Consolidating our raspberry plant

(Question)

The suckers from raspberries have grown out into the middle of the garden. How can we transplant these to their original location at the back of the garden?

 

 

(Answer)

Raspberries can propagate from buds at the base of old canes (branches) or buds on roots. Runners are stems that grow away from the mother plant and along the ground, producing suckers, which are small vertical shoots. [Note that red raspberries produce suckers, purple and black ones don’t].You can use the suckers, as long as part of the runner is attached, as a root cutting.

Raspberries are perennials that bear fruit on 2nd year branches called canes. So any canes that sprout this year should bear fruit next year.   The canes will then die and you can prune them. The root base (called the crown) and the roots live for years. New canes will grow from root suckers, which are shoots that arise from the roots (not the crown) – these can appear many feet away from the mother plant.

The best time to transplant is early spring (before you see signs of active growth) or after they fruit in the fall (and have gone dormant).

First, make sure there are no weeds in the area where you will be planting the raspberries. Select an area that receives full sunlight, where the soil is well-draining. Enrich the soil by adding compost or composted manure. Work the compost into the soil to a depth of several inches.

Next:

  • Select healthy-looking suckers from plants that are at least 2 years old that have no sign of disease or pest infestations.
  • Cut into the soil between the sucker and its parent plant. This should be around 4 inches from the new sucker. Sever the runner and roots from that of the parent, as cleanly as possible. Gently pull the canes until you free the sucker, along with its attached runner and roots. Do the same for each cutting you want.
  • Dig a hole around 6-8 inches deep with a diameter that is about double the width of the root mass, so the roots can be spread out in the hole. The plant hole should be the same depth as the plant was growing.
  • Each hole should be around 2-3 feet apart, and if you have more than one row, space rows 10 feet apart.
  • Place the roots of a single sucker in the hole, spreading the roots. Make sure the plant sits vertically and the crown of each plant should be located just below ground level. Fill the hole with soil, pressing firmly to fill any air pockets.
  • Water the new plants to settle the soil and kick-start root development. It may need extra watering for the first 2 weeks or so, until it gets established.
  • Prune each cane tip to around 2-5 inches above soil level, if possible cut just above a bud. This promotes the growth of new canes.

See the University of Minnesota Extension’s Raspberries for the home garden.   As well, the University of Illinois Extension’s Planting raspberries also provides helpful information about transplanting.