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Don't blow your raspberries! Take care cutting them back this autumn
(image: https://premiumspores.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Z-Strain-Mushroom-Spores-1.jpg)Summer-fruiting raspberries have now well and truly finished but this is the perfect moment to prune them, just as the autumn-fruiting varieties are hitting their maximum production. It's been a really good year for raspberries with masses of delicious fruits.
But then a good raspberry is always delicious, and even a moderate one knocks any strawberry into a cocked hat.In order to ensure decent raspberries next year it is really important to know whether they are summer or autumn varieties - and that can be a bit confusing because they do overlap by a few weeks around the end of July. (image: data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7) (image: ) Monty always likes tidying up his Raspberry plot after a summer's harvestSummer ones always start to produce their fruit first - usually in mid-June - and will always have finished doing so by September, whereas autumn ones can go on making new berries well into November in a mild autumn.<div class="art-ins mol-factbox floatRHS sport" website ASK MONTY... Q My fuchsias have developed rust, having had persistent whitefly.
Please help!Mrs C Levitt, WarwickshireA Rust can cause fuchsia foliage to yellow and fall which in turn weakens the plant - and is probably why your whitefly has been so persistent. Rust is a fungus hosted by willowherbs and fir trees, and if you have either in your garden they're likely to infect your fuchsias.
The spores don't overwinter on fuchsias but infection of the leaves can be present all year on indoor fuchsias. Remove affected leaves and feed well to build up resistance.Q All the fruit has disappeared from my damson tree.
Any idea why?Lin Harris, StaffordshireA This sounds like brown rot.
Many plums (and damsons are a native form of plum) have suffered in this way, due to the very wet winter. Brown rot is caused by two forms of the fungus Monilinia. It is unusual for the fruit to ‘disappear' and I suspect that some mummified fruit may still be on the tree.
Avoid pruning as fungus enters via wounds, and burn fallen fruits and leaves.Q The branches of my Victoria plum are spindly and droop under the weight of plums.
What can I do?Meirion Lewis, WorcestershireA In light of the many letters I've had about plums with brown rot or worse, I think this is a problem we might all like to have! Prop up fruit-laden branches with temporary support.
Don't prune plums as this encourages weak new shoots and wounds that are vulnerable to bleeding and infection.Write to Monty Don at Weekend, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London, W8 5TT or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include your full name and address. We regret Monty can't reply to letters personally. adverts.addToArray("pos":"mpu_factbox")Advertisement
I grow three summer-fruiting varieties: ‘Malling Jewel', an old-fashioned variety with large fruits and more modest growth, and ‘Glen Ample' and ‘Glen Moy', which have smaller but more abundant fruits and no prickles on their very vigorous stems, or canes, which makes pruning and picking much easier.
My own autumn raspberries are ‘Autumn Bliss' and the yellow ‘Golden Everest'. Both are very prolific and delicious.Summer-fruiting raspberries carry their fruit on the canes that grew the previous summer - so all the fresh growth made this year will crop next June.
Autumn-fruiting types fruit on new growth, so should be cut back to the ground every year when their leaves have fallen, however do that to the summer types and you will have no fruit!I always enjoy pruning summer raspberries as it dramatically tidies them up, making them ship-shape and ready for the following season. There is a real satisfaction in a job that has a distinct before and after.
It is a job to do in stages. First, the brown canes that bore that summer's fruit can be cut down to the ground, leaving the fresh new canes standing (and a good reason to do this soon is so that the new - green - canes do not start to brown and become difficult to distinguish from the old ones).
These will carry next summer's crop. Then reduce the canes from each plant to a maximum of five strong, straight growths, cutting any others to ground level.Finally the canes that remain need holding secure for the coming year.
This means that summer raspberries - unlike autumn types which merely need a temporary support of canes and string, much like broad beans - are best grown against a permanent system of support. A wall, fence with wires or a trellis will do, although I think a freestanding line of at least two wires held up by strong posts is better as it enables you to pick on both sides and keeps the fruit well ventilated.I tie the raspberry canes to the wires with twine, making sure that they are really secure as winter winds can catch and damage them.
The end result will look beautifully neat and trained, and they then need no more attention other than a generous mulch in the spring. The autumn-fruiting varieties should be mulched at the same time,This mulch should not be mushroom spores syringes compost because raspberries much prefer slightly acidic conditions and mushroom compost is made with added lime, so therefore inclines to be alkaline.
Garden compost is ideal but any organic matter will do as long as it is really generous so that the roots remain cool and damp. Raspberry roots are rather shallow so hoeing is likely to damage them and a thick mulch is by far the best way to deal with any potential weeds.
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