Autumn-fruiting raspberries are a boon to home gardeners because they produce a crop in the fall and the usual one during early summer. The term “everbearing” is often applied to them; however, it is unsuitable.
They do not bear fruit continuously but bear the usual crop over 3 or 4 weeks in July and then produce a second crop in fall on the tips of the new or current season’s canes.
Some varieties start their fall crop as early as August, while others do not ripen until late September and continue until freezing weather, undaunted by 2° or 3° degrees Fahrenheit of frost.
These canes, which produce the fall crop on their tips, also bear next year’s summer fruit but lower down on the cane. After that, the cane dies and is replaced by new growth.
Raspberries: Autumn Fruit
Raspberries that bear fruit in autumn are not new but have been cultivated in Europe and this country for many years. Horticultural literature contains many references to them.
Many of these raspberries have been introduced with glowing descriptions, but only one, Ranere (St. Regis), ever became important until Indian Summer arrived.
Ranere in New Jersey
Ranere originated in New Jersey about 1912 and is still grown in the southern part of that state, where it is well adapted to the sandy soils and rather warm summers.
Its heat resistance has also made it a useful variety farther south where better varieties do not thrive.
The berries are small, firm, and of poor quality, but the summer crop is early, and the fall crop starts in August.
This is a desirable characteristic that breeders are attempting to combine with larger-fruited, better-quality varieties.
Berries On Indian Summer
Indian Summer was introduced in the middle 1939s and soon became the leading variety. In some areas, it is grown commercially for both summer and full crops.
Berries are as large as those of any variety during both seasons and are of excellent quality. The plants produce heavy, escaping mosaics and are usually hardy.
Early Summer Fruiting
Summer fruiting is early, but the autumn crop is often too late north of the lower Hudson valley, although, in a mild fall, such as in 1946, much of the late crop will mature as far north as Albany and Rochester, New York.
Many have planted this variety only to be disappointed with the lateness of the fall crop. A tendency of the berries to crumble under certain conditions is another fault of the variety.
The New Hampshire Experiment Station has just introduced Durham with the statement that the fall crop is earlier than that of Indian Summer.
It is not yet available from nurseries, and the writer’s plants have not yet borne fruit.
September, a product of the Geneva Agricultural Experiment Station, made its debut in the autumn of 1947 when the New York State Fruit Testing Cooperative Association introduced it.
Fall fruiting starts from 2 to 4 weeks earlier than the late crop of Indian Summer. The summer crop is early.
Berries are large, firm, and of good quality in fall but only fair in summer.
Plants produce well, are hardy at Geneva, and have performed satisfactorily as far south as Washington, AC., and west as Illinois.
September is worth trying for home use where hard frosts do not occur early in September.
Home gardeners in the Middle South should try Tennessee Autumn, introduced in 1940 by the Tennessee Experiment Station.
One of its ancestors is Rubus kuntzettnus, an Oriental bramble species from which it inherits its adaptability to southern conditions, where most northern varieties fail.
The plants are vigorous, disease resistant, and produce heavy crops, ripening in May and June in Tennessee and bearing a fall crop in September and October.
The berries are as large as Latham and good in quality. The fall crop is too late in New York, and the variety is not as desirable there as other northern sorts.
Cultural practices for fall-bearing raspberries are similar to those used for plants that bear only one crop.
The canes, however, should be supported by a trellis to protect the fruit from bruising, for this may occur when heavily laden tips, where the berries are borne, whip against each other in the wind or are dragged on the ground.
Pruning is the same. The tips which fruit in fall are cut back about one-quarter during spring pruning.
Fertile soil, well supplied with moisture and organic matter, is essential since the biggest canes fruit earliest in fall and produce the most berries of large size.
Raspberries may be planted either in fall or spring. In the latter season, this should be done as early as possible.
Canes At Planting Time
Canes are cut back to 8” inches at planting time and should not be allowed to set fruit during summer in the first year.
Only an occasional cane will fruit the first fall, but a full autumn crop may be expected in the second season.
Although Indian Summer and September are big improvements over the older varieties, there is still much room for improvement of fall-bearing raspberries.
Seedlings With Borne Fruit
During the last 10 years, many crosses have been made, and thousands of seedlings have borne fruit.
From crosses made this year, several thousand seeds have been obtained from fall-bearing parents.
Special efforts are being made to develop varieties that will bear a fall crop as early as Mid-August.
Wild types from Oswego County, New York, have ripened at Geneva as early as August 10, and these are being crossed with large, firm-fruited varieties and other fall-bearing selections.
Seedling Of Rancre Branches
One seedling of Rancre branches freely near the tip, thus greatly increasing the bearing surface. It ripens earlier than September, but the berries are small.
The percentage of early and desirable seedlings among the crosses fruited thus far is very small, so rapid progress is not to be expected.
Characteristics are available in different varieties and selections, which, if combined in one variety, should produce varieties suitable for both commercial and home use.
These mosaic-resistant plants would bear two crops yearly, the second starting in mid-August.
44659 by George L. Slate