Raspberries are among the easiest fruit-bearing plants to grow in Central Texas. With the right conditions and following the right advice, you will be rewarded with a bountiful of red berries to enjoy.
When to plant Raspberry?
Raspberry bushes are available in local nurseries twice a year, and they come in two different forms. Potted canes are sold in the fall through early winter. Bareroot bushes are usually available for springtime planting. Plant either one in the corresponding time it is available.
Can I grow Raspberries from seed?
To grow raspberries from seeds, you will have to have a lot of patience. Raspberry seeds need a whole season of cold temperature to be able to germinate. Sow them in seed-starting cells and place them outdoors or in an unheated garage for the whole winter. They will germinate once the temperature starts reaching above 55F (12C). Treat the seedling like you would any other seedling by keeping them in a well-lit area and well-watered.
With that said, keep in mind that raspberry plant grown from seed will take up to 18 months before producing.
Choosing the right Raspberry variety for your area
Before planting anything in your land, always do your homework and research to find the right variety for your specific region. Plants come in different cultivars so do raspberries. Dorman Red is the most reliable raspberry cultivar for Central Texas with a little attention.
How to plant raspberry?
Early spring planting: If you got a bare root raspberry plant, you should plant in late winter early spring. Follow these steps:
- Remove the root ball from the bag and shake off the excess soil.
- Place it in a water-filled bucket to rehydrate the roots for a few hours.
- Dig the planting hole slightly bigger than the root ball.
- Place the plant in a way the roots would flare-up.
- Avoid coiling any long roots, cut them shorter instead.
- Backfill the hole with native soil, pressing gently as you add it to remove any air pockets.
- Firm the soil around the cane to stabilize it, then cut it back to one to two feet above the ground.
- Water thoroughly.
Fall planting: Potted trees and shrubs are available in the fall, and that’s the time you should be planting them. Follow the same steps as the bare roots except for step 2.
Raspberries need good quality, healthy, and well-draining soil. Avoid planting them in heavy clay soil as it affects their growth and production. Amend the planting site with a lot of organic compost to improve its texture and balance its drainage.
Raspberries grow best in full sun site, which means no less than 7 hours. However, in Texas the heat of the summer sun is quite brutal so a little shade will be appreciated.
Dorman Red is the variety that is adapted to the central Texas climate. It is considered drought and heat tolerant once established. Water your newly planted canes once a week or so for the first year. After that, your plant will take care of itself unless the area is going through a severe drought.
If you prepare the soil well at planting, you will not need much fertilization. Mulch and add compost yearly to enrich the soil, and that will be enough for Raspberries.
Support your Raspberry canes
Raspberries have a wild growth pattern and their stems are not as sturdy. Support is necessary to keep the raspberry neat and tidy. The following picture demonstrates the adapted raspberry trellis.
The self-pollinating blooms start showing up in early spring, and it takes two to three weeks for the fruit to ripen. Raspberry production will be humble in the first years, but it will be more generous through the years.
At the end of the season, and once production comes to an end, it is important to prune your raspberry patch. This usually takes place in the fall. However, you need to know that you should only cut back old canes that have already fruited for the year. If you cannot recall which canes are old, you can identify them by their darker color compared to the new canes.
Propagation of raspberry plants
Raspberry branches are root themselves easily as soon as they touch the ground. They also send new sprouts around the mother cane, which can easily be uprooted and transplanted elsewhere. This is one of the cons of growing raspberries, as it can take over the garden if not kept under control.
Nutritional value raspberry plant
Raspberries are low in calories but high in fiber and Vitamin C. They make a great treat for dieters. According to healthine.com, they may also contain anti-aging, anti-cancer properties.
Raspberry leaves also have medicinal properties and can substitute black tea. Raspberry leaf tea should become a household staple. It helps relieve menstrual discomfort and diarrhea.
How to make raspberry leaf tea?
Harvest new leaves early in the season before the fruits appear. New leaves are tastier than old ones. Wash them well, and air dry them on a rack or use a dehydrator.
- Take one ounce of dry leaves or a handful of fresh leaves.
- Pour a pint of hot water over them.
- Cover and allow to steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Strain and enjoy with a little honey.