Raspberries are a favorite in many gardens. They belong to a large group of fruits known as brambles, which is known as the genus Rubus. Gardeners love them because they are easy to cultivate. However, they still need some care to keep them healthy.
One easy little thing you can do to help raspberries grow faster and healthier is to mulch around the plants. Applying a simple layer of mulch will help raspberries grow vigorously and need no support or much attention throughout the summer.
There are a number of different types of mulch available, and it’s important to choose one that is appropriate for your raspberry plants and garden.
As a rule of thumb, try to avoid mulch with plastic. Plastic can be harmful to your plants. But worse than this, plastic mulch does not degrade very well in nature. So best to stay away from it.
Obviously, there are many different mulches that can be used to cover plants, but which one is best for raspberries?
This question can be difficult to answer because there are so many factors to consider.
Basically, you should think about what kind of soil your raspberry plants are growing in, the climate where you plan on growing them, and the type of mulch you choose.
Below, we provide a list of 5 mulches we tested to help you choose the best mulch for your raspberries.
But before we go and present these 5 mulches, we provide you with why, and how to mulch as well as how to grow raspberries.
We will also go to the extent of including some other critically important points for you to harvest the best and tastiest raspberries ever.
Why cultivate raspberries?
One of the most popular fruits in the world is raspberry.
Raspberries are consumed for their tart flavor, nutritional value, and various health benefits.
Raspberries are a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and minerals.
This is why one would want to cultivate the berry, as it is really good for your diet, but also it is a joy to be able to eat your own homegrown fruit.
What are the main categories of raspberries?
There are two main categories of raspberry plants. These are:
- Summer Bearing
- Everbearing raspberries
How many types of raspberry plants are there?
There are mainly three main types of raspberry that can be easily grown in your garden. These can be differentiated by color and they come in red, black, and purple.
Note that you can find yellow raspberries. However, these are not a new type, they are simply red raspberries that don’t make any red pigment.
What are the best raspberry varieties for taste?
You can find 5 main varieties of raspberries within the summer-bearing category. These are:
- Cascade Delight
- Summer Bearing Boyne
- Raspberry Shortcake
The Everbearing category has a lot more raspberry varieties to offer with the main 8 defined below:
- Fall Gold
- Dorman Red
- Joan J
Do Raspberry Bushes Have Thorns?
Maybe you are scared to go ahead and plant some raspberries in your garden because you hear that these have thorns.
So let me clear this one out. Yes, raspberry bushes do have thorns.
However, they are not as sharp as those on a rose bush.
In fact, the thorns are more like tiny spikes that are not very noticeable.
Raspberry bushes are typically grown for their sweet fruit, not their thorns.
How much water do raspberries need?
Experts are clear about this. You need to water raspberries during the day. And they are also clear about the quantity of water to use. Each week, you must plan about 1 to 2 inches of water for each plant.
However, this increases during the growing season to reach 4 inches per week.
Gardeners have a little secret to reveal. Raspberries have shallow roots. This means that the roots are in the top 2 feet of soil and this is why they need so much water. But by putting some layer of mulch in early spring, which will also act as compost and fertilize your root system, you can reduce a bit the weekly water irrigation requirement.
Raspberry Problems and Control
Raspberries are a perennial plant that can be grown in many different climates. However, raspberry plants can be susceptible to several different problems.
One of the most common raspberry problems is powdery mildew. This fungal disease can cause leaves to become covered in a white powdery substance.
Powdery mildew can stunt the growth of plants and reduce yields. The best way to control powdery mildew is by using fungicides such as sulfur or copper sulfate. Note you need to use this sulfur and copper sulfate in moderation.
Another common raspberry problem is cane blight. This fungus causes leaves on the canes to turn brown and die. Infected canes will also wilt and collapse. Again the above sulfate can help in curing the cane blight.
It is known that one of the most common pests of raspberries is the blackberry louse. It is a small, dark insect that feeds on the leaves and fruit. If left unchecked, it can cause extensive damage to the plants.
There is an easy way to control blackberry lice/louse. And this way is using a natural solution. Just release beneficial insects such as lacewings or ladybugs into your raspberry patch; these predators will feed on the lice.
You can find these ladybugs at your local insect shop. I do not like this, but you can also use natural or chemical insecticides to kill the lice.
So, if you want to avoid the above problems, then you need to monitor the plants closely.
You also need to take the above steps to control any problems that arise. At the end of the day, monitoring raspberry plants is a very easy process. So, do not hesitate and plant some to enjoy the harvesting.
Why mulch your raspberries?
Mulching your raspberry plants is a great way to protect them from the heat and sun, while also keeping the weeds at bay.
There are many different materials you can use as a mulch, but in general, you want to use something that will hold in moisture and will not rot easily.
Straw is a good option, as are pine needles or leaves.
You can also use plastic sheeting (I hate these as they do not decompose naturally and leave some bad plastic parts in your soil), but make sure to leave room for air circulation.
How to Mulch Around Raspberries?
It is very simple to mulch raspberries. You just need to apply the mulch around the plants. That’s it really.
