- Caring for Fruit Trees and Bushes: Raspberry
- Choosing a Location for Raspberry Plants
- In This Series
- How to grow raspberries
- When should I plant my raspberries?
- Which variety of raspberry should I grow?
- Primocanes or floricanes?
- Where to plant raspberries
- How to plant raspberries in the garden
- Growing raspberries in containers
- How to care for raspberry plants
- How to prune raspberry canes
- How do you know when to harvest raspberries?
- Raspberry Pruning: Information On How To Prune Raspberry Plants
- Why You Should Prune Raspberry Plants?
- When to Trim Raspberry Bushes
- How Do You Prune Raspberry Bushes?
- How to Grow Raspberries
- Pick the Right Type
- Choose the Right Spot
- How to Prune Raspberries
- Training Raspberries
- How To Plant Raspberries: Care Of Raspberry Plants
- How to Plant Raspberries
- Care of Raspberry Plants
- Harvesting Raspberries
- How to Grow Raspberries – The Basics
- Raspberry Growing Requirements – Soil and Location
- Two Types of Raspberry Plants – Summer Bearing and Fall Bearing
- When to Prune Raspberries
- When to Fertilize Raspberries
- Mulching Your Raspberries
- Harvesting and Storing Raspberries
Caring for Fruit Trees and Bushes: Raspberry
How to Plant and Care for Everbearing Red Raspberry Bushes
Everbearing red raspberries are self-pollinating and have two crops, which make them a favorite for the home garden, as well as commercially.
Heritage Everbearing Raspberry is picked by gardeners for its flavor, firmness, and large fruit size. This bush has two harvest seasons with a moderate yield in July and heavy yield in September until frost. Preferred uses include extra-sweet, juicy fruit that is good fresh, canned or frozen.
September Everbearing Raspberry is one of the most popular home and commercial cultivars. It produces crops in two seasons, with a light crop in June followed by a heavy crop in September. The berries are medium-size, tart, juicy, rose-red raspberries with small seeds. Preferred uses include fresh eating, frozen, and in preserves and pies.
Read Caring for Fruit Trees and Bushes: Grapes
Choosing a Site
Light: Full Sun
Soil: Wide Range.
Pollination: Raspberries are self-pollinating.
Trellis Creation: Everbearing raspberries tend to bend over from the weight of the fruit. They benefit from some type of support. Create a simple ‘T’ trellis at knee height with a top 1-1/2 feet wide to support the canes. This can be made using wood with twine or wire.
Do Not Plant: In established garden areas where you have previously planted vegetables or fruit plants. Plant raspberries 300 feet away from other raspberries.
Raspberry Bush Planting Instructions
For best results, plant your raspberry bushes in early spring. Once your plants arrive, plant them immediately. If you cannot plant immediately keep new arrivals cool and roots moist. To keep cool, it is recommended that you store in refrigerator or cool place.
- Unpack and Soak: Unpack raspberry and soak in water for 3 to 6 hours just before planting.
- Cut Broken Roots.
- Dig Hole(s): The width of the hole should allow you to spread roots. If you are planting multiple raspberries, dig holes 2′-3′ apart. If you are creating several rows, dig holes 6′-8′ apart.
- Spread Roots in Hole
- Shovel Dirt Back in Hole and Add Amend Soil.
- Water: Give each plant 1″-2″ of water. The plants are rather shallow rooted, so moisture needs to be at the surface. Do not let soil become dry to a depth of 6″.
- Add Fertilizer: A weak liquid nitrogen fertilizer may be applied at planting. Keep fertilizer 3″-4″ away from the base of the plant to avoid burning the roots.
- Mulch: Mulch the first year to keep the weeds down and increase the crop yield, but do not mulch after that unless the soil is very sandy.
Watch Ask an Arborist: Why do We Mulch?
Watering Raspberry Bushes
Water is important when young plants are being established. Water raspberries plants during the day. Give them about 1″-2″ per week during growing season and up to 4″ per week during harvest. The plants are rather shallow rooted, so moisture needs to be at the surface.
