growing cane berries

Asked May 7, 2020, 5:51 PM EDT

I am requesting information on the watering and fertilizing of Willamette raspberries and Marionberries. I have tried drip watering, soaker hose and hand watering and have found those methods do not work. Other than overhead watering, what is the best or is overhead watering the best? with what and how often do I fertilize? I also read that Marionberries and raspberries should not be planted near each other. An old wives tale or is there a reason? Thanks.

Polk County Oregon

1 Response

You mention that drip, hand watering and soaker hoses do not work, but it would be helpful to know why you feel they did not. Did the plants get drought stressed, or were there other problems?

Overhead watering will of course work, but it uses a lot of water and has the disadvantage of getting the foliage wet. As Marion Blackberry, in particular, is susceptible to both foliar and cane fungal diseases, it is preferable to avoid getting the foliage wet. So, drip irrigation is best, but it may need to be tailored to your specific site, by adapting the number of lines and emitters and the run time per irrigation cycle to supply sufficient water for good growth and fruit development. The link below is to the OSU Extension publication on growing blackberries, and contains information (and more links) to watering and fertilizng blackberries, including Marion:

Same with the raspberry publication:

And, there is absolutely no reason blackberries and raspberries cannot be grown next to one another. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that raspberries definitely require a well-drained soil to grow in, as they are very sensitive to Phyophthora Root Rot. They are best grown in a well-amended soil in a raised bed. Blackberries are much more tolerant of the clay soil found in the Willamette valley and do not require this adaptation. S you can grow them together, you would just grow them differently. Feel free to write directly to my email with further questions.