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We have some raspberry canes growing in a space in our yard and while doing some work this summer I removed some thorn bushes and stunted trees that were taking up sun, which was great for the raspberries since they flourished in the past two months. With the space we ended up putting some blueberry bushes since I had the space, and its fairly sunny, but now I am wondering if the raspberry bushes will be ok. Our soil is slightly acidic so I figure the raspberries can handle it, but if I am watering the blueberries will any acidic fertilizer I give them cause problems for the raspberries?

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3 Answers 3

Yes, in short. These fruiting plants are not natural bedfellows: Raspberries prefer alkaline soil conditions, so the acidity required to grow blueberries successfully will not suit them. You could plant Blackberries instead of blueberries, they will thrive where raspberries do, and plant the blueberry elsewhere.

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what are you basing the alkaline soil preference of raspberries on? Everything I've read elsewhere says raspberries prefer mildly acidic pH. Is this personal experience or do you have some info on alkaline raspberry soil you could link to? –  WebChemist Apr 16 '13 at 22:01
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Well it just goes to show that despite being a pedantic person, at times I'm not pedantic enough! I should accurately have said 'raspberries prefer more alkaline soil...". The optimum ph level for raspberries is 5.6 to 6.2, as for most other cane fruits. Blueberries require 4.09 to 5.0. This information is freely available everywhere - the RHS, University of Maine, Blueberry Growing Association USA. and so on. –  Bamboo Apr 17 '13 at 12:07
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Or even more accurately, "raspberries prefer more alkaline soil conditions than blueberries..." –  Bamboo Apr 17 '13 at 12:46
    
ok so just less acidic (I wouldn't use alkaline since both are still under pH 7). I have checked out many different sources and they all seem to vary on what range pH berries need so I'm a bit confused on who to trust... –  WebChemist Apr 18 '13 at 18:44

Can blueberries and raspberries be planted near each other?

Yes. I wouldn't plant them on top of each other, but they can be planted next to each other. I routinely have blackberry popping up like weeds in my blueberry stand.

if I am watering the blueberries will any acidic fertilizer I give them cause problems for the raspberries?

There is a lot of misinformation concerning blueberries. Blueberries don't like Nitrates, as in Ammonium Nitrate. Blueberries prefer the Ammonium, but the Nitrate can kill fine roots. Blueberries should always be fertilized with Ammonium Sulfate. Many garden supply shops will recommend Aluminum Sulphate because it makes the soil acid. Do NOT use Aluminum anything on anything you want to live! Especially blueberries, which are sensitive to all sort of things (salt, moisture levels, ph due to iron availability).

Read http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/AGRS097h.pdf for more info.

Here is another article I thought applicable:

Here’s the conspiracy: how have they (whoever they are) managed to hide the knowledge that Calcium is such an important element in all living things? In plants, animals and humans, adequate Calcium is absolutely essential for life. But just about the only mention Calcium gets in soil science is as a pH modifier. If you think your lawn or garden grows better after you lime it because you changed the pH, I have a newsflash for you: Calcium is the single biggest growth stimulant in plants. pH is a measure of free Hydrogen ions in water. It measures Hydrogen ion concentration, H+ and OH-, and that’s all it does. One can change the soil pH with any acid or alkali. You can raise the pH with sodium hydroxide, which is lye, drain cleaner, or lower it with hydrochloric acid, for instance, but they aren’t going to give you much growth stimulus. They will probably kill the plant. A slightly acid pH of about 6 or 6.5 is ideal, because it gives just the right amount of electrical conductivity in the soil, but plants aren’t nearly as finicky about pH as they are about having the right balance of soil minerals.

Rhododendrons, for instance, are supposed to require an acid soil. What they really prefer is a high Magnesium soil. Experimenters in Scotland raised the pH of soil from 5.0 to nearly 8.0 with Magnesium Carbonate, and the rhodies grew better and better as the soil pH went up because the Magnesium level was going up. pH had little to do with it.

So, this is a good thing to know if you are trying to grow rhododendrons in New Mexico, for instance, where the soil is frequently alkaline to start with, although there you would want to use an acid form of Magnesium like Magnesium sulfate, Epsom salts. But your garden, your farm crops and your fruits and berries wouldn’t necessarily like it (except the blueberries). High levels of Magnesium in relation to Calcium are common in Organic gardening and farming, though, because people are told to lime their soils with dolomite lime, which is high in Magnesium.

http://www.soilminerals.com/AgricolaII.htm

Ph is an indication of a proper nutrient balance, not the cause of it. There is only one proper nutrient combination, but there are many ways to change soil ph.

The main difference between raspberries and blueberries (nutritionally) is that blueberries prefer a little more magnesium in relation to potassium than raspberries. Otherwise, the N, P, Ca levels are the same between the two. If you should happen to splash some epsom salt or ammonium sulfate mix onto the raspberries, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt them.

Now if you start asking about pear and blueberry combinations, then we'll have a problem. Pear requires significantly more Ca than blueberry and the two just wouldn't get along. Your pears would taste like cardboard. Even the deer wouldn't eat them. And the pear trees would be very unhealthy, possibly having fire blight. Ask me how I know this :)

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The two plants can be placed near each other, but you may want to place some barrier underground to keep the raspberries from expanding.

I have blueberries growing about 3 feet from my raspberries, with a small patch of grass between them. Both plants seem to be doing fine, but I regularly need to pull out little raspberry shoots that come up right next to blueberries.

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I can see that, I've noticed one of my blueberry bushes being crowded out already by raspberry shoots that are starting to block the sun. –  MichaelF Jul 15 '13 at 12:15

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