Raspberry Bare Root Canes – Failed Van Zyverden Heritage

Original Post: 6/4/16
Update 4/15/17

Note from 4/15/17: To be fair to Home Depot, I was at Home Depot last week and noticed a large supply of bare root raspberry canes that had plenty of healthy green leaves on them.  I’m not sure if they are provided by the same company (Van Zyverden), but the display looks pretty much the same as last year.  I clearly must have gotten one of the last raspberry canes last year and got a dead one.  I would think if you planted one with healthy leaves, you’d get a decent plant.  I have no idea how much different the plants would be than what I received from Norse Farms, but I do have to say that the Norse plants were excellent and have done pretty well overall.

Picture of healthy plants at Home Depot 4/8/2017.

Back to the original post:

This summer I’ve gotten really interested in growing my own raspberries.  This really doesn’t make a lot of sense since I’ve never been a huge fan of eating berries.  Our neighbor across the street has some kind of berry tree that grows yummy blackberries which I tasted last summer.  There is something extra special about picking a tasty berry right off the tree.  I briefly looked into getting our own blackberry tree, but we really don’t have the space for it.

I didn’t think too much more about it until this spring.  While at Home Depot I noticed a display with many different fruiting “plants” for sale.  I had never seen plants like this before, as they were just sticks coming out of a white plastic bag. They had strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries from a company called Van Zyverden.  I briefly searched for some information on planting berries and from my initial brief review, it seemed like raspberries were the easiest.  They only had a few varieties of raspberry left in stock, the two I remember being Heritage and Jaclyn.  I tried to find information while I was in the store, but there wasn’t anything obvious other than reviews said Heritage was one of the standards for fall bearing raspberries. I figured I’d give it a shot so I bought one stick for around $9.

I took the stick home, dug a hole in my backyard in an area that gets sun most of the day, and planted the Heritage raspberry bare root cane.  Following the directions, I soaked the cane in water while digging the hole.  The stick came wrapped in a plastic bag, with a plug of mud/soil on the end of the cane that was in the bag.  I assumed this was where the roots were.  When I soaked the mud/soil in water, the plug loosened up and came off.  To my surprise, there were almost no roots on the end of the stick.  There were maybe two stubs sticking out from the bottom of the stick, no more than 1/2 inch long each.  I went ahead and planted it a few inches into the ground, watered it, and waited.  I planted it around May 10th. Here’s a picture of it shortly after I planted it:
Heritage Bare Root Cane

While waiting, I started to do more intensive research into growing my own raspberries.  I wanted to see if I had made a mistake with the Heritage raspberry and figured I’d rather change things up sooner rather than waiting too long to plant something better, or worse, wind up with a yard full of bad raspberry plants.

I’ll post more about my research in another post.  Bottom line is that I gave it about three weeks and decided to plant other varieties of raspberries (Anne and Joan J).  When I was planting the newer raspberries on 6/2/16 I looked around for any root growth and there was none.  When I pulled it out completely, there was no change from when I planted it.  I essentially had a dead stick.  I’m not sure if I didn’t plant it properly (was I not supposed to let the mud plug come off the roots, possibly damaging the roots, and I was just supposed to plant the entire plug?), but I think it is much more likely that I just got a bad bare root raspberry cane. I’ll hopefully have time to post my progress of my much higher quality bare root canes I’ve planted.

Early on in my research, I went to one of my local nurseries to see if they had any of the other raspberry varieties or whole plants.  I made a post of what I found there and my purchase of a raspberry shortcake plant.  I hope to soon make a post on my research on selecting which strain / variety of raspberries to plant.

1 Response

  1. March 6, 2020

    […] root system attached to each cane, especially compared to the lack of almost any roots on the Home Depot bare root cane I bought earlier this year.  For the most part, the Anne canes looked similar to the Joan J canes, […]

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