Raspberries under Shadecloth

I’m usually a believer in tough love, not babying our plants and only tolerating those that can take the heat. But my wife loves raspberries, and we have had several years of failure, the plants wilting and burning in our blast furnace heat.

This year I put up two lengths of shade cloth (don’t remember the percentage, whatever Lowes had pre-cut in rolls), and now the brambles are putting out ten times the harvest we used to get, with excellent quality. We have about six varieties (whatever Gurney’s or Parks recommended for the heat) and they are all doing well. I’m going to put some shadecloth over some struggling blueberry bushes next spring to see it that helps them.

Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. Raspberries are horrible in the store here, and aren’t exactly cheap either. Now we get excellent ones every morning for her cereal; maybe there’s a pie in the future.

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I think with your climate issues some rigging to ensure the harvest is justified. Especially if it works.

Even here I planted mine to get some midday shade from the pool wall, too many stories about scorched white drupes.

I’m glad to hear that is working for you. I, too, love raspberries, and have tried several times to grow them here without having them survive the summer. This year I did succeed by planting them in an area where they are shaded by tall deciduous trees to their south and west most of the day, and shaded from the east by an ugly stand of polk weed for now, and will eventually have summer shading by fuzzy kiwis in front of them.

I’ve considered aluminized shade cloth for some things, and the possibility of overhead misting for the raspberries - not to spray on them, but at an angle to cool the air. That’s not a practical idea for areas in water crisis.

Have you overwintered any there, yet? That’s the third raspberry challenge here - getting them properly chilled so that they will produce next year. Although we get enough actual chill hours, they alternate with warm intervals. I’ve read that raspberries require continuous chill in order to accumulate their necessary hours.

Blueberries are pretty carefree plants here. But our soil is acidic and it’s quite humid.

Even here, in NY, wild raspberries thrive best in partial shade. Best place to look for a wild black raspberry patch is in a wooded area that has been selectively logged a couple years before. Not only does it provide the perfect partial shade, the debris left on the ground help keeps the plants hidden and protected from would-be raiders. On the edge of fields, I find the best patches on the side facing east. Apparently they are morning sun lovers. Naturalized red raspberries seem to do better with a little more sun. I find them in places that are partially shaded, but with a little more exposure.

I wonder how commercial growers get them to grow in full sun. Are cultivated varieties more tolerant of full sun?

Muddymess, this bed is five years old. We look at summer the way northerners look at winter; things will go fine for a while and we’d be thinking that the plant is OK, then a stretch of really hot weather hits, and some plants survive it, and some don’t, almost like winter kill in reverse. Our chilling hours stink, but chilling hasn’t been an issue with any bramble or blueberry, they start out great in the spring and early summer heat, but then the 100+ heat hits and singes the leaves and burns the fruit, and they struggle until fall when they perk up again.

Blueberries need a ton of sulphur and organic amendments when planting here, and liberal amounts of ammonium sulphate afterwards, but are one of our most reliable crops. There is a commercial U-pick blueberry patch an hour from our house, they fertigate with acid to lower the pH. Sharpblue is the top performer, followed by Misty, Kabluey isn’t bad either but gets incinerated by the heat.


Shade cloth is a great idea in your area. Also try Bababerry, it grows well in shaded heat. I think it is hardy to 0F, but best check before purchase. The purple raspberry Mysore is a monster and is a tropical type. Native to Burma and India. It cannot take freezes.
I have been picking Cascade Gold the last few days. I think it is even better than Anne.

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Your Cascade Gold looks so delicious. They must taste different from the regular red varieties? Or the color make them more appealing? I have only the regular reds but never have this so no clue…


Walked into Fairway, they had dehydrated red raspberries $7 for a 2oz package! sheesh
Also noticed Rainer Cherries $9/lb

Yes, red with anthocyanins , which are good for you, but have a slightly bitter taste, so yellows are a bit sweeter. Still I think the yellow is a secondary Anthocyanin anyway. I have never seen white ones, but white blackberries exist. i grow two different ones. I also have a yellow black raspberry.

I have to try that sometime! I’m drying loads of basil today.

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Here was this morning’s pickings, a mixture of Anne, Bababerry, and a few who’s names I’ve forgotten. Before the shadecloth all the tops of them would have been burnt, and we’d get nothing after mid-June.


How do you rig up your shade cloth? We have been talking about it for our young plants.

I once read that surround will lower the temperature on the leaves by several degrees. I have always wondered if spraying surround on the plants would help them survive the summer. Of course you would not want to spray on the fruit since it be nearly impossible to get off. My raspberries have survived last summer and seem to be doing good this year. I have them with afternoon shade and in containers.

If you live in an arid climate like here in Colorado, skip the “needs full sun” advice. Plant in partial shade if you want them to survive. The wild raspberry species also prefer partial shade.