Question: I planted some fall-bearing raspberries two year ago and I’ve enjoyed picking the berries in the summer and in the fall. This year, there are raspberry shoots coming up everywhere. Should I pull them all out?
Answer: Whether or not you should remove the raspberry shoots — aka “canes” — depends on where the canes are growing. If the young canes are growing inside your raspberry rows along with all your other berry plants, you can leave them if you’d like and harvest berries from them in the fall. If your raspberry rows are too crowded, you can remove all the smallest or weakest canes to open things up a bit and make berry picking easier.
If the new canes are popping up between the row in areas where you need to walk, you should remove them. It’s important to keep the area between the rows open so that it will always be easy to take care of the plants and pick your berries.
Question: I’m not sure what kind of tree I have. It’s always looked good until this year. The leaves aren’t as dark as usual and some of the leaves have dark green veins. Is it okay to just wait and see how it looks next year instead of trying to fix it?
My maple tree has a few branches with yellow leaves, but the rest of the tree looks fine. What happened to my tree?
My wisteria vines look really yellow and sickly this year. Most years, I see some pale green leaves or a few yellow ones, but this year, they all look pretty sad. Why?
Answer: There are many reasons why trees or shrubs may have leaves that aren’t as dark green as they should be. One common cause of pale green or yellow leaves is iron chlorosis. Iron chlorosis happens when there is an iron deficiency in the leaves.
Plants use iron to make chlorophyll, and they use that chlorophyll to make their carbohydrates — their food. Iron chlorosis is like a low-calorie diet for your tree, but plants don’t need to be on a diet.
The soils in our county generally have plenty of iron, but because of the alkalinity of our soils, chemical reactions in the soil can make that iron unavailable to our landscape plants. Many of our favorite trees and shrubs are native to regions with more acidic soils and they aren’t well-adapted to our area. These plants are more prone to suffering from iron chlorosis.
Cold soils or wet soils can aggravate the problem of iron chlorosis. This year, we had a cold, wet spring and trees that are prone to iron chlorosis look worse than usual. Some trees that normally do fine in our soils are also looking a little pale.
What should you do if your tree has iron chlorosis? For now, proper watering is the best thing you can do. The watering should be deep but infrequent — about once a week in the summer. If your tree is in your lawn, you should water your lawn deeply, but as infrequently as it will tolerate. Watering this way will help your tree to have the healthy root system it needs.
Next year, in late winter or very early spring, you should put some chelated iron into the soil around the tree. Chelated iron usually gives a quick response, but only lasts about one season and can be expensive. Adding an elemental sulfur- ferrous sulfate combination works much more slowly, but lasts longer and is less expensive. Iron soil treatments will be most effective if done before the buds leaf out.