The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Sacrifice the raspberries?

Sacrifice the raspberries?

Chase S.
Bath, ME
Post #: 11
I recently planted 4 fruit trees. The plum is being ravaged by Japanese beetles. Of course I've started picking them off twice a day, and maybe the plant will survive.

I have wild raspberries in the creek bed nearby. They don't produce much fruit, I'm sure it's not the virus-resistant strain, and they've been losing ground to other plants for years now.

But I notice the Japanese beetles are really decimating them. Because they're filling a creek bed I can only get to the edge of, I have no chance of controlling the beetles. It made me wonder if

(a) The raspberries are productively diverting Japenese beetles from my little fruit tree, or
(b) The raspberries are the reason for swarms of Japanese beetles, which are threatening my plum

I'm leaning towards (b), so I thought it may be a good idea to just take out all of the raspberries over the summer and fall. Any comments on this idea will be appreciated! Thanks.
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 44
Japanese Beetles love plum leaves(and grape and raspberries and....). I planted plums and grapes next to my chicken coop, and consider the beetles 'free food' for my birdies. A can with a little bit of water in the bottom keeps them from flying away as I gather them once or twice a day, and the birds eat them up lickety-split when I dump the writhing mass of bugs into the coop- feeding frenzy!
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 886
I use the wild purple flowering raspberry (Rubus odoratus) as a trap plant. It is also called thimbleberry. Japanese beetles will attack that bush but can never kill it. The large leaves make capture more easy. It produces beautiful flowers most of the season and the berries are very good but delicate with little or no commercial value. It has perennial canes that fruit the first year and continue. No need to cut second year canes. It can be invasive but isn't that hard to control if planted in a correct location.

David Spahr
Chase S.
Bath, ME
Post #: 12
Hmmm.. it sounds like my wild raspberries may be serving as a useful diversion after all, although I don't think it's the species you mention David.

Thanks for the feedback, guys!
Lori H.
user 9872629
Portland, ME
Post #: 21
Another suggestion for "harvesting" Japanese beetles: early in the morning, when there's still a relative chill in the air, bring something like one of those Skillins cardboard trays out to your infested plant. Hold the tray under the plant while you shake the plant, and collect the beetles. I've found that at that time of the day, the beetles are still a little groggy and I have a few moments after a shake to dump them into a wide-mouth jar...with water inside, or a lid ready to put on top. Wish I had chickens to whom I could feed them!
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