However, the quantity is also important. Many will lay about 2 to 4 inches of mulch.
Note that you need to make sure you keep it away from the stems. This is because the mulch may burn the stem if in direct contact.
Another important point is that you should continue to add new mulch as it breaks down throughout the season.
What Is The Best Mulch For Raspberry Bushes?
I get this question quite a lot: What Kind Of Mulch Is Best For Raspberries?
Below are the 5 top mulches for raspberries you can find on the market. We tested them and they are really good for growing raspberries.
- #1. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch For Raspberries
- #2. Scotts Nature Scapes Color Enhanced Red Mulch
- #3. Espoma Organic Peat Moss For Raspberries
- #4. Pine Bark Mulch in bags to protect plant roots
- #5. USA Pine Straw Needle Mulch For Raspberries
#1. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch For Raspberries
It is our top pick for the best mulch for raspberries because it offers the best combination of coverage, performance, and price.
I have to say that it spreads nicely and is easy to use.
It does not fly everywhere due to the amazing bonding agent which holds it in place.
Also, it is professionally processed and does a great job of not collecting dirt or too much dust.
The straw also does the things a traditional mulch does like increase soil water retention and keeps the weeds out. And best of all, it greatly increases germination speeds.
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to get your raspberry patch started, look no further than EZ-straw seeding mulch.
How to use the EZ-straw seeding mulch?
This handy product consists of a roll of paper straws that you unroll over the spot where you want your raspberries to grow.
Then, you simply sow your raspberry seeds into the straws and wait for them to sprout.
Not only is this method quick and easy, but it also helps keep the soil moisture levels consistent, which is crucial for raspberry growth.
As such, the EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch is a very popular choice if you are looking for the best mulch for raspberries.
In essence, straw is a very common ingredient used for growing lush strawberries.
It is nice to know that this is the premium processed straw that is held together with a bonding agent, which ensures that it doesn’t just fly all over the place when there’s bad weather.
While it is meant for grass seed, we know that it works really well with raspberries as well as other fruits. It clearly does a great job of increasing the germination speed of raspberries.
And with this mulch, you can easily get away with not watering for a long time because it just holds so much water. Furthermore, it does a great job of keeping the weeds out.
#2. Scotts Nature Scapes Color Enhanced Red Mulch
The mulch is great at preventing water loss, suppressing weeds, and enriching the soil.
The red color is attractive to butterflies and other pollinators, and the mulch will last for several months, making it a great value for your garden.
This is why this mulch is our next recommendation. In the Scotts Nature Scapes, we find it works really nicely if you want something that not only performs well but also looks nice for a long time.
This is definitely the best mulch for raspberries if you are also going for style points and generally work much better after the raspberries have germinated.
It does a tremendous job of preventing and blocking the growth of weeds as well as retaining vital soil moisture and nutrients.
And it does so better than the EZ-Straw mentioned above. However, the trade-off is that it is just not nearly as good at the initial stages of raspberry growth as straw or pine mulch, which tend to speed up germination.
#3. Espoma Organic Peat Moss For Raspberries
Their Organic Peat Moss is specially designed to meet the needs of these finicky fruit-bearing plants.
It’s high in organic matter and low in pH, making it the perfect choice for those who want to grow their raspberries organically.
Overall, the Espoma Organic Peat Moss is another user favorite for those who want the best mulch for raspberries. Peat moss is great at improving aeration and drainage in the soil.
We really like this peat moss mulch brand because it is made by a berry reputable company that definitely knows a bit about what they are doing. They have excellent quality control.
So in other words, they are very consistent in quality and each batch is incredibly fresh without any extra junk or filler mixed in.
We can’t say this is true with other brands that also produce peat moss. Lastly, a really nice talking point is that it definitely helps root growth and
#4. Pine Bark Mulch wood chip to protect plant roots
Mulching is an easy way to improve your soil while adding beauty to your landscape. There are many types of mulch to choose from, but pine bark mulch is a popular choice for many gardeners because it’s not only attractive to the eye but has many benefits for your garden too.
So, if you are looking for an environmentally friendly and sustainable mulch option, pine bark wood chip mulch is a great choice.
Note that when you are planting raspberry bushes, you will want to use this type of wood chip to protect the roots.
The mulch will help to keep the soil cool and moist, and it will also help to prevent the growth of weeds. You can purchase pine bark mulch in bags at most garden stores, or you can order it online (see link below).
Made from the bark of pine trees, this mulch is 100% natural and biodegradable.
Just put about 2 to 3 inches of this mulch around your plants.
It so happens that bark looks pretty nice too and the brown/blackish color stays on for a pretty long time, which means that you just have to spend a lot less time managing it.
#5. USA Pine Straw Needle Mulch For Raspberries
If you’re looking for an organic mulch for your raspberry plants, look no further than pine straw needle mulch. A great choice for hot climates, pine straw needle mulch helps keep the soil cool and moist.
It also releases nitrogen into the soil as it decomposes, providing nutrients to your raspberry plants.