How to Pick Raspberries
Harvesting in the morning after dew has dried will result in a longer shelf-life. When ripe, the berry will detach easily. Put in shallow containers to avoid crushing and move out of the sun. Avoid extra handling of the berries. Sunscald causes the berries to become bleached looking, but the fruit is still edible. Do not wash berries until ready to use them. The storage life of red raspberries when refrigerated is about 2–3 days.
Read the complete guide for more raspberry care tips.
Choosing a Location for Raspberry Plants
The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Concerning location: do you know where you want to plant your new raspberry plants? Avoid future obstacles by considering all aspects of the planting site, such as:
- Sun and good soil
NOTE: This is part 3 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow raspberry plants, we recommend starting from the beginning.
Most raspberry varieties are self-pollinating (or self-fertile), meaning your raspberry plants will fruit when they mature, without requiring the availability of another raspberry variety’s pollen. If you are growing all the same variety of raspberry, your plants will have a fruit crop. Similarly, if you are growing several different varieties of raspberry, you may have a larger fruit crop, as is the nature of most cross-pollinated fruit.
Sun and Good Soil
Raspberry plants thrive in a growing location that receives full sun and has a well-drained, fertile soil. Full sun is at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight during the growing season. Light is vital to fruit production and fruit quality, and also helps minimize the risk of fungal issues, so this is an essential part of choosing a location for your raspberry plants.
A well-drained soil will help keep a raspberry plant’s roots healthy and free of rot. Because raspberry plants are rhizomes, they send up new canes from the roots, so root health is especially important for raspberry plants. If your native soil is composed of heavy clay that retains water after rainy weather, first look for a different planting site for your raspberry patch. Similarly, if your site has fast-draining, sandy soil, the raspberry plants may exhibit water-related stress (similar to conditions of drought) and may require more-frequent watering. For your growing success, we do not recommend planting raspberry plants in rocky or heavy, pure-clay soils. If you can’t plant elsewhere, you can try amending the soil of your planting site prior to planting your raspberry plants.
Soil amendments greatly depend on your individual location, so communicating with your local county cooperative extension is recommended. In general – to help with water distribution – you can add coir, like our Coco-Fiber Growing Medium, to your raspberry planting hole, or mix in one-third sphagnum/peat to the soil at planting time. Sphagnum/peat can lower the soil pH, so if your soil pH is already lower than raspberry plants tolerate (6.0 – 6.8), this may not be the best option.
Alternately, to avoid directly dealing with your native soil, you can try planting your raspberry plants in containers. Start with a pot that accommodates each raspberry plant’s current root system (with room to grow). Most new raspberry plants can be planted in a 3-gallon container to start, and you can move container-grown raspberry plants into larger containers as the plants outgrow them.
Even if your yard isn’t the most ideal location, take heart. Raspberry plants can be very adaptable and they respond well to soil additives like compost or fertilizers, so they can get along well even where the soil is nutritionally poor. Just remember to avoid planting sites with extremely heavy soils and poor drainage and ensure they have the necessary full-sun requirement.
A home raspberry planting can be a landscaping asset, so choose a planting site with this in mind. Imagine your raspberries as full-grown plants and observe the surroundings:
- Are there cables, pipes, or other lines and utilities you should avoid underground?
- Is there a sidewalk or foundation within the range of your raspberry plant’s roots?
- Might your raspberry plant block the view of something you want to see once it’s fully grown?
- Will neighboring trees be in the way or block sunlight from your raspberry plants as they grow?
Even a year or two after planting, a raspberry plant can be very difficult to move with stress-free success, so take the time to plant in just the right place the first time around.
Ordinarily, planting raspberry plants near structures like patios is not problematic because the soil beneath them is dry and compacted. The raspberry’s roots will not be as encouraged to grow into this area; however, it’s better to plant with at least 4 to 5 feet of space between these structures and your raspberry plants. A safe distance is somewhere beyond your raspberry plant’s estimated maximum spread. By planting raspberry plants far enough away from man-made structures, you can avoid problems in the near or distant future.
Space Between Plants
Depending on the variety you choose, the spacing may vary. As a general rule, most raspberry plants naturally grow (or can be maintained with pruning) within a 4 to 5 foot range, both tall and wide. Use the raspberry plant’s mature width as your guide for spacing between plants.
