While it is probably not the best time of year for it, I did do some rescue work on our raspberry plants yesterday. They were not in the best of condition having suffered terribly with the hot weather at the start of last week.
There were plenty of dead leaves, not to mention last year’s dead canes which still needed cutting out. The soil level was sinking rapidly and the plants hadn’t been fed in ages. However unlike the fruit trees, and precisely because the plants were too stressed to be bearing fruit, the rain made a positive change to the plants encouraging new shoots at the base of the canes.
Having removed what was left of the mulch on the top of the bed I stuck a whole lot of compost into the container. I tried as far as possible to keep it off the new stems so they wouldn’t rot. I also left a lot of the dead leaves on the plants as there were plenty of new shoots in the leaf axils and I figured that the old leaves would provide some protection for them if we get some more hot spells.
The raspberry container happens to be our old house oil tank cut in half, thoroughly cleaned out and stuck on castors so we can wheel it around. Our other raspberry plant lives (well gets along) in a styrofoam box. Most of the soil appeared, Elvis-like, to have left the container so the soil depth was restricted to only what the roots were hanging on to.
This plant got, in addition to a layer of compost in the bottom of its new box, some more potting mix and a further layer of compost and sugarcane mulch on top for good measure.
In the past I have pruned our raspberries in late winter and it turned out rather badly for fruit production that year, as it subsequently became clear that I was unable to tell apart the dead canes and the second year canes on which the fruit grows on. At least pruning at this time of year even I can tell what is dead.
A good mulch over the top and hopefully we might even encourage the plants enough to produce some more fruit for us a bit alter in the season.