Wild Violets taking over Black Raspberry Patch

Asked June 8, 2019, 7:36 PM EDT

I've been battling - unsuccessfully - wild violets in my black raspberries. I weeded them last year by untangling their roots from the plant roots and mulching with newspaper and leaves. This year they are back again like ground cover. I called our extension office and the suggestion was to transplant the berrie s to a different bed. Since I started weeding, I now have 3 beds: 1 weeded and mulched, 1 unweeded and thick with violets, and one new bed with transplants.
My question is, do they harm the berries by taking away nutrients and water? Or left alone, are they a natural mulch? Possibly even symbiotic?

Jefferson County Kentucky

1 Response

Battling weeds in a raspberry patch is difficult, violets in particular are especially hard to control. Wild violets have small tuber like roots that break off easily and readily regrow. Because of this, hand weeding and herbicides are not always effective in controlling violet populations.

Any weeds in the raspberry patch will compete with the berries for nutrients and water. The best means of control would be persistence with hand weeding, followed by a weed barrier (such as newspaper or a biodegradable landscape fabric) and then an organic mulch (such as wood chips or straw).

I think the violets presence will have minimal consequences, they do not host many insects or diseases that would negatively effect the raspberries and their taking up space in the bed will keep other more harmful weeds at bay. As long as the raspberries are growing well and healthy, you could consider leaving the violets as a kind of living weed barrier. Your call.