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Most horticultural guides I've read recommend not planting blackberries and raspberries near each other because they will spread diseases between each other. How far apart do they need to be to prevent contamination? Is the opposite side of the yard (e.g. 30 feet) enough? Or do I need to try to figure out a way to incorporate one of them into my front yard landscaping?

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The likelihood of disease is not more likely when planted in close quarters, but if one species contracts a disease, it will likely pass it on. To avoid this, planting them apart should do it, anywhere that no blown leaves/running soil will reach them.

Now I don't worry about it myself, I put everything together. Disease control in untreatable diseases just means having a fast cull reflex. :)

Now, another thing to consider is that blackberries (in my area) often spread by underground stems, and sucker all over the place. The raspberries don't. They are usually a bigger plant than raspberries, so might invade and outgrow them. Apparently this is the opposite of how they grow in the UK, if I read Bamboo's answer properly.

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  • Yea, you did read it properly - I've had a raspberry bed move itself by 4 feet over 5 years... but the blackberries, unless the tips root into the ground, or they seed themselves, remain in position. Interesting its opposite where you are, but I wonder if its anything to do with variety of raspberry. – Bamboo Dec 8 '14 at 17:43
  • @Bamboo What varieties are you growing? My experience agrees with J. Musser, so far. Raspberries are a lot harder to grow in our yard than blackberries, though, and they don't last as long. Blackberries can last forever, just about, and get stronger every year. Our raspberries tend to last a few years, but in those few years the blackberries tend to expand and the raspberries don't. I'm guessing it's a variety or climate issue. Your climate is way different than mine. I imagine your soil may be, too. I don't know our varieties, unfortunately. I didn't buy or plant them. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Nov 12 '15 at 19:52
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    @Shule - not growing any at all now! The raspberries were in a very shady area, and probably lasted around 5 years - but I know they would have done better in a sunny area. Don't live there any more anyway, and don't have room for fruits now, but you're right about blackberries - impossible to get rid of if you ever want to, they go on for years and years. – Bamboo Nov 12 '15 at 20:00
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    @Shule I've had a back raspberry patch still going strong after 22 years (mostly original plants), but it was taken out for other things then. They like fertile, airy soil, well drained but water retentive. What I had was about 18" of black soil (almost like compost) over a sandy loam base. The pH was just over 6. They were fertilized with composted manure, and I used conventional pest/disease management. It was about 1300 square feet, in rows along 5 wire high tension vertical trellis. They actually lasted longer than some people's blackberry patches. – J. Musser Nov 12 '15 at 20:19
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Frankly, I don't agree with the premise that blackberries and raspberries planted together are more subject to disease. I've worked in many gardens where blackberries are trained up a trellis or fence (being large, trailing plants), with raspberry bushes 3-5 feet in front, in the same bed. The only drawback with it is that raspberries tend to spread by underground runners or rhizomes, and pop up 1 or 2 feet away, which means they 'march' and spread over an area. This sometimes can mean they get too close to the blackberry, but it isn't usually a problem - they tend to 'march' to where its brighter rather than darker in terms of light. For this reason though, its common for raspberries to be grown in a dedicated bed or area, possibly with a root rhizome barrier around the edges to contain them. Even so, provided there is a suitable support to tie the blackberry into, there's no reason why a blackberry or two cannot be included in the same bed.

Both plants require plenty of sun and similar soil conditions - note that strong fertilizers should be avoided because both produce quite a lot of roots near the surface, and these can be burned by too strong a fertilizer.

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