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I have some Raspberry and Blackberry plants I'm propagating by tip layering into new containers so I can give them to friends. The tips have been potted for at least 2 months, and now that a few baby leaves have poked their way up through the soil, I'm wondering if that means they have enough of a root system to stand strong on their own or if they still need to be attached to the mother plant for a little while longer? I don't want them sapping away energy from the mother plant if they can survive on their own...

When I do cut them, should I leave a decent length of the cane attached, or cut it at the soil line? Will it grow back out from the cut point as if it were a new cane of the daughter plant?

Tip Layered Raspberry Tip Layered Blackberry

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The standard advice for checking on a cutting is to tug gently on it and see if it resists being pulled from the soil. If it doesn't come right up, then it has likely rooted.

In this case, if these tip layers have been potted over the winter and are now putting out leaves, I think it is pretty safe to say that they have enough roots to survive. What you might do is dig down with your finger a bit and see if you can tell how big the roots are. Then, cut one of the babies from its mother vine and see how it does. If it continues to grow and look healthy, then you are probably safe to cut all the other babies loose as well. Keep them well watered and not in full sun for a week or two after cutting them loose, just so their small root systems can adapt to being on their own.

I would leave a small piece of stem (maybe a couple of inches or so) on the plantlet when you release it from the mother cane, not because it requires it to grow, but because if you cut too close to the new plant you may accidentally damage it.

  • Thanks. They seem pretty well in place but I killed a few of my strawberries by cutting the runner stem too soon so I thought I'd seek out advice first since I've never layered raspberries before. – WebChemist Mar 16 '14 at 3:32

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