- Plant raspberry plants 3 to 5 feet apart with spacing between rows 6 to 8 feet apart.
- Do not plant Red, Gold or Purple raspberries within 75 to 100 feet of black raspberries. Black raspberries may be more susceptible to viral diseases carried by aphids to and from nearby raspberry plants.
Space for Future Plantings
When you’re new to fruit gardening and growing raspberry plants, or you’re planting in a location that is new to you, it’s wise to start with just a few raspberry plants. Later on, especially after you have reaped the rewards of growing your own raspberries, you may want to expand your home raspberry patch. If you plan ahead and leave room for additional berry plants, or even fruit trees and other garden plants, then the space will be available when you are ready to expand, without hindering the growth and development of your existing raspberry plants.
In This Series
- Soil Preparation
Care & Maintenance
- Pest & Disease Control
How to grow raspberries
Our guide to growing raspberries, packed with tips from the experts here at Thompson & Morgan
A glut of succulent raspberries during the summer and autumn is a seasonal treat not to be missed. But why spend a fortune on supermarket punnets when you can easily grow your own delicious raspberries at home or on your allotment? Here’s your guide to cultivating this delicious summer fruit – all you need to know about growing your ownraspberry plants.
When should I plant my raspberries?
Raspberries fruit from June to October depending on the variety. So plant the canes in thawed soil between November and March.
Plant dormant raspberry canes into well-manured soil, any time between November and March. Just make sure the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged first.
Which variety of raspberry should I grow?
For autumn-fruiting raspberries, perfect for delicious winter crumbles, consider ‘All Gold’ yellow raspberries.
Image: Raspberry ‘All Gold’ by Thompson & Morgan
- • Summer-fruiting raspberries fruit between June and early August depending on the specific variety. For the earliest harvests, give ‘Glen Moy’ or delicious ‘Glen Fyne’ a try.
- • Autumn-fruiting raspberries fruit between August and October. These varieties don’t need supporting, making them ideal for growing in containers on the patio, and because the process of pruning them is so simple, they’re also a good choice for beginners. Try reliable ‘Autumn Treasure’, or for something more unusual yellow raspberries like ‘All gold’, are a good bet.
Primocanes or floricanes?
Perfect for hanging baskets, ‘Ruby Falls’ floricanes need little maintenance to produce sweet-tasting berries.
Image: Raspberry ‘Ruby Falls’ by Thompson & Morgan
Floricanes and primocanes produce crops on different aged stems:
- • Primocane varieties produce flowers and fruit on stems grown in the same year. Most Autumn fruiting varieties are primocanes, producing fruit in their first year of growth.
- • Floricane raspberries have stems that grow for one year before bearing fruit and flowers, and are usually summer fruiting varieties.
Where to plant raspberries
Summer-fruiting raspberries with need support growth for the early stages.
Raspberries like fertile, well drained soil, and though they will tolerate shade, you’ll get a much better harvest by planting them in a sunny spot in the garden. Summer-fruiting raspberries need a frame, fence, or wall to support growth to around 1.5m. Autumn-fruiting raspberries are normally fine without support.
How to plant raspberries in the garden
Dependant on what varieties you’re growing, the spaces between planting canes will increase in size.
Choose a sunny spot and break up the soil with a garden fork before digging in some organic matter – compost (old or new), well rotted manure or recycled green waste are ideal. Here’s how to plant your raspberry canes:
- • Knock in a row of posts 1.8m (6ft) high, stretching wires between the uprights, about 60cm (2ft) apart.
- • Leave 1.8m (6ft) between rows.
- • For summer-fruiting raspberries, plant canes 40 cm apart; for autumn-fruiting varieties plant each cane 60cm apart.
- • Plant your canes to a depth of 8cm (3in), gently firm them in, and water well.
- • Once planted, cut the canes to 25 cm from the ground to encourage lots of basal shoots.
Growing raspberries in containers
No need for a garden! This ‘Raspberry Ruby’ thrives in containers and fruits from June for summer dishes.
Image: Raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’ from Thompson & Morgan
As long as you choose a big enough container – about 60cm (24in) diameter – it’s perfectly possible to grow raspberry canes in planters:
- • Fill your container with a soil-based compost like John Innes No. 3. This is more stable, and won’t dry out as quickly as multi-purpose compost.
