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It turns out that raspberry plants multiply like a weed. Initially they were in a 1ft x 6ft plot. Now they spread to the adjacent 8ft x 8ft plot.

I'm not complaining. I wish it were possible to move one plant to keep them a bit tidier and to make room for other plants, but I tried last year and the ones I moved remained miserable and ultimately died.

So I'm keeping them put.

But I'd like to stop weed from overtaking the space in-between.

How do I add a woven landscape fabric (with mulch on top) when there are existing tall raspberry plants? Do I estimate the location, tear a hole, and insert the tarp from the top? Would the holes then need to be too big (it's the first time I use tarp) and I'm better off just cutting from the edges and positioning the fabric right next to the stems? The plot is otherwise organic. Would mulch that's color-painted leach some nasty chemical on the raspberries?

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  • When you say "tarp," I'm picturing a nearly-waterproof sheet of woven plastic, which would not be good for weed prevention because it would also prevent water from getting to the soil. Hopefully you're actually talking about a non-waterproof material, like landscaping fabric or newspaper.
    – csk
    Apr 24 at 17:45
  • @csk Ah.. good point. (can you tell I don't know what I'm talking about?) Yes, I had improvised "tarp", but the product I just bought is indeed labeled "woven landscape fabric".
    – Sam
    Apr 24 at 17:56
  • Woven landscape fabric is only going to slow them down not control them. You would need a concrete lined moat to really stop them.
    – kevinskio
    Apr 24 at 19:40
  • Do NOT use landscape fabric. See: s3.wp.wsu.edu/uploads/sites/403/2015/03/landscape-fabric.pdf and here: gardenprofessors.com/… and here: gardenprofessors.com/landscape-fabric-a-cautionary-tale/for reasons why fabric is a terrible idea.
    – Jurp
    Apr 24 at 22:09
  • Oh nuts, ignore the last link (I had it in my clipboard when I pasted it, but it's irrelevant to your question).
    – Jurp
    Apr 24 at 23:52
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The raspberries I am familiar with only bear on new wood. That means once a cane produces, it will not produce again. After the last berry is picked, you will notice that some canes look woody at the bottom and some are green. In the fall, cut these woody brown canes down to the ground. That will leave you room to establish the new green canes. You can top dress with organic compost, and remove weeds at that time. You also need to cut back the new green canes to half, as these will be your next producers. You want them to be sturdy and not whipping in the wind. It is also a good time to thin the plants as well. Remove the spent canes from the garden to prevent disease.

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