Propagation

It is against the law to propagate patented bramble varieties. It also is not wise to propagate brambles from older plantings because they are likely to be infected with viral diseases.

Nurseries traditionally propagate red and yellow raspberries by removing suckers from the underground stems of virus-free plants. The suckers are harvested during the dormant season and referred to as one-year-old plants in nursery catalogs. Often the suckers are transplanted in the nursery and grown for an additional year. Then they are sold the following year and referred to as transplants. Despite the extra year in the nursery, there is no real difference in performance between one- and two-year-old plants when establishing a planting.

Black raspberries and blackberries are propagated in late August by tip layering. Tips of the current season's canes are buried 2 to 4 inches deep in the soil. The tips develop roots and form new plants before dormancy the same year. They are cut from the original plant before digging with about 6 inches of the old cane left attached to the rooted tip.

Tissue culture is rapidly becoming the preferred technique for raspberry propagation. Plants are cloned from tissues of virus-free stock in sterile surroundings. They are uniform and vigorous when planted in the field. The main drawback of tissue-cultured plants is their initial sensitivity to herbicides and frost. You must take care not to plant them before the last frost in the spring, and you should delay herbicide applications until plantings are well established.

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