Fruitless raspberry plants

Credit: Juhanson

Q: We have had our raspberry plants for probably 8 years now. They grow very well and thought this year they would be even better as our watering system was improved. We added great compost too. The plants were wonderful, but we had next to no berries. My girlfriend said they should have produced mountains of berries and that we should pull them out and start again. What are your thoughts?

Thank you for your question, my suggestion is not to worry and not to pull them all out just yet. It may be that your plants have past peak production and do need to start being replaced with younger plants, however it may just be that they were too comfortable with the extra water and compost, therefore felt no stress and didn’t fruit. A recent letter from another reader indicated her plants were 15 years old and still productive, although research shows 10 to 12 years is usually the maximum age for a productive plant.

Be sure to prune as usual, topdress with one inch of fresh grass clippings come early spring and hope for a BIG crop. To be on the safe side, plant a few new plants next spring and begin rejuvenating your stock.