- • Plant up to six raspberry canes around the perimeter of the container, gently firm them in, and water them.
- • Make sure the compost doesn’t dry out and feed your raspberries regularly with a high-potash fertiliser throughout the growing season to encourage lots of delicious fruit.
- • After three years it’s best to plant your container raspberries in the ground.
How to care for raspberry plants
Like with most berries, feeding and watering your raspberry canes will help ensure a good crop.
Taking good care of your raspberries ensures a good crop, and keeps your canes in good condition:
- • Feed your raspberries during the spring. Mulch around the canes with well-rotted manure (take care not to bury the canes), or apply a balanced fertiliser and then mulch with compost to help keep the roots moist in dry weather.
- • It’s also very important to water raspberry canes during dry weather or your harvest will suffer.
- • Raspberries produce ‘suckers’ along their root system, so new canes may pop up a fair distance from the main plant. Dig up and pull out any that are more than 22cm (9in) from the main row – don’t worry, severing them won’t harm the parent plant.
- • When the plants start to set fruit it’s best to cover them with netting to prevent the birds eating your delicious crop.
Watch the video below to find out more about how to grow and care for your raspberries:
How to prune raspberry canes
Pruning your raspberry bushes will keep them healthy.
All you need is a pair of secateurs, and some gardening gloves to protect against thorns.
- • Autumn-fruiting raspberries. Prune in late winter (February), cutting back all the canes to ground level before new growth commences. The plants will fruit on new growth.
- • Summer-fruiting raspberries. During the autumn, cut down to soil level all canes that bore fruit during the summer. It’s worth marking the fruiting canes during the summer so you can distinguish between these and the new season’s canes (new season’s canes are lush and green). Aim to leave 6-8 of the strongest new canes and remove the rest. The new canes should be spaced 10cm (4in) apart on their support to allow each cane as much light and air as possible.
Learn more about raspberry pruning from the video below
How do you know when to harvest raspberries?
Follow our tips to make sure you don’t harvest raspberries too early.
Your raspberries are ready to harvest when they come off the plant with a gentle tug. Once harvested, they don’t keep for long so try freezing some for later. Spread them on a baking tray and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, transfer the berries into freezer bags.
Now you know how to grow your own delicious raspberries, try experimenting with the many varieties on offer.
Are you an expert raspberry grower? Share your best tips and tricks with the Thompson & Morgan gardening community over on our Facebook page.
Raspberry Pruning: Information On How To Prune Raspberry Plants
Growing raspberries is a great way to enjoy your own tasty fruits year after year. However, in order to get the most from your crops, it’s important to practice annual pruning raspberry pruning. So how do you prune raspberry bushes and when? Let’s find out.
Why You Should Prune Raspberry Plants?
Pruning raspberry bushes improves their overall health and vigor. In addition, when you prune raspberry plants, it helps increase fruit production. Since raspberries grow only foliage the first season (year) and flowers and fruit the next (second year), removing dead canes can make it easier to obtain a maximum yield and berry size.
When to Trim Raspberry Bushes
How and when to prune raspberries depends on the type you are growing.
- Everbearing (sometimes referred to as fall-bearing) produce two crops, summer and fall.
- Summer crops, or summer-bearing, produce fruit on the previous season’s (fall) canes, which can be removed after the summer harvest and again in spring after the threat of frost and prior to new growth.
- Fall-bearing types produce on first year’s canes and are thus pruned back after the late fall harvest when dormant.
How Do You Prune Raspberry Bushes?
Again, pruning techniques depend on variety. Red raspberries produce suckers at the base of previous season’s growth while black (and purple) form on new growth.
Red Raspberry Bush Pruning
Summer-bearing – Remove all weak canes to the ground in early spring. Leave 10-12 of the healthiest canes, about ¼ inches in diameter, with 6-inch spacing. Tip prune any that may have suffered cold damage. Following summer harvest, prune off the old fruiting canes to the ground.
Fall-bearing – These can be pruned for either one crop or two. For two crops, prune as you would summer-bearing, then again after the fall harvest, pruning to the ground. If only one crop is desired, there’s no need to prune in summer. Instead, cut all canes to the ground in spring. There will be no summer crop, only one in fall using this method.
