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Raspberry canes that look lifeless

Posted by neptune24 7B, GA (My Page) on
Wed, Feb 22, 12 at 0:55

I planted 3 raspberry canes at the end of November, and they all seemed to be alive. However, only 1 seems to be now--the other 2 are brown and brittle when I scratch them. Is that anything to be concerned about? Just because the canes seem dead, that doesn't necessarily mean the roots are dead, does it? Thanks for any info.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

too early to tell....you'll find out soon when things break dormancy...


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

OK, thanks, melikeeatplants.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

I started this thread about a month ago. Now that spring has begun, I still don't see any growth from my raspberry canes, but perhaps it's still too early. What's the latest I should wait before deciding whether the canes are alive or not? Mid-April, maybe? Thanks for any info.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

I've got leaves all over my raspberry plants already here in Two Rivers, WI next to Lake Michigan where the warmest we've gotten has been about 57 F but the unseasonable warmth has been here for almost a month already. The leaves just came out about 2 days ago. If your canes look dead in zone 7B where it is *presumably* even warmer than it is here, then maybe they truly are dead. Wait another week or two and keep those fingers crossed.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

Do you have people in the neighborhood who grow raspberries? You could ask if theirs are growing. My caneberries came alive here a couple of weeks ago in 9B. You might as well wait a bit longer, or cut a cane to the ground and look at the cross section. You'll be able to tell if it's alive or dead. There's no harm in waiting longer. If they never push then just go buy some primocane type berries and you'll have some fruit in late summer/early fall.

If you have heavy clay soil you may want to build a raised bed for them. And if your old berries are truly dead I'd put the new ones somewhere else to avoid any cross contamination from root rot type diseases.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

dmtaylor wrote:

If your canes look dead in zone 7B where it is *presumably* even warmer than it is here, then maybe they truly are dead. Wait another week or two and keep those fingers crossed.

Yes, we've been getting in the low 80s for the past week. OK, I'll wait a week or two--thanks. The thing is, my Concord grapes only started showing signs of life a few days ago, so maybe there is hope for the raspberries.

melikeeatplants wrote:
Do you have people in the neighborhood who grow raspberries?

No, but here's the thing. Last year, I bought 3 raspberry canes from Stark Bros. in June, and there were all DOA. So, they sent me some more at the end of November, and they all looked good then. These are the ones that I'm concerned about. I have 2 other raspberry plants as well, however. One of them just arrived a week ago, and it is starting to bud. The other one was an actual *plant*, not a cane, that I planted last summer, and it started showing leaves over a week ago. So, it's the 3 canes from Nov. that I'm concerned about.

You might as well wait a bit longer, or cut a cane to the ground and look at the cross section.

Oh, I can do that without hurting the plant? OK, sounds like a plan! :)

You'll be able to tell if it's alive or dead. There's no harm in waiting longer. If they never push then just go buy some primocane type berries and you'll have some fruit in late summer/early fall.

I'll wait at least a week before I try cutting the cane. Anyway, that would be really weird if all 3 canes didn't survive the mild winter. If so, I'll never buy any from Stark Bros. again! ;)

If you have heavy clay soil you may want to build a raised bed for them. And if your old berries are truly dead I'd put the new ones somewhere else to avoid any cross contamination from root rot type diseases.

Thanks for the helpful tips.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

I have full leaves on all of my black and purple raspberries near Philadelphia. All of my red and gold raspberries have already broken dormancy, and many suckers have now leafed out. Your raspberry canes should have broken dormancy by now where you are located. I just planted some new canes from Nourse Farms about 5 days ago, and even a few have already budded in the warmth. Won't hurt to gently dig about 6" away from the main stem to see if the roots are still alive.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

Pitcom wrote:
Won't hurt to gently dig about 6" away from the main stem to see if the roots are still alive.

How exactly can you tell if the roots are still alive?


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

I've waited a bit, and it seems my raspberry canes really are dead. So here's my question:

Why would 3 raspberry canes that looked alive when I planted them in late Nov. not survive a mild winter? They got enough water, and I don't think the soil is the problem, because I have another raspberry plant from last year in the same soil and it came up just fine this month. Is it probably inferior stock? After all, the company that I ordered the canes from (Stark Bros.) sent me the 3 canes in Nov. as replacements for the original 3 canes that they had sent earlier in the year that were DOA.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

I'm not sure where you are, but is it possible that the ground froze or was near-freezing before the roots had a good chance to establish themselves? I don't know how much growing the roots will do if the ground is like 40 F or less. Just a thought, and I could be totally off if you live in a warmer climate.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless2

Egad -- scratch my previous post as I see now that you are in Georgia, which I seriously doubt would have cold climate conditions even in November.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

Thanks, dmtaylor. So I guess that just means Stark Bros. sent me junk! LOL.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

Depending on the variety, canes will die after fruiting. Though some may show signs of growth there after, it is noted that these normally will become dry and brittle. The idea is planting them with enough time for new cains to grow.


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

BackyardPhenomena wrote:

Depending on the variety, canes will die after fruiting. Though some may show signs of growth there after, it is noted that these normally will become dry and brittle. The idea is planting them with enough time for new cains to grow.

Thanks for the info, BackyardPhenomena. Well, my canes have had over 4 months, so I'll assume they're dead. :)


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RE: Raspberry canes that look lifeless

This is the only thread that I could find talking about Raspberries.
My red raspberry canes have not grown very tall for the last several years no matter how much fertilizer I dump on them. Canes grow one year and fruit the next. As the original plants are many years old now, do I have to dig them all up and put in new plants? New canes come up every year, they just don't grow as tall as they did originally and the fruit isn't as big.

Would applying sulphur kill any fungus in established plantings?


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