bare-root caning berries - raspberry, blackberry, logan berry and more
Raspberries and Blackberries are just about the easiest fruits to grow in Western Washington. Our damp springs and cool summers are ideal for producing heavy crops with minimum effort. This information sheet provides you with a list of varieties recommended by Swansons for performance in our Northwest climate, as well as basic advice on planting, care, and pruning. For more detailed information on varieties, please refer to individual plant signs or consult our nursery professionals.
CHOOSING THE PLANTS
CHOOSE YOUR VARIETIES from our recommended lists according to flavor or harvest time.
POLLINATION of caning berries is performed by bees. All are self-fertile so only one variety is necessary for successful yields.
TWO TYPES OF RASPBERRIES are listed: Ever bearing varieties fruit in June on last year’s canes and from August to September on the newly grown canes. Summer bearing varieties fruit heavily in June and July on last year’s canes.
SOIL PREPARATION & PLANTING
CHOOSE A LOCATION that receives full sun, in very well-drained acid soils rich in organic matter.
PREPARE THE SITE by digging in plenty of compost, well-rotted manure, or peat moss.
PROVIDE A STURDY TRELLIS OR SUPPORT for canes to train on if you want best yields and quality fruit. Refer to the list of resource material at the end of this information sheet for sources.
SPACE RASPBERRIES 2–3 feet apart in hedge-like rows 6–8 feet apart, or individually in hills.
SPACE BLACKBERRIES 5 feet apart in a row.
PLANT bare-root plants January–March with the crown of the plant just below the soil.
WATER the new plants thoroughly, even if it is raining.
WATERING & FERTILIZATION
WATER THE PLANTS deeply. These are fruits that perform best with supplemental irrigation in summer.
FERTILIZE with a well-balanced fertilizer in April and again in late June or early July. Even well established plants should be fertilized in this way.
PRUNING CANING BERRIES
It is best to pick off any fruit during the first season so the canes will have a chance to establish a strong root system.
SUMMER BEARING RASPBERRIES: After the last harvest of summer, remove the old fruiting canes at ground level. In March or April, remove all weak, diseased or damaged canes at ground level. Leave only the most vigorous canes and train these along your trellis or support. You can remove canes year round that have sprouted up away from where you want them to grow.
EVER BEARING RASPBERRIES: Most people simply prune these plants the same as summer bearing varieties and expect a crop in fall. If you wish, you can get two crops on ever bearing type raspberries: one in late spring/early summer and one in fall. Last year’s canes will fruit this year on the lower half of the canes. They then will fruit on the top half in fall. In winter, prune off the top portion of the canes once they have fruited in the fall. Next year, the unpruned bottom halves will fruit, and the tops will grow up and fruit again.
BLACKBERRIES: Berries form on two-year-old canes except for the new variety ‘Prime Ark 45’, which bears on first-year canes. Once a cane produces berries it dies. After the last harvest, remove old fruiting canes at ground level. The canes that have sprouted up this year will provide next season’s berries.
DISEASE & PEST CONTROL
FEW DISEASE OR PEST PROBLEMS plague caning berries in our climate if the plants are properly sited, given good drainage to prevent root fungus, and are watered to avoid drought stress. Birds are perhaps the biggest threat to the crop. Use bird netting to discourage them from eating fruit.
GOOD GARDEN HYGIENE is also important. Use sharp, clean pruners to prevent damage and the spread of disease from other plants. Cleaning up dead leaves beneath the plants in the early spring is also a good practice. This will help eliminate any diseases or pests which may have overwintered there.
swansons favorite raspberry varieties
EVER BEARING RASPBERRIES
Highbush varieties are the most common type of blueberries grown in the Northwest. They are the tallest growing types of blueberries (5–8 feet tall), and they yield large, classically flavored fruit.
AMITY: Medium-large, very firm, dark red berries and classic raspberry flavor. Excellent fresh, for canning, or freezing. Berries ripen in late August on first year canes and in June on second year canes.
CAROLINE: Large, dark red berries. Rich, full intense flavor. Excellent fresh, for canning or freezing. ‘Caroline’ is very productive and reliable. Berries ripen in late August on first year canes and in June on second year canes.
FALL GOLD: Large to very large, conical, non-crumbling, extremely sweet, soft, golden berries exceptional for fresh eating and processing. Vigorous, productive canes. Ripens on first year canes from August to frost.
SUMMER BEARING RASPBERRIES
TULAMEEN: Very large, firm, dark red berries with outstanding flavor. ‘Tulameen’ is now the standard raspberry for fresh eating that all other varieties are judged against.
BLACK RASPBERRIES Rubus occidentalis
MUNGER: Large, plump yet firm, shiny black berries that are not seedy. Munger has a delicious, sweet flavor that is excellent for jams, jellies, and preserves. It does not freeze as well as others. It ripens in mid-summer.
swansons favorite raspberry and blackberry hybrids
BOYSENBERRY Rubus x ‘Boysen’
Very large, 2-inch long, reddish black berries with a rich, tangy flavor and very aromatic. The ‘standard’ for preserves and pies, but also delicious fresh. Long, vigorous canes. This is a hybrid of a raspberry and blackberry.
MARIONBERRY ‘Chehalem’ x ‘Olallis’ Blackberry
Medium to large, sweet, bright, shiny black berries with firm flesh and a light wild blackberry flavor. Excellent for fresh eating, especially for desserts. High yields over a long picking period. Vigorous, thorny plants developed especially for the Pacific Northwest in Marion County, Oregon.
LOGANBERRY (Logan, Thornless Logan) Rubus x
An unintentional cross between a blackberry and a red raspberry by Judge J.H. Logan in the 1880s created this wonderful fruit. Many people prefer the flavor of this variety over all others. Large, light red berries that do not darken when ripe have a unique, tart flavor. Excellent for pies and, of course, loganberry wine. Thornless canes are a real plus.
TAYBERRY ‘Aurora’ Blackberry x triploid raspberry
This cross has very large, juicy, cone-shaped, deep purple fruit. Strong, slightly tart flavor like a loganberry. Great for jams, jellies, or wines. Huge yields ripen late season on prickly vines that are quite vigorous and require good support.
swansons favorite blackberry varieties
PRIME ARK 45 Rubus x ‘Prime Ark 45’
The next generation in blackberries! These huge berries have outstanding flavor and have been winning awards all across the country. ’Prime Ark 45’ has the unique ability to produce berries on first year canes! Eat them fresh, make them into jams or jellies, or use them in baked delights.
TRIPLE CROWN THORNLESS Rubus x ‘’Triple Crown Thornless’
Named for its three outstanding aributes, Flavor, Productivity, and Vigor, ‘Triple Crown’ has become the standard blackberry plant of most newly planted cane-berry farms. It has been known to yield up to 30lbs. of berries per vine in Oregon! Eat them fresh, use for jams or jellies, or add them to baked goodies.