Note: Yellow varieties are also available and their pruning is the same as for the red types.
Black or Purple Raspberry Bush Pruning
Remove fruiting canes after harvest. Tip prune new shoots in early spring 3-4 inches to encourage branching. Top these canes again 3-4 inches in summer. Then after harvest, remove all dead canes and those smaller than ½ inches in diameter. The following spring, prune out weak canes, leaving only four to five of the healthiest and largest. Cut back the lateral branches of black varieties to 12 inches and purple types to about 18 inches.
How to Grow Raspberries
Raspberries and cream, raspberry jam, raspberry liqueur: The possibilities seem endless when you know how to grow your own raspberries. These delicate berries are treats straight off the plant, as well as a winter surprise when frozen in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then bagged up to provide a taste of summer on even the coldest and darkest days.
Pick the Right Type
The first step in growing raspberries is choosing the right type for you. Raspberries come in two categories: summer bearing and fall bearing (also called everbearing).
Summer-bearing plants produce one big crop of fruits in late summer. Fall-bearing plants produce two crops a year: one in early autumn and a smaller crop early the next summer. Raspberries come in three common colors: red (varieties such as ‘Latham’, ‘Autumn Bliss’, and ‘Heritage’), black (varieties such as ‘Blackhawk’ and ‘Bristol’, not to be mistaken with blackberries), and yellow (varieties such as ‘Honeyqueen’ and ‘Fallgold’). In general, red raspberries are stronger, hardier, and more productive than the black and yellow raspberry plants.
Choose the Right Spot
Raspberries are vigorous growers and will produce runners that fill up a bed. Choose a spot in full sun and well-drained soil; dig in some compost to give them a jump-start. You can buy raspberries bare-root in the spring or as container-grown plants for spring, summer, or autumn planting. Regardless, plant the canes 20 inches apart and rows 5 feet apart. The canes will fill in all the available spaces, and all you need to do is dig up those that venture out into the path.
How to Prune Raspberries
How to prune raspberries largely depends on the type of raspberries you’re growing. Summer-bearing plants are easy—when an individual cane bears fruit, you can cut it back to the ground after you’ve harvested all the fruit from it; individual canes bear fruit only once. Be sure to leave all the new canes that have yet to bear fruit—those will bear fruit next year.
Because fall-bearing raspberries will give you a second crop the following summer, you’ll want to wait to prune them back until the next autumn. Here’s a trick used by many raspberry growers: Instead of getting two crops, cut down the entire stand in early spring. The resulting growth will produce one big late crop—you’ll have an abundance of raspberries when everyone else’s canes are bare.
Raspberries grow 4-6 feet high; it isn’t necessary to trellis them as long as you have room for the canes to arch slightly as the fruit ripens. A small bed is fine for a freestanding raspberry patch. If you want to grow a row or two or you prefer a tidier look in the garden, install a wire fence with two or three vertical wires attached to T-bar posts at the ends of the rows so the canes grow up supported by wires on either side.
Harvest raspberries by gently tugging at the berries. They don’t keep well, so eat fresh or freeze.
You may see a misshapen raspberry—a berry that is drawn up on one side or another. That’s the result of poor pollination, which could be caused by a cold, wet spring. You might consider keeping mason bees, which emerge earlier than honeybees and do a great job at pollinating all sorts of plants, even in cool weather.
Powdery mildew is a common disease for raspberries; be sure to clean up all fallen fruits and leaves to keep the mildew at a minimum. This will also help control raspberry rust—a disease that produces rusty dots on the leaves.
Raspberries are one of the easiest, most rewarding, and most productive fruits to grow in the home garden. Once you know how to grow and care for raspberries, you’ll be providing the neighborhood with summer fruit.
- By Marty Wingate
How To Plant Raspberries: Care Of Raspberry Plants
Growing raspberry bushes is a great way to make your own jellies and jams. Raspberries are high in Vitamin A and C, so not only do they taste great but they’re good for you as well.
How to Plant Raspberries
If you want to know how to grow raspberries, you should first know that raspberries ripen shortly after strawberries. They prefer a sandy loam soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil should be well drained and have a pH of about 5.8 to 6.5.
