It's important to tie in canes for a number of reasons: wind, rain, foliage and berries. Wind can do phenomenal damage by rocking the canes back and forth, and this becomes worse when the canes are in leaf and fruit. Entire raspberry patches can be rocked off their very shallow roots and tossed across a plot. Never underestimate even the gentlest of breezes. Rain combined with wind is a horror show for any soft fruits that need support. Rain on it's own though can hammer canes to the ground, strip leaves, fruit and snap canes by the sheer force and weight landing on the foliage. Even the most lightest, frothiest summer shower can over balance a swaying cane. Your raspberry canes, blackberry canes and other assorted weaving fruit may look like nothing at the moment, just the glimmer of foliage but consider them when they are fully burdened with leaves, hammered by wind and rain, and you see the importance of tying in. Berries also add further weight to canes, and on a good year can put them under such a strain that they snap. So tie them in. Tying is a simple thing, all canes should have support and you can do this by planting them in a line between two posts and the running wires along the line of your raspberry bed, you can see in the above image that this allows you to fan out the canes and use a piece of string to tie them in. Our preferred technique is to loop the string around the wire and tie in up to four canes to one piece of string.
We have raspberry canes in our hedge now and this is a different beast as the canes become supported by the hedge itself.
Don't forget to give a nice thick mulch to your raspberries, they will thank you for it.
What have we learnt about tying in soft fruit?
- That it is necessary to do so or we could loose a crop to the weather.
- That tying in gives addition support.
- That is a therapeutic task, relaxing to do on canes without thorns.