( Originally Published Early 1900's )
There are four classes of American raspberries. Two of these, the white and the red, belong to the same species. The third is the black raspberry, or blackcap, which forms a class by itself. The fourth class is a hybrid between the red and the black. The cultivation of all these is the same except that the black varieties need some-what more room than the others. All kinds do best on rich soil, preferably strong, deep loam. This gives the best crop. On sandy, gravelly, or stiff clay soils, the plants cannot be relied upon to give good yields. The deeper the soil, the better. Like the blackberry, the stems of the raspberry are biennial ; that is, they produce canes one year from a perennial root and bear fruit the following year, then die and new shoots take their places. On this account stems that have borne fruit should be cut out immediately after fruiting, because they are of no further use.
While all these fruits send up new canes from the base of the plant, the reds and the blackberries may send suckers from any point where the roots are broken, so will the hybrid kinds, which will also root from the tips. The stems of the black varieties, if allowed to grow full length, will take root at their tips. These two characteristics of the plant suggest methods of propagation ; new blackberry and red and white raspberry plants are secured by digging up the suckers and planting them where desired. New plants of black rasp-berries are secured by insuring the rooting of the cane tips, during the latter part of summer and transplanting these new plants.
As soon as the canes have reached a height of 18 inches to 2 feet, they may be pinched to prevent their growing taller, to make them stouter, and to make them develop side shoots, which should also be pinched back when they have grown a foot or 15 inches long.
This practice obviates the necessity of staking. Four or five canes are enough to allow grow each year in the hill. Usually red and white varieties are planted about 4 feet apart and the blackcaps 5 or 6 each way. Sometimes, however, they are planted 3 feet apart in the row, or even closer, but then 6 or 7 feet between rows. The plantation properly managed will continue in profitable bearing for five or six years, when it is usually best to start a new plantation, because the fruit is likely to become: small and the crop light.
Among the well-known varieties are Brandywine, Cuthbert, Loudon, Marlborough, Miller, and Turner. The two best known yellow sorts are Caroline, and Golden Queen. Among the purple sorts are Columbian and Shaffer. Perhaps the best known black varieties are Doolittle, Gregg, Kansas, Mammoth, Cluster, Omaha, Ohio, Souhegan, Tyler, and Eureka.
" Red raspberries can be successfully grown in any part of New Jersey, and should be planted in every family garden," writes Charles A. Umoselle of Atlantic county. "There are tender and hardy varieties as in other plants, so a knowledge of the best and hardiest eastern varieties is essential. It is well to look around and see what varieties are doing best in one's immediate neighborhood before ordering, being sure to get plants from only reliable firms. This same principle applies to all other plants, fruit trees, etc.
I have tested all the leading varieties of red raspberries, and find the Loudon to take the lead in both hardiness and productiveness, with the Cuthbert second. These are both good varieties, good shippers, and also good market varieties. We prefer the Loudon as a table berry, also for canning purposes; it also ships well, making a fine appearance in the box, having a deep red color, which does not fade in canning.
" Raspberries are good feeders, requiring a liberal amount of plant food, and responding readily to good treatment. If the soil is not naturally in a good state of fertility, rotted barnyard manure should be applied, and the ground deeply plowed and thoroughly cultivated or broken up with a harrow or clod smasher in a small way, then well spaded up, working in the dressing.
"The plants should then be set in the furrow, with roots well moistened. Some farmers plow the furrow with a two-horse plow and set the plants in the furrows, while others use a line and a spade, opening the holes that the plants are to go into. In either case, care must be taken not to break off the small white shoots coming from crown or roots, as these are to be the future plants. Do not set the plants too deep, or the shoots will not have a chance to get to the surface. Care must be taken not to tramp the soil hard just above the crown, but more from the sides and a little distance away from the plants. The new shoots then have a better chance to come to the top.
