The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Why raspberry patches decline

Ripening raspberriesA few of you asked why we'd need to start our ailing raspberry patch from freshly purchased stock rather than just digging up new shoots the way we've done to expand it in the past. The short answer is --- viruses.

Over time, viruses tend to build up in both raspberries and strawberries, causing declining vigor that carries over to any offshoots you propagate using homestead methods. Reputable nurseries instead rely upon lab techniques to clone without allowing viruses to come along for the ride, resulting in certified virus-free stock.

So if your patch starts ailing for no apparent reason, a fresh start can be worth a few bucks of nursery stock. Be sure to plant in a new location so the diseases won't spread quickly to your new plants and you should get many more years of raspberry for relatively little effort or expense.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Just a thought, would the viruses be present in seedlings I made from my own fruit's seed? I know that potato seeds don't carry disease with them. That would be a lot cheaper than buying new plants as well.
Comment by Eric in Japan Tue Jun 27 01:13:59 2017
Viruses can be harbored by wild brambles and they're spread by aphids. An OSU bulletin states that you should grow your raspberries at least 1000ft from nearest wild patch. Potatoes are also susceptible to viruses spread by aphids.
Comment by doc Tue Jun 27 06:32:43 2017
Ah, thanks for the info, Anna! Makes perfect sense. I, too, have heard that wild brambles' viruses can contaminate one's berry patches. In the SF area, blackberry is so common that it's normal to find it sprout up in your yard out of the blue, from bird droppings presumably.
Comment by Jennifer Tue Jun 27 09:53:14 2017

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