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Raspberries don't bear fruit :(

Posted by CalGarden California (My Page) on
Wed, May 22, 13 at 16:57

I have a 20 foot row of raspberries started from bare root. It's in its second year of maturity and for the second year it did the exact same thing. In the spring the canes came to life and looked great, they bore spring blossoms profusely and were covered in pollinators, but the mature blossoms stayed brown and didn't turn to fruit. As the blossoms are maturing, the leaves start to turn splotchy yellow and these flourocanes look stressed. I did not get a single berry or even part of one. I ruled out watering as an issue because the primocanes look good and I paid particular attention to moisture. I thought it unlikely to be a virus since the primocanes look good and I'm in virgin soil. I did a soil sample after last season's disappointment and found the soil was very low on nitrogen and organic matter so I fertilized with blood meal in the early spring this year and added two inches of compost. Phosphorus and calcium were a little on the high side. The only other thing of note in the test was the pH was a little high at 7.3 so I amended with a little soil sulphur which of course takes time to work. I attached a photo so you can see the leaves turning and the contrast with the dark green primocanes. I should add that the primocanes last year turned a little yellow too, but only late in the season. I'm wondering if I'm missing a key mineral or something. My neighbor grows raspberries and gets great yields. My local master gardeners are stumped. I found one old thread on this subject but with no solution. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Raspberries don't bear fruit :(

I have found that amendments don't appear to make any difference until the next years growth. So I think you'll see the change next year.
Raspberries do like a lot of moisture during fruiting and cane renewal.
Ph is vital and I think your actions in that area will bear fruit next season.

RE: Raspberries don't bear fruit :(

You don't post the zone you are in. Why not? California must have at least 4 zones. I'd guess the southern most zones don't get enough chill hours for raspberries.

RE: Raspberries don't bear fruit :(

When floricanes fail but primocanes are fine, the problem is often root rot. The responsible soil fungus is Phytophthora, common in some parts of CA.

If that's so, the only remedy available is to plant in clean soil.

No chemicals or other treatments available.
Removing and replacing the infested soil will fail.

Raised beds in a new area might work if that soil isn't also infested.

A soil test lab can test for the fungus but it will cost, perhaps $50 or more dollars.

RE: Raspberries don't bear fruit :(

Thanks for the replies. Any other ideas would be appreciated.

I hadn't thought about a virus or fungus because the situation arose so quickly and uniformly through the row, but I'm going to check that out for sure.
We are in California Zone 7.

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