I always use young plants from new propagating beds, as in setting strawberries, because older bushes from fruiting beds are not desirable, in many cases being exhausted to such an extent as to render them unprofitable. That is where a great many make a mistake in setting out old plants instead of getting strong, thrifty young plants. There are many systems of planting, but I will only suggest a few.
First method is to plant the raspberries 5 feet apart each way, so as to cultivate with a horse both ways; allow five shoots to each hill. On a large scale I set plants in rows 5 to 6 feet apart, north to south, and from 3 to 4 feet in the row. I plant potatoes every other row north and south the first year, and after that the whole space is given to the bushes. By the second method, for a small garden, the plants can be set in narrow rows, 1 foot apart in the row, where the work is to be done by hand. I would recommend the rows to be 4 feet apart, the farther the better. Four or five of the thriftiest canes are enough to allow grow and mature each year. The fruit is grown on the two year old wood. Cultivation is very important in securing best results.
" Though many people plant raspberries, giving no cultivation or care afterward, expecting them to bear well just the same, you can always tell the successful grower by looking at his patch during the picking season. His rows will be found straight, well cultivated, free from weeds, with plants not too thick in the row, not like the patch of a careless neighbor at this time a thick mass of canes and weeds."
We commenced growing berries about 15 years ago," writes Martin H. Munger of Wyoming county, New York. " We had put 26 acres of land, planting at first two or three acres and gradually increasing. At present we have 12 to 15 acres. The varieties grown are black and red raspberries and blackberries. Our soil is a deep, gravelly loam, rather light and dry. We plant with potatoes, marking 3 feet both ways, and setting the plants 6 feet each way, so that the cultivation during the following years is always both ways, thereby saving much hand hoeing, and, we think, producing finer fruit, although perhaps less in quantity. We aim to cultivate nearly every week one way or the other from early spring until about picking time, after which we give one more good working and then cut out old wood. We usually leave the red raspberry brush without cutting until spring, as it helps to protect the canes from being broken by the snow. The principal varieties of raspberries grown are Gregg, Cuthbert, and Snyder. The Snyder is not doing as well as formerly, so we are trying other varieties with some success.
" We find a great difference in the durability of the different varieties of blackcaps, Gregg standing from six to ten years, while Eureka. will last but two to four. Blackcaps need good, new ground, and blackberries will do very well following blackcaps. We have Cuthberts 12 years old as good as any we have. In fact, none of our Cuthberts have run out. We use a light dressing of wood ashes nearly every year, and sometimes a fertilizer containing phosphoric acid and potash.
" Blackberry bushes are not trimmed as closely as blackcaps, but enough for convenience in cultivating. Red raspberries are not trimmed until spring. We get an average yield of perhaps a quart to the bush, or 50 bushels to the acre, sometimes getting as many as 125 crates to the acre or quarts to the bush. The crop is usually sold on the local market, which we have tried to please with fine fruit and fair dealings. We have been rewarded with good prices and a growing demand."
As to the pruning of raspberries and blackberries, L. R. Johnson of Missouri says : " The one reason for spring pruning is that the tender blackberries and all the raspberries die back more or less through the winter, and if pruned in the fall would have to be pruned again in the spring to remove dead wood. Some growers wait till the blossoms open in order to measure by the bloom how much wood to leave. And there is good reason in this, for buds do not always form regularly along the cane, and so many inches of wood cannot always be relied on to produce so many berries.
"In pruning raspberries, first observe how many canes there are in the hill and cut out all over three or four. The number of main canes should be governed by the size and the number and strength of the laterals. I have seen one cane large enough to yield a hill's average crop. If the canes which were pinched back the year beforehand have sent out several laterals or branch canes, these laterals should be shortened in to 12 or 15 inches, according to their number and vigor the more laterals the shorter they should be cut.
"Blackberries are pruned much the same. Four feet is high enough to permit them to grow. Slender, late, immature canes should be cut out entirely if there are longer ones. The Early Harvest especially needs close pruning. It is an immense bearer, and a severe cutting back often makes the difference between profit and loss in the yield."