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Understory plant for raspberries

 
Posts: 6
Location: Chilliwack, BC
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I am looking for a suitable low-growing plant that could be grown around the base of raspberry plants primarily to keep out weeds. I have about 4 acres of raspberries planted in rows 10 feet apart with mowed grass growing between the rows. (I intend to use a chicken tractor to make the best use of this grass and eliminate mowing eventually) At the moment we are using a hoe to control the weeds around the plants but this is too labour intensive and could be avoided by the use of some kind of intentional ground cover plant. The plant should not harm the raspberries by using to much nutrition or growing too tall. It should be able to accommodate commercial raspberry growing equipment and procedures such shoot cutting/pruning and picking. An other option I've considered is growing something that will yield enough mulch between the rows and side discharging it around the plants to block out weeds. Any suggestions?
 
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I don't have a good answer for you but I am curious about what one might be
 
steward
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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In my wild spaces there are lots of berries. I noticed that the raspberries tend to be accompanied by low bush blueberries. I suspect that the low bush cranberry might work too.
Just a quick thought.
 
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Comfrey.
 
Jan Neels
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Location: Chilliwack, BC
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I've considered comfrey but...
- our climate is fairly damp and airflow around the plants is important to prevent fungal problems
- I'm afraid the comfrey would smother the raspberries and compete for nutrients.

I should give it a try.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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4 acres is a large area to chop and drop but if you do, the comfrey leaves would feed the raspberries, not take nutrients away. They actually prefer to be cut several times over the growing season.

Are you using a non-living mulch now?
 
Jan Neels
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Location: Chilliwack, BC
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Right now I have lawn grass growing between the rows and I hoe around the plants to keep the weeds down. I'd like to find a plant to grow within the raspberry row that will cover the ground without affecting the raspberries. Or maybe I could replace the grass with some other kind of perennial that I could cut with a side discharge mower and side discharge the mulch around the plants.
 
Cj Sloane
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Sorry, you did say that you hoed.

Here's a few threads to look thu:
https://permies.com/t/4329/permaculture/raspberry-guild
https://permies.com/t/8339/plants/Permaculture-Pete-Raspberry-Guide
 
Jan Neels
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Location: Chilliwack, BC
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Cj Verde wrote:Sorry, you did say that you hoed.

Here's a few threads to look thu:
https://permies.com/t/4329/permaculture/raspberry-guild
https://permies.com/t/8339/plants/Permaculture-Pete-Raspberry-Guide



A lot of the advice and ideas is for homesteaders or gardeners which doesn't always apply in a commercial setting, but a good idea should work at any scale. Lots of food for thought anyway.
Thanks for the help.
 
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