardens.

You can determine if the plants have root rot by doing the following:

- A healthy raspberry should be difficult to pull out of the ground; one with root rot comes out much more easily plus the roots are dark–colored, shortened, and with a mushy or rotted surface.

- Check the stem of an affected floricane (fruiting stem) by scraping it vertically to remove the bark; then look for a color change just underneath the bark. Root rot is present if you see a distinctive reddish-brown color on the stem with creamy-white above; unfortunately, this isn’t always true for raspberries.

- The primocanes (those that will fruit next year) will typically look healthy.

If the problem is root rot, the only remedy is to build a new, open-sided raised bed in a different area with clean soil, then to plant fresh, new healthy plants obtained next spring. Even if the plants appear to be free of root rot, I suggest you start over.

Unfortunately, no chemical treatment is available for use either before or after planting.

Caution: Don’t move what appear to be healthy plants from the old bed because doing so will contaminate the new bed with the disease organism. And don't be tempted to accept plants from friends or neighbors; instead, always obtain certified plants from a local garden center,

Ratings for root rot:

- Very susceptible to root rot: ‘Canby,' 'Comox,' 'Qualicum,' 'Malahat' and 'Skeena' are very susceptible; 'Amity'

- Susceptible: 'Chilcotin,' 'Nootka,' and 'Willamette'

- Moderately resistant: 'Chilliwack,' 'Meeker,' 'Sumner,' and 'Summit' (Young 'Meeker' plants are very susceptible but mature plants seem to have some field tolerance.)

- Resistant: ‘Cascade Delight’ has some tolerance; ‘Cascade Bounty’ has excellent resistance. (May need to obtain these via mail-order.)

Resources for you:

- “Growing Raspberries in Your Home Garden”

- “Raspberry Cultivars for Oregon”