Pick Your Berry: Selecting Raspberries for Northeastern Climates


“Hi, I’m interested in growing raspberries this year.  Is there a certain kind / variety you would recommend for growing south of Boston,  MA? ~K.”

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Thank you for the email regarding our raspberry varieties.  Depending on what time of the year you are interested in harvesting your berries, I recommend the following:

Early Season (Summer)

–Boyne and Killarney (sibling varieties from Manitoba).

These two varieties perform very similarly. Both have are early season with small to medium sized fruit with good eating and freezing quality but can be somewhat dark and soft. The plants are spiny and produce many suckers. They have excellent winter hardiness but are susceptible to anthracnose. Boyne is moderately resistant to late yellow rust and tolerant to Phytophthora root rot and crown gall, but is susceptible to raspberry fireblight. Killarney is moderately resistant to Phytophthora root rot and is susceptible to mildew.

–Prelude (Cornell University-NYSAES) is the earliest summer fruiting cultivar available. The fruit is medium sized, round, and firm with good flavor. It is very resistant to Phytophthora root rot and has good cold hardiness. A moderate fall crop is large enough to warrant double cropping. It is the best early season cultivar available for the northeast.

Mid-Season (Summer)

–Nova (Nova Scotia) is vigorous and upright with long, fruiting laterals. The canes have very few spines. The fruit ripens in mid-season and is medium sized, bright red, firm, and somewhat acidic in taste. It is considered to have better than average shelf life. The plants are very hardy and appear to resist most common cane diseases, including rust. It will set a late fall crop.

Fall Bearing:

–Anne (University of Maryland) produces large, conic, pale yellow fruit with very good flavor and texture in mid to late season. It produces tall upright canes but does not sucker adequately for good stands. It is resistant to Phytophthora root rot.

–Autumn Britten (Great Britain) is early ripening with large, firm, good flavored fruit. It is taller than Autumn Bliss with better fruit quality but slightly lower yields. It is a day or two later than Autumn Bliss (not offered by us).

–Caroline (University of Maryland) is a large, good flavored, conical fruit. It produces tall upright canes. The short fruiting laterals can be challenging to pick, but yields are very good for the fall. It has moderate to good resistance to Phytophthora root rot.

–Heritage (Cornell University-NYSAES) is considered the standard for fall bearing cultivars. These tall, rugged canes have prominent thorns and are very high yielding. The primocane crop ripens relatively late. Fruit is medium-sized and has good color and flavor, firmness, and good freezing quality. It is resistant to most diseases. Due to its late ripening, this cultivar is not recommended for regions with cool summers or a short growing season with frost before September 30.  I have these in my garden along with some Fall Red (no longer carried by Jungs) and they are superb!

–Polana (Poland) is a very early season cultivar that ripens 2 weeks before Heritage. It produces short productive canes with multiple laterals per node. The fruit is medium sized fruit with good flavor. Susceptible to Verticillium wilt and Phytophthora root rot. It needs extra nitrogen to perform well.

Depending on how you plan to use the fruit — fresh, canning, baking, etc. — any of these varieties should do very well in your area.  If you have any other questions or need any recommendations on anything else, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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