By Gary Wade
University of Georgia
As the name implies, creeping raspberry creeps along the ground by forming runners, much like strawberries, which root at their nodes and establish new colonies.
It's aggressive, but creeping raspberry isn't invasive. It doesn't climb trees or smother nearby shrubs. And you can easily control it with mechanical edging.
Great foliageCreeping raspberry has coarse-textured leaves with deep veins that make them puckered. They're about 1.5 inches across and have 3 to 5 lobes. In the spring and summer, the leaves are shiny, dark green above and gray-green below. They turn burgundy in fall and winter.
Its white, midsummer flowers get lost in the foliage. Tiny, raspberry-like fruits followed the flowers in late summer. The fruits are edible and tasty, but they're tiny, so don't expect an abundant harvest. Fruiting isn't one of the plant's strong points.
Plant creeping raspberry plants 4 to 6 feet apart to allow them plenty of room to spread. A full-sun site is best, although plants will adapt to partial shade. Don't plant them in wet soils or areas that may get too much irrigation. Wet soils or overhead irrigation will make the plants look ragged.
Good for GeorgiaCreeping raspberry does well in most of Georgia. It's hardy in zones 7 to 9. In the mountains, winter hardiness may be a problem. It has excellent pest resistance and deer tolerance.
If a harsh winter leaves the foliage a little rough, a light trimming with the lawn mower in mid-March will encourage a new growth flush in the spring.
To help it establish fast, apply a granular fertilizer such as 16-4-8 or 12-4-8 in early spring. Apply it when the foliage is dry, and sweep or rake excess granules off the leaves. Then water to wash off any residual fertilizer.
Creeping Raspberry can be propagated by separating a rooted runner from the mother plant.
It's not just for ditches or slopes. Creeping Raspberry looks particularly nice in a raised bed or planter if you let it cascade over a wall or container.
(Gary Wade is an Extension Service horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)