Whatever one may say, but autumn is on the doorstep, a month or two will pass and it will be possible to slip on the first frozen puddle. So why not start preparing our favorite plants, which gave us the harvest in the summer, for the real winter?
Today, we will try to tell you in as much detail as possible about preparing raspberries for winter.
THE TWO FALL CARE PERIODS FOR RASPBERRY BUSHES
In general, the autumn period, in any case, in relation to raspberries, can be strictly divided into two periods early and late. The first period, the early period is the end of August, when the weather is still quite warm. It begins immediately after the raspberries are harvested and have stopped growing, and although the wood can still show some growth activity, it is already in full swing for maturity to survive the cold winter.
The second period, which begins when the first leaves fall, lasts until a very real frost when you certainly wouldn’t go out in the street without a warm coat and hat. During this period, either the snowball actively molds or the soil freezes very deeply, if this very snowball has not yet appeared. What do raspberry shrubs do during this period? They try to complete the process of all the activities that occur to them as quickly as possible.
WHAT DO RASPBERRIES NEED IN THE FALL?
I would like to start with autumn fertilization: the shrubs are exhausted and they give us a rich harvest, so why not thank them in return? The second action is, of course, pruning the knotty shoots and thinning them after eating the entire harvest. The third is mandatory preventive treatment against various pests and diseases.
The fourth is watering, but watering with culture, watering — as needed, not every year. The fifth is shelter, where everything depends on the region, and in the middle of the United States, where raspberries grow, there is no shelter. But I will still explain how to do it correctly, at least in two sentences.
The whole of these five points, that is a raspberry! They say plant and forget. But still, these five points should not be afraid at all. The raspberry is a strong crop that can withstand many vagaries of the weather, and it can come out of the woodwork even without human help.
Care for raspberry bushes in early autumn
1. Autumn feeding of raspberries
It depends on the care of many things, such as the soil. If you have bad soil, it is perfectly possible to make potassium sulfate, you don’t need much — only one teaspoon per square meter of raspberry soil. This may seem like a small thing, but if the same potassium sulfate is dissolved in water, on soil not characterized by fertility, it is likely to accelerate the maturation of the trees before a violent frost.
Regarding fertilizer for raspberries: if you fertilize the soil well at planting, for example with humus or humus, then maybe you don’t need a fall fertilizer? Limit it to potassium and that will be enough? Raspberry is a strong, tough plant, and it certainly prefers tasty and nutritious soil to poor soil, but also without excessive amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, and I will tell you that it grows and sets quite well.
If your plot has loose, fertile, permeable, permeable soil, then generally speaking, why spend the effort and money to apply additional fertilizer. Excessive fertilizers can cause mediocre stress on Raspberry bushes plants and will not strengthen their immunity, on the contrary, their immunity will be reduced, and therefore — and various diseases. So, let’s do potassium, the dose we have already said.
Let’s go further — micronutrients, which is a rather different hypothesis. In winter and under the immunity of Raspberry bushes, the introduction of micronutrients will strengthen, and winter tolerance will increase. I safely recommend taking 3 grams of zinc sulfate and 5 grams of manganese sulfate (all this, of course, in 1 square meter of soil), surely without overdose.
2. Pruning raspberries
Some people are afraid of this dreaded word — “pruning”. And what’s so scary about it? Well, the shoots of raspberries bear fruit, do their work, cut it to the level of the soil, so why take care of it? Besides, all the green shoots can be removed because they don’t have time to mature and they will all freeze. Excess growth is also likely to be cut off.
Those who work with raspberries have a golden rule: in addition to leaving the most powerful and strongest growth, shorten it by about a quarter (everything is clear here — so the raspberries will be lush), so also leave the same number of shoots as they cut off as a result, plus 20% (to be on the safe side). This is the tricky part. What are we trying to achieve with this method? We get a reserve, which is necessary for further growth of the Raspberry bushes bush to increase productivity, and if there will be heavy frosts and light snow, there will be a small reserve, which can always be removed in the spring.
Important note: the fruiting branches of the raspberry should be cut off below the roots, sometimes you can even dig it out a little and remove it and cover the area with fresh soil.
3. Watering raspberries in autumn
In early autumn, the watering of raspberries should be reduced to a minimum until it stops completely. This is necessary for the shoots to lignify and not to freeze, otherwise, nutrient-rich soil is abundant water and they will still grow into the New Year. It is important to stop watering raspberries only when it starts to rain or when the soil freezes, but if the weather is dry and there is no frost, then you can give a bucket of water per square meter every other day.
In general, it all depends on the season; here I am referring to watering: if it is said to be dry and rainy in August and September, then it is worth watering a bucket per square meter twice a month; never allow the root ball under the raspberries to dry out completely.
When light frosts start to fall, it is advisable to treat the raspberries with a 2% Bordeaux mixture and to sprinkle some snow on the bushes if it has already fallen (just in case).
