Red Raspberry, Rubus  idaeus

Red Raspberry

Rubus idaeus

Benefits:
Sun Shade:
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 5
Soil Conditions: Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium
Color: Pink, Purple
Fragrance: No
Height: 3-9 feet
Spacing: 3-9 feet


Description

Red Raspberry, Rubus idaeus, is an erect-to spreading- to sprawling, thicket-forming, deciduous shrub with biennial, often prickly, cane-like stems. It typically grows to 3-9 feet tall. In the wild, raspberries typically grow in a variety of locations including open woods, ravines, heaths, streambanks, bluffs and wooded mountain slopes. Commercially grown raspberries are mostly cultivars of European raspberry or American red raspberry or crosses between the two varieties.

Leaves are alternate, usually divided into 3-5 leaflets which are arranged pinnately, pedately, or less commonly palmately, but infrequently undivided. First year stems (primocanes) bear only leaves. Lateral branches in the second year (floricanes) produce leaves, flowers and fruits.

Flowers are in clusters, racemes or panicles, but are occasionally solitary, and are generally white but sometimes pink to rosy-purple. Flowers bloom in spring. Each flower has five petals, five sepals, five bracts, numerous stamens, and several pistils clustered on a cone-shaped core known as a receptacle. Botanically the fruits are not berries (though they are usually called berries), but are coherent aggregations of tiny drupelets. Fruits separate from the receptacle when picked with each raspberry resembling a hollow cone. Fruits ripen in summer.

Best grown in organically rich, slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Intolerant of wet soils which can cause root rot. When grown for harvest of its raspberry fruits, raised beds should be considered in areas with heavy clay soils. Prune out fruiting canes of both summer and ever-bearing cultivars in summer immediately after fruiting and any non-fruiting canes that exhibit weakness or disease. New shoots will develop and, ever-earing cultivars will produce fruit on the tips of these shoots. In late winter, remove any canes damaged by winter and thin, as needed, the remaining canes. Cut back the tips of everbearers that fruited last fall but leave the rest of cane for summer fruiting.

Plants adapt to a variety of soils, preferring those that are reasonably fertile and of medium and consistent moisture. Most do well in sun, but a few prefer light shade. Pruning is essential in order to keep plants well-maintained. It is generally best to prune out old, summer-bearing canes as soon as fruiting is over for purposes of encouraging the production of new canes. Raspberry roots are perennial but the leaf- and fruit-bearing canes are biennial, each cane living only two growing seasons before dying.

Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  In the wild, plants spread by suckers, stolons, rhizomes or root crowns to rapidly colonize certain areas, particularly disturbed areas such as those left after logging or forest fires.
  Many wild raspberries have very little garden merit, and, if not properly cared for, can easily spread to form tangled masses of impenetrable, thorny stems.
  Promptly remove excess new plants and suckers to control spread.
  Stems may root where they touch the ground.
  If grown for ornamental reasons, raspberries are best located in areas where they can naturalize.
Further Information

Wild Ones of the Fox Valley Area
Prairie Nursery
Wisconsin DNR
Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries