Nothing beats stepping out into the garden and plucking a rich, ripe raspberry. But raspberries can be rascals and produce abundant suckers, known to the unwitting homeowner as "raspberry surprise!" This quick spread can often overrun a garden area or a yard or just get in the way, such as occupying space intended for a home addition. Or, perhaps a new home is on the horizon, and beloved raspberries must make the move, too. The optimum time to move raspberries is in the early fall or very early spring before the active growing season has begun. But these industrious plants can be moved out of season with adherence to the plant's peculiarities and some good horticultural practices.
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Know the Beast
Raspberries come in two types: summer-bearing and ever-bearing. Summer-bearing varieties usually produce fruit only once per year, usually in July. Ever-bearing varieties produce fruit in the early spring and then again in the fall. Fruit is produced on biennial canes, meaning that last year's vegetative growth is this year's fruit-bearing wood.
Scouting Out a New Location
Raspberries are sun-loving plants and do especially well in a south-facing location. They flourish with the basic essentials of adequate water, good air movement and protection from wind and frost injury. They are hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 3a to 8b and prefer daytime temperatures in the '70s F.
Preparing the Plant
Pruning is essential for good fruit production. Old canes that have borne fruit should be pruned or mowed down to 4- to 6-inch heights after a couple of frosts in early winter. So, if your plant has not been pruned, prune it before moving it, as you will sacrifice your crop of berries for this first season anyway.
Digging It Up
Dig around the plant carefully, and include a root ball of soil 1 1/2 times the estimated width of the root system. Dig plants in the evening after the sun is low and the heat of the day is over to reduce transplant stress.
Preparing the New Bed
Raspberry plants have shallow root systems, so plant them no deeper than their original depth. Be sure that the crown of the plant is above ground. Make the hole about 4 to 6 inches wider than the root ball. Add bonemeal, rotten wood, horse manure, or other rich composted material.
Place the plant into its new bed, and pack the soil in tightly. Air spaces left around the roots allow diseases and fungi easier access to root tissue. Leave a small depression so that water can soak in and not run off.
Water the new transplant liberally at first to settle the loose soil around the roots. Raspberries need about 1 inch of water per week, especially in hot, windy conditions. But too much water can provide a favourable environment for diseases.
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