Black raspberry bushes not producing

Asked July 19, 2020, 1:51 PM EDT

I have a lovely looking patch of black raspberries that is about 15 feet long in a single row. They are up against a fence near pine trees and they get about 6 hours of direct sun per day, mostly in the afternoon. Each year the plants look healthier and more robust and I always think "THIS is going to be the year they produce" and then they never do. I've attached a picture of what the berries look like. We got about 1/2 pint this year, but based on the size of the patch and the number of blossoms we should be getting 4-6 pints at a minimum each year. We have red raspberries about 300 feet away on the other side of our house and they are extremely fruitful, yielding about 12 to 14 quarts per summer. Could you help me trouble shoot this issue? I'm curious if it is a lack of bees or poor soil conditions? Or a potential issue with the red raspberries being so close and an issue with cross-pollination? We also live across the street from a golf course and I'm sure they spray a lot and there are contaminents in the air? It is very sad. The patch has been growing for about 8 years now and I don't mind giving the TLC they need if they are going to produce but hate to keep pruning and weeding with zero yield. Could you offer some suggestions based on your experience. Thank you for your time in answering!

Lucas County Ohio

5 Responses

Hello. It appears that you had lots of flowers - is that true? If that is the case, I am wondering if they are not being pollinated and some of the fruit is aborting. Does that make sense?

Other questions:

What is your pruning schedule?
Have you fertilized - if yes, what are you using?

Hopefully we can figure something out going forward. Amy

Yes!! Lots and lots of blooms and we have had that for about 3 yrs now they just never develop sadly.
I let them go wild and just keep them weeded and prune the dead canes in early spring (March preferably) and then prune the new canes back to about 5 feet tall in the hopes of getting larger berries.
I have not used any fertilizer to date. Thanks for your help!!

Good morning. It sounds like it maybe an issue of pollination since you have flowers, but are lacking fruit.

I have also included a link to the OSU FactSheet for your reference as it addresses information about growing raspberries in Ohio including pruning and fertilizing.

I hope this FactSeet is useful. Amy

Thank you for your reply! The information is very helpful!!! The fact sheet is full of great tips.

Maybe I can find a local farmer willing to share his hive next spring?! That would be amazing!

Karla Gleason

There is a Maumee Valley Bee Keepers Group. Here is link to the state website that includes contact information for the local groups -

Good luck! Amy