I’m relatively new to fruit growing so I may well be asking some stupid questions but here goes.
I’ve got several types of raspberries. They were growing well until out neighbour sprayed the weeds close to our fence (and raspberries) with Glyphosate. It killed all the plants. As we are organic, I removed most of the top soil and dead plants and put in new top soil but not with much humus. I’ve replaced the plants with several varieties. Over the six or seven years since, none of the varieties reach anything like the size we had.
Each year I’ve added compost, some ericaseous compost, and have tried different plants given to me by friends. We get some fruit but very little. Often on some plants the leaves go yellow and die. Some cuttings I gave to my next door neighbour before the spraying, are flourishing. I’ve dug up a few and the root system is very small.
We are in south west France, hot dry summers and short but can be cold winters.
What am I doing wrong?
The issue is definitely in the soil. Raspberries do the best on the soil with decent amount of organics. They love thick(several inches) layer of organics added every year. It doesn’t have to be a real compost - half rotten straw bails, shredded leaves, all that is a good staff.) It also makes sense to check the acidity of your soil - it has to be between 5.5 and 6.5. Also, on the poor sandy soil raspberries could suffer from lack of water. And the last, it could be the soil itself. It my have something in it that suppress the plants. To exclude this possibility, take a pot of that soil and seed lettuce in it. Also seed another pot with the soil from “good” portion of your yard. If you see that the second one grows much better than first one, send your soil for chemical analysis. Good luck!
The biggest killer of raspberry patches is viruses. I would grow something else there and try a patch somewhere else. Use only new plants from nurseries. The plants given to you could have been infected. Borers too can decline a patch. I would do the lettuce test as suggested just to eliminate the soil. For me Glyphosate. is the only safe herbicide. It breaks down quickly. The broken down chemicals can persist but they will not kill plants. Other herbicides last a long time, even years and are unsafe around a garden. I’m fairly certain Glyphosate. has nothing to do with your problem.
Many thanks. I’ll try the thick layer of organics at the end of this season, and see how they do next year. I’ll also check the acidity but expect it to be well on the alkaline side. Thanks again.
Drew, thanks for the advice. I agree that Glyphosate probably has nothing to do with the issue. However, having done a lot of research, I think there is sufficient evidence, excluding all the Monsanto directly and indirectly funded studies, to say that Glyphosate poisons the soil.
I think you are on the right track that your replacement soil is the issue. My raspberry patch has sort of gotten shorter and shorter over the last few years as I’ve neglected building up the organics and fertility in the soil. I started it out with about half composted manure and it grew great, but even with a mulch of wood chips each year that breaks down slowly to build the soil, I think they still need some more nitrogen and other elements to keep growing the way they did in those first glory years.
There are many soil bacteria’s that help breakdown glyphosate and maybe you could move your compost over to that area for a year or two to help fix the soil and reinvigorate the organic matter.
I also think you should move your raspberry patch, possibly temporarily and possibly buy some of the new higher yielding and higher antioxidant raspberry varieties that you guys in europe have? They sound amazing. Beneficial nematodes or BTG (bacillus thuringesis galleria) can help with the borer (i wonder if milky spore affects raspberry borer?). I think raspberries are okay with alkaline soil (since they do well for me) but more organic matter should help improve growth, yield and flavour.
Do you feed your soil food compost? A soil test is always a great idea. My raspberries also developed an issue in one part of my yard and that happened to be the part where the old neighbor had glyphosated and i saw plant damage. I brought my neighbor over and showed him and we made a deal that i would keep the weeds off the fence and he would make that area a hammock and flower bed for bees and butterflies so that worked out real good, and for whatever reason that was the patch that got raspberry borer and i also had growth issues with. Treating for the borers (BTG and nematodes) did the most but also watering in compost tea and amending the soil has helped it the last two years. I also treated my other raspberry patches which i never really saw them move into (The area that got them gets more sun and is less clay)
I feel if it’s real bad then ban it. Don’t expect the consumer to not use it, they will.
Thanks. Great help. Interestingly, I too brought my neighbour around and we now have a deal. I keep the weeds off his electric fence, and he doesn’t spray the weeds. And thankfully, he now has cows so its all grass and the worst he does is fertiliser and no Glyphosate!