Out of Control Raspberry Canes


A portion of our yard is overgrown with raspberry canes which I tried pulling (roots and all) but they persist.
We have an abundance if periwinkle on the property and my question is, might pulling the canes once more and planting periwinkle in their place, choke the canes from re-erupting? Or, is there any other ground cover plants we could consider? Muskoka, dry sandy soil, primarily shade.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners

Raspberry canes can certainly take over large swaths of a garden if they are not pruned regularly.  You have done the right thing by digging up the roots, but it takes a few years to eliminate the plant entirely.  You will need to diligently remove any new shoots.  If you use a garden fork to lift the plant and loosen the soil, you will have a better chance of not breaking the roots to remove them. You should discard all the plants you have removed into the garbage, not the compost or the pieces you pull out could root again in the compost.

Once the area is clear, cover it with a few layers of newspaper and then 3 inches of mulch.  The newspaper and mulch should kill any new growth and any weeds you might have in the area.  In spite of this, you will still have to keep your eye out for new raspberry shoots and pull them out.  Young shoots are easier to remove.

I would be very hesitant to plant additional periwinkle. In fact, you may want to remove your existing  periwinkle as well. Periwinkle (Vinca minor) is an invasive ground cover that can destroy whole natural areas.  It creates a dense carpet that kills all native plant material. Make sure none of your existing periwinkle escapes into the natural areas of Muskoka.

Please check out the Ontario Invasive Plant Council’s web site:  https://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/GMI-Booklet_FINAL-FOR-WEB_May132016.pdf  for information about invasive plants in Southern Ontario and what you could plant instead.  Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) are only two of their  alternatives to Periwinkle.

Good luck!