When you plant a row of raspberries, should the row run north to south so that each side of the row gets approximately the same duration and intensity of light? Or should the row run east to west so that there is a definite north and south side? Does it make any difference in fruit yield? Since we have such low sun angles during the summer, will you get more fruit on the south side of an east-west oriented row than on the north? Since the south side is warmer, do you get more insect pollinator activity on the south side? Will there be any fruit quality (flavor, color) differences? These are some of the questions that will be answered over the next 3 years at the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station in Fairbanks. ‘Kiska’ raspberry plants were planted during the summer of 1989, and the fruit yield and quality will be monitored for the next few years to determine the best row orientation for raspberries.
During the first year, fruit was collected but yields were very, very low because the row had not filled in yet with suckers, and the plants were very small. In rows oriented north to south, the east-facing half of the row the east-facing 65 grams per plot (20ft row), while the west-facing half yielded 70.5 grams for a total of 135.5 grams. In the rows east to west, the north facing half yielded 70.5 grams, while the south-facing half yielded 117.5 grams for a total of 188.0 grams. Stay tuned to see if these trends continue as the plants mature.