Keeping weeds out of raspberries

Asked February 21, 2020, 10:37 AM EST

I planted a 50' row of raspberries. I prepared the ground by tilling a 4' wide row, and then I tried to remove all weeds, and then added organic material. The ground used to be pasture, is sandy and seems to be filled with quack grass. The quack grass quickly grew back into the raspberries (last year, my third year for the berries), and in parts it has overtaken the raspberries. Is there any good way to keep these weeds out of the raspberries. It seems that simple weeding doesn't help as the plants leave lots of roots that quickly grow back.

Ionia County Michigan raspberries

1 Response

Quackgrass is a perennial the spreads by underground rhizomes. The rhizomes when severed will spawn new growth from the pieces. If the above ground growth is allowed to grow even for a short period of time it can produce enough energy to spread. Eliminating quackgrass by cutting back requires a lot of frequent effort starting as soon as it emerges. Using a non-specific herbicide such as glyphosate can work especially if applied in the spring before the grass gets to tall. Care needs to be taken not to spray the raspberries. A shield (even a large pies of cardboard) can be used or even a wicking type applicator. There are also some grass killing chemicals that can be used that are approved for use with raspberries but they can be expensive and not readily available. As with any weed control, persistence is critical. Once the grass is gone a mulch can help to keep weeds at bay. If you use chemicals be sure to read the label.

For more information out the following links:

http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/raspberries-for-the-home-garden/

https://www.uvm.edu/vtvegandberry/factsheets/quackgrass.html

I hope this helps,