I recently had a baby, and as a gift, my brother would like to help us set up a berry patch for
our little one to enjoy from his existing patches. He started his patches from our grandfather’s house, so it would be meaningful if we could also do the same. Unfortunately, neither of us remember how he started the patch for my brother. How can you propagate black raspberries? When is the best time to do it? Thank you in advance!!
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
We have a lot of information on our website concerning the growing and propagation of raspberries. The following information is from one of our earlier posts:
“There are several ways to propagate raspberries. Bear in mind, though, that it is generally recommended to buy raspberry plants from a nursery, as existing patches may be contaminated with viruses. Also, avoid planting the raspberries in a spot where tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant or peppers have been planted in the past, as all these plants are susceptible to verticillium wilt, a fungus that can remain in the soil for years.
Here are few ways to propagate these plants:
- Dig root cuttings when the plant is dormant, in mid-winter. Cuttings should be about 13 cm [5 inches] long. Store the cuttings in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them in early spring. Alternatively, plant the cuttings in a pot in damp potting soil, with the top of the root section at soil level. Water and keep out of direct sun, then replant outdoors after about a month, regardless of whether roots are evident. Cuttings should be planted 5 cm [12 inches] apart and the top of each cutting should be around 5 cm [2 inches] below the surface of the soil. Water in order to keep the area moist, and fertilize when shoots pop up a few months later.
- In early spring, cut a few of the plant’s suckers (these emerge from the roots — select those that are at least 13-20 [5-8 inches] in length). Make sure that you keep some of the root ball attached – at least an 8 cm [3 inch] section of the parent’s roots. Plant the suckers right away, in a sunny, well-drained area. See an earlier response on our Ask a Master Gardener site, Raspberry canes .
- Bury the tip of the cane (stem), from which you have removed any leaves, in 5-10 cm [2-4 inches] of soil (e.g., in a pot or, if the cane is long enough, in the ground), so that the tip will form its own root system. Keep the cane attached to the parent plant, and water consistently until 3 weeks later, when you can snip the cane off from the parent plant, and plant the cloned raspberry plant. This sounds closest to what you are considering, remember not to detach the “new” plant from its parent until after roots have formed.
- Cut a 10 cm (4 inch) piece of the cane in late summer – the stem should snap when bent and you should include at least 2 leaf nodes (swellings on the stem where leaves will emerge) per cutting. Keep 2.5 cm (1 inch) of stem below the lower node. Take off lower leaves and slice off a few strips of outer bark. Dip the stems in water, follow this by a dip in rooting hormone, making sure you cover all the wounds that you made when removing the lower leaves. Plant it in a planting tray in sterile, damp sand or perlite/soil-less mix, place in a plastic bag then put in a spot away from direct sun. Mist the leaves once a day with water. Transplant cuttings when roots appear through holes in the tray bottom”
While you’re researching about your raspberries, here is a popular link to how to care for your raspberry (and blackberry) bushes for maximum yield, from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs Raspberries and Blackberries for Home Gardens.