Deer and raspberries

A question for those growers in the deer-infested suburbs (and elsewhere):

Do deer bother your raspberries much? Do they eat the plants?

I pick black raspberries from the edge of a trail about 1/2 mile from my house, so I feel like they must leave them alone some. But my deer really love to eat the flower buds off of my roses, so they aren’t adverse to a few thorns. They do not, however, eat any rose stems.

What are the best early red and black raspberries? Last year I picked wild black raspberries without SWD in them at the end of June, but the red raspberries later in July I got from someone were just crawling with SWD larvae. (eww!)

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My experience (McKinleyville, CA): 14 foot fence.

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I have black raspberries in my yard that are in the immediate path of the deer family that circles my house. They occasionally munch a few leaves and buds, but mostly ignore them. Now birds are another problem!

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I have grown many, but so many out there! I can say Prelude is the earliest I have seen. Berries are a little tart, very firm, and good enough to be a keeper for me. Also the plant is by far the most vigorous raspberry I have seen. It consistently produces crops year after year. Another early and decent producer is Himbo Top. Berries are more of the sub-acid type, not tart compared to Prelude. Prelude does better in full sun, and Himbo Top likes some shade. These are my observations. Prelude is a summer bearer, well it’s main crop is summer with some fall production. Himbo Top is fall bearing, so you have to prune for a summer crop to get the early summer berries.It produces a large summer crop. Some fall bearers are poor summer performers, this one is not. Most blacks are early, Allen is late, but most are before the reds.
All I got!

Most of my raspberries are inside of a deer proof fence, however, I’ve let quite a few grow outside the fence (I call them my bonus berries) I have a sizeable local deer population and my experience has been the same as Kelby, just a little harmless munching on some new shoots. I don’t think they like the roughness of raspberries, there is a lot of other forage they prefer.

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I’ve got 87 acres that I manage for deer and deer hunting. Wild black and red raspberries do just fine here. My domestic berries are unfenced and they too do very well. Deer eat more leaves in the fall than they do fruit in the summer. Bears, raccoons, and birds…now that’s another story.

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Does Prelude have spiny canes or does it have fewer spines? That sounds like one I’d go for. I’m going early to beat the darn SWD. Looking through some of the more modern red varieties, it looks like quite a few don’t have many thorns. I say the more thorns the better for deer deterrence.

I would say out of the 8 varieties I have, Prelude and Anne Yellow are the smoothest. They are both quite early as well

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No it doesn’t have many spines. I agree the modern cultivars are not spiny, and yellows are not either.

I looked at my garden journal and the first raspberry was Himbo Top on June 16th. Prelude is soon after, a day or two.I have sweet and tart cherries in June too.

Hmm… Himbo Top could be good then too. My wife loves red raspberries, so I’d be mostly planting them for her. The sweeter berry of Himbo Top would probably make her more happy. It would work well in the location I have left since the spot gets AM shade. And the modern phytophthora resistance of those two is good since pretty much all of my back yard is on the wetter side.

Odd to me that brambles would want anything other than shade. Many of the wild patches I know about are on the edge of timber with an easterly exposure. I suppose they are much more productive in full sun though.

You know each cultivar is different. I have some in full sun, and they are suffering, others are happy. One of my favorites, Cascade Gold, a summer bearer. It produces a solid yellow color berry, not translucent like most, and it has pink streaks when fully ripe. A very firm berry too. It’s in full sun and not very productive. It could be the dryness of the full sun too. In a raised bed so drys even quicker. I think Cascade Gold is the best tasting raspberry of all of them. But that is super subjective.

Back to Himbo, it has just about no spines, a spineless wonder! I want to add that it is a low acid berry, but flavor is good, not excellent.

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I like Prelude. And yes, the deer will eat them (leaves and stems more so than fruit). It is not their favorite food, but in harder times they will eat the plants back.


Anyone have thoughts on Boyne? I might order 2 or 3 each of Boyne and Prelude. The ISU Extension fruit cultivar list for Iowa lists Boyne as a recommended cultivar, and comments on its “erect, sturdy, and spiny canes”. Sounds like a anti-deer winner to me!