Growing raspberries bushes also prefer sunshine, so they should be planted in an area that gets six to eight hours of sun a day. When do you plant raspberries? You can plant them in the early spring.
Another aspect to consider when planting is not locating them within 300 feet (91 m.) of any wild blackberry bushes. You should also
stay away from ground that has had tomatoes or potatoes growing in it within the past year or so. This is because wild blackberries, tomatoes and potatoes are prone to the same sort of fungus that the raspberry bush is prone to, and this precaution prevents your raspberries from catching the fungus.
Care of Raspberry Plants
When growing raspberries, make sure the ground is kept free from weeds. Also, make sure you water the bushes regularly. You can use a straw mulch to help keep the weeds under control.
When you take care of raspberry plants, you want to fertilize them twice a year the first year you plant them. After that, you can fertilize your growing raspberry bushes annually. You will use 2 to 3 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 foot (30 m.) of row. Scale that down if you are only planting a couple of bushes.
You will also need to prune raspberries as part of their care. Summer raspberries should be pruned twice a year. You will want to prune the growing raspberry bushes in the spring and right after you harvest the fresh berries. Everbearing red raspberries should be pruned twice a year because this provides two crops a season.
The care of raspberry plants sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really quite simple. You can train these bushes to grow along fences and even to climb up on trellises.
You will know your berries are ripe enough to eat when they are full of color. You can start sampling them daily until you get the right sweetness. Be sure to harvest your raspberries before the birds do!
Sharing is caring!
Raspberries can provide delicious sweet tart fruit for fresh eating, cooking and preserves such as jams and jelly. I can only speak for myself, but homemade raspberry jam is my favorite. It tastes nothing like the product you buy in the store – the raspberry flavor is much stronger. In this post I’ll share what I’ve learned about how to grow raspberries in northwest Wisconsin. I’ll also include information from the USDA Cooperative Extension Office. There are Cooperative Extension Office throughout the United States, and they are a great resource for information specific for your climate and location.
How to Grow Raspberries – The Basics
Raspberries come in a rainbow of colors – from yellow to red to purple to black. Only the yellow and red are hardy in Zone 3 where I garden. A well established, vigorous, disease and insect free planting should be able to yield 2500-3000 pounds of fruit per acre, and for the urban homesteader could be a source of income. If you want follow this dream I would recommend a “pick your own” planting because of the time involved in harvesting. Organic Raspberries get a premium price in farmers markets of $4 a pint, the down side is the shelf life is short. That goes for your harvest as a home gardener as well – you will need to pick at least twice a week to avoid fruit spoilage.
Raspberry Growing Requirements – Soil and Location
Where do raspberries grow?
Raspberries grow in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 8. In general raspberries like full sun. For more information our post on Plant Hardiness Zones and Microclimate – Creating Your Best Garden.
Choose Slightly Acid Soil
Being a perennial a well maintained raspberry patch can last for years. Raspberries grow best in full sun on well drained soil rich in organic matter. They like a slightly acid soil with a pH 6.0 to 6.8, but can tolerate a pH as low as 5.5 and as high as 7.5. Ideally, the soil should be tilled a year ahead, soil tested, and amended with organic matter such as worm castings, compost, or rotten manure and lime if the pH is 5.5 or below.
Avoid Planting Areas That May Harbor Diseases
When selecting a site, avoid garden spots where tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, or strawberries where planted in the last 3 years, they share many of the same diseases and could undermine your best efforts. It may seem like a good idea to plant where wild raspberries are already growing, but it is not. Wild raspberries can harbor disease and harmful insects that will move into your planting. (You may be wondering, “Why not simply grow wild raspberries?” Wild raspberries are *much* less productive than cultivated varieties.)
Promote Good Air Circulation
Good air circulation will help keep you plants healthy. Ideally raspberries should be planted on a slope or hillside with good air drainage like most other plants to prevent damage from late frost, something we deal with every year in the north. Also, your berry patch must have water. If you get a period without rain, you will need to supplement with a watering program, or the blossoms will dry up and end your harvest in as little as 10 days. (Editor’s note – I have successfully used a combination of soaker hoses and mulch in my patch in past years.)
