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Raspberry (Purple)

Purple raspberry
Edible fruit, Perennials

For ornamental species, see Rubus; see separate listings for black raspberries and red raspberries. The plants described here are grown for their luscious fruit. Purple raspberries are hybrids between black and red types, bearing clusters of white flowers in spring.

Raspberries grow from perennial roots that produce thorny biennial stems called canes. Generally, raspberry canes grow to full size in the first year, then bear fruit in their second summer. Canes die after fruiting in the second year.

For raspberry fruit to reach perfection, plants need winter chill and a lingering springtime with slowly warming temperatures. In warmer zones outside best raspberry climates, satisfactory production may come from plants grown in light shade, mulched heavily to keep soil cool. Good drainage is essential; if you garden in heavy clay, consider planting in raised beds. Rich, slightly acid soil (pH 6 to 6. 5) is ideal. Avoid planting where you have previously grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplants, which may have tainted the soil with verticillium wilt.

Plant bare-root stock during the dormant season. Set purple raspberries in slightly raised mounds 2–3 ft. apart, in rows 6–8 ft. apart; they will develop into clumps of canes. Cut back the cane that rises from the root, leaving only enough (about 6 in. ) to serve as a marker. Mulch plantings to discourage weeds and keep soil moist. Water need is greatest during flowering and fruiting. Feed at bloom time.

Purple raspberries are produced on clump-forming plants with arching canes. No support is needed. In the first summer, force branching by heading back new canes of purple varieties to 2 1/2 ft. If you prefer trellising, cut purple ones to 2 1/2–3 ft. In late dormant season, remove all weak or broken canes. Leave six to eight canes in a hill or spaced 6–8 in. apart in a row. Shorten the side branches to 12–14 in. The side branches will bear fruit in summer. After harvest, cut to the ground all canes that have fruited and cut back all new canes as described for first summer's growth.

To control anthracnose and other fungal diseases on all raspberries, spray with lime sulfur during dormancy and again as leaf buds begin to open; this also helps control many insect pests, including spider mites and cane borer. If borers attack, prune out and destroy damaged canes below entry points (pinhead-size holes at or near ground level).

Purple varieties.

'Brandywine'. Large purple berries. Tart; good for jams, jellies. Ripens late.

'Sodus'. Large purple berries with a white bloom; rich flavored, excellent in pies. Vigorous plant.

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