CARE FOR RASPBERRY BUSHES IN LATE AUTUMN
Temperatures here no longer exceed 32°F (0°C), the sun is further away, nighttime frosts are no longer rare, and leaves either fall off entirely or shrivel strongly — which means it’s time to winterize your raspberry trees. Don’t rush to deal with them, winter doesn’t come suddenly or once and for all, everything happens in stages. For example, we mulched raspberry trees in cooler areas: a little cooler, but the sun came and looked, so it began to burn, that mulched with wood for those two or three days, soot may.
Phase 2: Prevention — expel parasites and diseases that lurk over the winter.
1. Prevention of pests and diseases of raspberries
For this, it is necessary to: remove all the garbage from the Raspberry bushes, burn all the broken branches, collect all the rotten berries and leaves in a pile and burn them too, as well as the ashes, which can be used as fertilizer with at least 5% of potassium, but still. If you are 100% sure about your plants and their health, then the leaves of raspberries should not be burned, but sent to the compost pile: decompose, well, and most importantly, the natural fertilizer will turn out.
In the same period, you can re-treat the raspberry bushes with Bordeaux mixture, but rest assured, do not use two or three percent, take five percent of Bordeaux mixture and treat everything from bottom to top so that no pests remain (for example, the same aphids or spider mites).
For maximum results, it is best to treat raspberry plants with Bordeaux mixture in sunny weather and without rain, preferably with dry shoots, and also without rain for at least a day after the treatment. Of course, if resources allow and there is no internal objection to treating plants with an approved insecticide, then it seems to work better for me.
2. Removing immature shoots from raspberries
At this point, everything is easy and quick: take a sharp pruner and a cloth soaked in alcohol and remove all immature green shoots from raspberries, which have certainly not experienced winter, from shrub to shrub, wiping the alcohol leaves of the pruner to avoid infection.
If they are not removed, they will freeze in the winter and start to rot in the spring, covered with mildew and the plant’s immunity will be reduced.
3. The last watering of raspberries
Yes, you could say that — farewell to the season of watering raspberries when the soil has not yet frozen. It is necessary to catch a warm day, and yes, according to forecasts, seeing that after a few days there is still no frost, it is simply pouring the soil, pouring out two-three buckets per square meter of Raspberry bushes. Why? Such watering will help to survive a severe frost, because we know that for a moisture-loving crop like raspberries, too much water in the soil increases winter hardiness, although not significantly. But sometimes even 30–40°F may be enough to keep plants intact and unharmed.
If there is a long period of time, say a week, when it doesn’t rain at all, then a few buckets of room temperature water can be safely poured under each bush and be fine — if it rains.
4. Mulch raspberries for the winter
Now is the time to think about winter mulching of raspberries, which makes more sense for those areas located north of the U.S. central belt. Of course, here, it all depends on the variety — after all, it’s not difficult to read whether it’s winter hardy, but also on the winters in your area, and the amount of snow. After all, there may be nothing else to shade than snow.
For example, you live in an area that is characterized by very snowy winters and moderate temperatures. So, is it necessary to cover raspberries or not? We see no such need. If it is possible, and the branches are neatly bent, you can bend them closer to the ground so that the snow covers them just right, and tie them to any vertical nails to secure them, which they suddenly do not unravel during the winter.
UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES DO RASPBERRIES NEED TO BE COVERED?
First of all — you managed to buy a variety with very large fruits, a high yield, taste — very good. Then it is obviously thermophilic.
Second — you have a very cold winter.
Third — the winter is not characterized by critical temperatures, but almost no snow, and even when it does snow, it either melts or sweeps over somewhere under the fence or through the yard (kind of like an American winter).
Fourth — you managed to buy a species without thorns — which is great, but the rodents will be happy too.
Therefore, if you need to cover a bush, it is best to bend it and then evenly cover the top. In frosty weather, bushes should not be mulched; they will burst like matchsticks. Also, you can’t bend it to the ground; in my opinion, it should be at a 45-degree angle, so that’s a good compromise.
Before bending a raspberry bush, I recommend hammering the most basic wooden hook into the ground, then simply wrapping the bush with twine and tying it to the hook, slowly bending and pulling up the twine. Give it a day to rest and “get used to it” literally and try pulling up the twine after a day or two, and if it goes and you get an extra 1 inch or so, that’s great. If not, you should first cover the raspberry with fleece and then protect it from mice with a net, or at least put in spruce branches, but that won’t help much if they are fresher and more frequent, otherwise, the needles will fly off quickly. People living in northern areas who want to grow raspberries have no choice but to simply cover them with soil and make a kind of mound. Perhaps on the ground and in the snow, raspberry bushes will survive your extreme winters.
In the event of snowfall, but it can be less, build a sandbox-like thing while hiding around the Raspberry bushes so that the snow fills all the gaps and piles up without running off. You can use old plywood, honeycomb polycarbonate, or whatever you have on hand as a barrier.
If there is a risk of a mouse infestation, you may want to stock up on poison bait and fir wood.
Of course, the last ones we listed are for very severe winters. I’ll say it again: there’s a whole raspberry in the middle of the US that winters so well and produces so well that she needs minimal care, but still needs it.
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