Cultivate a Clear Border
Pick a spot where you can cultivate around the outside of the patch to keep rhizome grasses like quack at bay, or at the least where you can mow the grass short, this will make your maintenance much easier.
Two Types of Raspberry Plants – Summer Bearing and Fall Bearing
There are 2 categories of raspberries, summer bearing and fall bearing. Summer bearing raspberries produce one large crop between early July and August. Fall bearing raspberries (sometimes called Ever Bearing raspberries) produce a large crop in the fall and a smaller crop the next summer.
The difference between the two types is due to the fruiting cycles. Raspberries have perennial roots and crowns, but the above ground canes only live two summers. The new growth is called the “primocane”. On summer-bearing varieties, the primocane produces non-fruiting growth only. Fall bearing raspberries will produce fruit on the tips of the primocanes sometime after August 1st, and keep producing until a killing frost.
In the second summer the primocane that grew the last summer is now called a floricane. The floricane of summer bearing varieties will produce one large crop of berries and then die. In fall bearing cultivars the cane will set fruit on the lower half of the cane and then die.
When to Prune Raspberries
Removing dead canes and burning or getting them a good distance from your patch is the best way to keep your plants pest free, as some insects will over winter in the dead canes. Also by removing the dead canes you may remove diseased plants, giving the new growth a better chance.
I cut the canes back in the fall after they die back 100%, or if I don’t get to them I cut them early in the spring before they bud out.
Raspberries are self fruiting and do not need to cross pollinate. Most of the pollination (90%) is done by bees, so using any insecticide is a bad idea.
Vigorously growing raspberry patch.
I chose to grow the fall bearing variety for a couple of reasons. Old canes must be removed each year if you want to have a healthy planting. With fall bearing varieties, you simply cut the entire patch to the ground with a SHARP tool (such as a weed wacker blade attachment) to avoid damaging the crowns, which is quicker and easier than pruning individual canes. Also, the weather is cooler and rains come more often in the fall, so I don’t have to water as often to keep the harvest coming. The only down side is that an early hard frost can cut the harvest short.
When to Fertilize Raspberries
You should fertilize your raspberry patch early in the spring for maximum growth. Avoid fertilizing after August 1st so you don’t encourage new growth when the plant should be preparing for the winter, late season growth makes plants susceptible to winter damage. An established planting will need nitrogen for growth the new canes. Top dress the canes with composted manure or compost, and consider an organic granular fertilizer.
Mulching Your Raspberries
A 2 inch layer of mulch is very beneficial to your planting. Old silage, leaves, lawn clippings, wood chips, sawdust, wood shavings, or rye or sudan grass straw are free of weeds. All of them will help keep in moisture and add to the soils nutrients as they break down over time. If you use sawdust, you will have to add extra nitrogen because of the small particle size it will steal it from your soil. If you want to maintain paths between rows, multiple layers of cardboard under the mulch will slow down the raspberry runners.
Harvesting and Storing Raspberries
Ideally, raspberries should be picked into shallow containers because they crush and bruise easily. In dry weather they will be more durable. They will normally store a few days in the refrigerator, except under wet or very humid conditions, which will cause them to mold quickly. Do not wash them before storage, or they will become soft and mushy. If your patch is clean, don’t wash your berries. For nutritional information, freezing instructions, a red raspberry jelly recipe and information on preserving raspberry leaves, please visit Raspberry Storage and Health Benefits of Raspberries.
I hope you enjoyed this information on how to grow raspberries, and that you’ll consider growing your own home raspberry patch.
This post is by Laurie Neverman’s brother, Richard Poplawski. Since his service in the Marines, Rich has been a mechanic, fabricator and “fix just about anything” guy for over 20 years. He lives in northwest Wisconsin in the farmhouse that was owned by his grandparents, and maintains a large orchard and perennial plantings, as well as a vegetable garden. He loves spending time with his grandkids, introducing them to gardening or getting in some fishing with “Papa Rich”.
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- How to Make Low Sugar Raspberry Jam
- Raspberry Cream Pie
- Growing Blueberries – Quick Guide and Master Tips
See a full list of all our gardening articles on the Common Sense Gardening page.
Originally published 2013, updated 2016, 2018.