Best of all, pine straw needle mulch is a natural weed suppressor, so you won’t have to worry about pesky weeds taking over your raspberry bed.
This really is our final recommendation. The USA Pine Straw Needle Mulch is certainly a really nice premium mulch that will expedite the germination of raspberry seeds.
This is an excellent mulch that works just as well as the EZ-Straw mulch mentioned above. It enriches the soil and definitely helps out a lot with weed control.
While it is pretty affordable and cheap for pine straw, our single biggest complaint is that it is unprocessed and not nearly as refined as the EZ-Straw brand. But that is not such a big problem.
It also doesn’t stick to the ground as well. Furthermore, this pine straw is quite a bit longer and a bit harder to lay out and install properly.
You may even have to break it up yourself a bit. But if you can put in the work, it works great.
How can I propagate and grow raspberry plants myself?
Propagating raspberry plants is a relatively easy process that can be done at home with a few simple tools.
One of the most common methods for propagating raspberry plants is by taking stem cuttings from young, healthy plants.
First, cut a section of stem about six inches long from a healthy plant and remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting. Next, dip the cutting in water and then into a rooting hormone powder before planting it in moist soil.
The cutting should be buried so that only the top two or three leaves are sticking out of the soil.
Keep the soil moist but not wet and wait for new shoots to grow before transplanting them into their permanent home.
And don’t forget to use one of the above mulches when planting raspberries. You’ll achieve much better and faster results.
Video showing how to plant and grow raspberries
Here is how to plant rows of raspberries with their trellis. A simple method shared by the University of Minesota.
What are primocanes and floricanes?
The main difference between primocanes and floricanes is their “age” or the stage of development the branch is in.
Primocanes are the first canes to grow each year. They typically have thin, green stems and produce few berries. Primocanes usually become floricanes at the end of the summer. They are known as the second canes to grow and are brown in color. They typically have thicker, red stems and produce more berries. The terms “primocane” and “floricane” are used most often when referring to raspberries, but they can also be applied to other brambles such as blackberries and dewberries.
Can sawdust be used for mulch around raspberry plants?
It all depends on the quantity used for mulching around your raspberry plant. Using a small dose of sawdust from nontoxic wood sources may help maintain the slightly acidic environment enjoyed by raspberries. However, a heavy coating of the material at ground level around the plant would likely threaten the health of your raspberries. This is due to nitrogen depletion caused by the rapid decomposition of sawdust.
When to water my raspberries?
Raspberry plants need about 1 inch of water per week. If there is natural rainfall, you can skip watering for that week. During hot weather, you may need to water more often (like twice a week but in moderate quantities. When you plant new canes, you should water these deeply twice a week for the first month, then once a week for the next two months. After that, they should get enough water from rainfall. Watch for signs of root rot, such as wilting leaves and reddish-brown roots. If you see these symptoms, stop watering and consult with a local plant nursery or gardening shop. Note that laying mulch will reduce weeds that compete for water and nutrients with your flowers and fruit plants.
When to prune my raspberries?
Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. Remove any dead or damaged canes, and cut back healthy canes to 6-12 inches. Apply a fertilizer such as fish emulsion or compost tea around the base of the plants after pruning. And do not forget to add some mulch on top of the fertilizer.
How do I manage pests and diseases in raspberries?
Managing pests and diseases is important for a healthy raspberry patch. Insects and diseases can lead to winter injury (frozen roots), and potential for root rot. To help manage these problems, keep the raspberry patch free of weeds and debris, water regularly (not in winter but in summer), and fertilize in early to late spring. Apply a mulch that avoids and repels insects. Obviously, if you see some dangerous insects or disease damage is noticed, take corrective action immediately. In these cases, speak to a local gardening center. They direct you wisely to a nice solution to cure the disease and reduce bad pets. Note that there are good pets and insects that you should not target. This is true for red and yellow raspberries as well as black and purple raspberries.
In conclusion, there are many different types of mulch that can be used for raspberry plants.
Choosing the right mulch for raspberry bushes is important for their overall health and yield. EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch, Scotts Nature Scapes Color Enhanced Red Mulch, Espoma Organic Peat Moss, Pine Bark Mulch in bags, and USA Pine straw needle are all great mulching options that can be used to improve the growth and production of raspberry bushes.
However, and as I said it, the best mulch for raspberry plants will depend on the climate, the type of soil, and the preferences of the gardener.
We feel, after experimenting with so many of the different mulches throughout the years that pine straw needle is the best mulch for raspberry plants for a few reasons. It is affordable, readily available, and easy to use. But what has also made us make this conclusion is that these straws help keep the soil cool and moist, which is ideal for raspberry plants.
Overall, if you are looking for an easy and affordable way to improve your raspberry plants’ growth and yield, the pine straw needle is the mulch for you.
Another important point, and to be honest, I stand by saying that you need to stay away from non-organic mulch.
Plastic and inorganic mulches are not good for your garden, so why even bother with these. Stay with organic mulch and you’ll get zero bad surprises.