Heritage RaspberryRubus idaeus var. strigosus ‘Heritage’
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Rubus idaeus var. strigosus ‘Heritage’
Outdoor Growing zone
The Heritage Raspberry is a dual-season red raspberry variety that carries a good crop in July and an even heavier one in September. It begins to crop in the first year you plant it, producing delicious dark-red berries with the classic tangy sweetness everyone loves. Grow your own berries for eating fresh, baking or jam-making, and know exactly what your family is eating. It’s easy to grow your own food with a superb and disease-resistant variety like this one, so don’t wait, take the plunge and become a home fruit-grower. Grow it among your flowering shrubs, or in the vegetable garden.
The Heritage Raspberry is reliable in zone 4, and grows across most of the country. It is resistant to disease and pests, if seen, are easy to control with non-toxic soap spray. After harvesting in July, cut down those canes to the ground – that’s all the work needed to keep this bush vigorous and highly-productive. It doesn’t need a second variety for pollination, and grows well in any well-drained soil, in a sunny spot.
That delicious tangy sweetness; that appetizing dark red coloring; that lingering and unique aroma – nothing beats raspberries, the favorite berry of almost everyone. Why pay a fortune for those tiny boxes at the supermarket? You can be picking your own not once, but twice a year, right from the get-go, when you plant the popular Heritage Raspberry. This variety is incredibly popular with home gardeners around the world, and no wonder. It carries heavy crops of berries in early summer and again in fall, and it doesn’t need another variety to crop beautifully. Vigorous, trouble-free and easy to grow once you understand the basic method, you will love stepping out your door and returning with a basket of sun-warmed berries for cereal or desserts – your family will love you forever. Yes, there are newer dwarf bushes, and yes, there are thornless varieties that are easier to prune, but no, there isn’t another raspberry variety that is as easy to grow and as prolific as this one. You can grow it in your vegetable garden, in a dedicated fruit garden, but you can also, in the smallest garden, plant it among your regular bushes, right outside the kitchen door – what could be easier?
The Heritage Raspberry is a shrub that develops into an upright clump reaching 4 to 5 feet tall, with green, thorny stems, called ‘canes’, that curve upwards and outwards from the base of the clump, forming an arching bush. The leaves are divided into 3 rounded leaflets, each about 2 inches long. These have a finely-toothed edge, with a crinkly upper surface of matt green, and a silvery underside. In April or May you will see clusters of flower buds sprouting from the upper section of the canes of the previous year. These open to small, 5-petaled flowers with a yellow center of a charming simplicity, decorative even in a shrub border. By July these will be transformed into clusters of delicious red berries, ready for your first harvest.
As those first fruits are growing and ripening, new canes will have sprouted from the base, and by September these too will have bloomed and be carrying more delicious berries. Often the fall crop is even larger than the summer crop. This is a self-pollinating variety, so it produces large crops of berries without needing a different variety near it. It can also act as a pollinator for other varieties that do need pollination.
This raspberry can be grown as a free-standing bush, or on a system of supporting wires, depending on your needs. As a bush you can grow it among shrubs in a sunny border, beside a path, or right outside the kitchen door. For bigger crops and more serious fruit growing, plant several in a row, spacing them 2 feet apart, with two wires stretched between poles for support. Space the poles 10 feet apart, and the wires at 2 feet and 4 feet above the ground. Tie the canes loosely to the wires as they grow, spreading them out so they get lots of sun. You can also grow this plant against a sunny fence or wall, and even at the top of a retaining wall, tying the canes downwards in a cascading curtain – a really novel and fascinating way to grow it.
The Heritage Raspberry is hardy in zone 4, and grows well into zone 8. Even if stems are damaged by winter, you will still harvest an excellent fall crop, so this is a good choice for fruit-growers in cold regions.
For best results plant your Heritage Raspberry bushes in full sun. It will grow in any well-drained soil, preferring rich soils, or those enriched with plenty of compost, but happy in any soil that isn’t always wet. Acid soils are preferred but not essential.
This variety is generally free of diseases, and any pests like greenflies can easily be controlled by using safe, non-toxic soap sprays or neem oil spray. The annual cycle of growing is easy. Begin in fall by tying in the new stems and removing the upper section that carried the flowers and berries of the fall crop. Next spring mulch around the bushes with rich compost or rotted manure, and wait until the summer crop has been harvested. Then cut the stems that carried that summer fruit down to ground level, removing them completely. Do not cut the new canes at all. Tie in those new stems as they grow, and pick the September crop. Then start again by shortening those stems in late fall. That’s all you need to do, and the procedure is the same for free-standing bushes or on wires. You may need to use some bamboo canes and string to support a bush growing in a shrub bed, to keep it free of surrounding bushes. It is important to prune each summer, otherwise you will soon have a tangled, messy bush that cannot be harvested.
The red raspberry, Rubus idaeus, has two wild forms, one from Europe and the other, called variety strigosus, from North America. That variety grows wild in open woods, mountain slopes and by streams all the way from Alaska through Canada to California, Oklahoma and North Carolina. It is the parent species for the garden variety called ‘Heritage’, created in 1969 at the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station in Geneva, New York. This facility is a division of Cornell University, and ‘Heritage’ was bred by Dr. George Slate and Dr. Daniel Ourecky. It was the first high-quality fall-bearing raspberry, and it is still among the best there is.
The Heritage Raspberry received the Outstanding Fruit Cultivar Award from the American Society of Horticultural Sciences in 2004. This is your stamp of approval, and why this variety has become the top variety for fall raspberry crops around the world. Order now, and enjoy the unmatched thrill of picking your own delicious berries – it’s easy, but don’t wait, because our supplies of this popular bush are very limited.