When to fertilize raspberries?

Growing Raspberries!

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Steps to Success
  3. Planting Summary
  4. Video Guides
  5. Quick Tips
  6. View our Raspberry plants


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Summer Bearing

These varieties carry one crop of berries on the over-wintering canes during the summer months. Plants begin fruiting in early summer, and the season lasts approximately 4-5 weeks. More than one type of Summer Bearing (Early Season, Midseason, Late season, etc) will be needed to have fruit for the full 5 weeks. The plants may begin fruiting in June or July, depending on the zone and the seasonal weather.

Everbearing (Fall Bearing)

These varieties produce two crops: the largest is borne in the late summer/early fall on the tips of canes that grew through out the summer. A second crop is then carried lower on those same canes early the next summer. To have two crops, the planting must be pruned as a summer bearer.

Most everbearers will produce the best crop if NOT allowed to fruit in early summer. We recommend this approach.

Steps to Success

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Step 1 – Plan your Space

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Red and Yellow Raspberry Plant Spacing

Dig a narrow trench down the center of a 2 foot row, with the roots trailing along the trench.

Plants should be spaced 18-24″ apart.
Rows should be 8′-12′ apart.

After 6-8 weeks, new canes will grow up from the roots.

When planting becomes mature, cut or mow any canes that grow outside of the original two foot wide row.

Step 2 – Prepare your Planting Area

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Preparing your planting area for Red and Yellow Raspberries

Raspberries grow best in well-drained loam or sandy-loam soil, rich in organic matter. If organic matter is required, mix in some well-aged compost or manure a few weeks prior to planting or in the Autumn prior to planting.

Build raised beds if your soil is slow to drain after a
rain, or if you have heavier soil or clay soil. Check soil pH. Optimum pH: 6.5 – 6.8
Do not fertilize too close to your planting date.
Mix ½ lb – ¾ lb 10-10-10 per 100 sq. ft. at least
2 – 3 weeks prior to planting or the Fall prior to planting.
Trellising is advised for all bramble crops!
Access to water is important. Plants will need irrigation
at planting and throughout the growing season.

Step 3 – Plant your Raspberries

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Step 4 – Harvest your Raspberries

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Step 5 – Maintain your Raspberry Plants

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  • 1″ – 2″ rainfall or equivalent per week throughout the growing season.


  • Side–dress the row(s) with ¾ lb – 1 lb of 10–10–10 per 100 sq ft in the Spring Commercial growers should use 500 lbs per acre or fertilize according to soil test.
  • Occasionally test your pH and make amendments to keep the soil pH between 6.0–6.5.
  • Do not fertilize in the fall.


  • Regular cultivation is necessary during growing the season.
  • Roots are shallow–don’t cultivate more than an inch deep.
  • Contact your local extension for chemical recommendations.
  • We do not recommend mulching your raspberry plants after the establishment year.


  • We strongly recommend keeping plants supported by a trellis.


Ever–bearing (Fall–bearing) varieties

  • To have one highly productive Fall crop, mow or cut all canes to the ground in the early Winter or early Spring while the plants are dormant. Always leave as little stub as possible.
  • To produce an earlier crop as well as a Fall crop, prune as a Summer-bearing variety.

Summer-bearing varieties

  • After harvest, cut canes that fruited at the base of the plant. Leave as little stub as possible.
  • Cut weak damaged or diseased canes at the base.
  • Cut more canes if needed to leave 6–8 canes per running foot of row.

Click to print PDF of the Raspberry Steps to Success

Planting Summary

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  • 18″–24″ for reds and yellows; 20″–24″ for blacks
  • Recommend 8’–12’ between rows depending on machinery


  • Soak in water using Agri-gel™ for 1–2 hrs before planting except for TC plugs
  • Water thoroughly after planting
  • 1″–2″ rainfall or equivalent per week


  • Before planting add ½–¾ lb of 10–10–10 per 100 sq ft
  • Commercial growers should use 500 lbs per acre
  • An additional 1lb of 10–10–10 per 100 sq ft can be applied in July or August and in early spring in following years
  • pH: 6.0–6.5

Weed Control

  • Regular cultivation is necessary during growing season
  • Roots are shallow – don’t cultivate more than an inch deep
  • Mulching during establishments can help control weeds
  • Contact a local extension for chemical recommendations


  • We suggest plants are supported by a T-trellis

Video Guides

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Our videos are written and produced by Nate Nourse and are aimed at your success. You’ll find all our Video Learning Guides in our Video Library.

How to Plant

How to Plant Blackberry and Black Raspberry Plants

Digging and Packing Nursery Mature Plants

Making Nursery-Mature Plants

Quick Tips

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Healthy berry plants require these important elements:

  • Early planting! Plant as early as possible in the spring. Snow or occasional frost will not hurt most new plants (green tissue culture plants excepted), and spring rains will foster growth. Planting in the fall is not recommended in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • A sunny, weed-free location with at least a half-day of sunlight.
  • Clean beds that are frequently weeded.
  • Well-drained soil. For poor drainage conditions, consider raised beds.
  • Proper soil pH. Matching soil pH to plant requirements can be a huge factor in your success. Sample the soil before planting and contact your local cooperative extension office for assistance.
  • Crop rotation. Avoid planting strawberries or raspberries in soils where previous crops have included strawberries, raspberries, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant or peppers. These crops may harbor the soil pathogens Verticillium, Phytophthora and nematodes and may affect your new plants.
  • Irrigation. Maintain proper moisture levels throughout the season and, most importantly, during the establishment period. Drip irrigation is imperative when planting in raised beds.

Avoid Common Mistakes

  • Read free planting guide 1-3 months before planting.
  • Plants will fail to flourish if roots are too deep or too shallow.
  • Pack soil firmly around the roots.
  • Do not plant near wild plants or plants whose origins are unknown.
  • Water well one to three times a week, not every day.
  • Avoid fertilizer burn by fertilizing only after plants are established.
  • Do not soak plants in water more than 1 hour!

Raspberry Growing Guide


Raspberries are an ideal home plant for most temperature areas of New Zealand.

Two main types of raspberry plant are commonly grown: summer-fruiting and autumn-fruiting. Summer-fruiting varieties fruit on the previous years stems or canes, while autumn-fruiting plants produce fruit on the current seasons growth.

Early or mid-season ripening fruit varieties are usually the best bet to avoid berries coming on in the beginning of winter.

To ensure success, it is best to buy plants from a garden centre to establish the desirable characteristics.


Berries require a position in full sun to thrive – no sun equals little or no flavour.

Raspberries are a tall plant so choose an area in your garden away from strong winds, up against a fence on a north facing wall is a good option. A simple tee pee or pyramid system made from 3-5 straight branches is effective. Stakes, bamboo canes and trellis can be used as well.

The better the soil, the better your berries will grow. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Strawberry Mix, a high quality planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your berries with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season. Check plant labels for individual planting instructions. If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Strawberry Mix.

The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away.

Planting in garden beds

  • Water plants thoroughly before planting and allow to drain.
  • Add a layer of Tui Strawberry Mix to the area.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position in the centre of the hole.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Planting in pots and containers

  • Water plants thoroughly before potting and allow to drain.
  • Half fill your container with Tui Strawberry Mix.
  • Gently take the plant from the current container, loosen the root ball and remove any loose or dead plant material and roots.
  • Position your plant in the new container and fill with Tui Strawberry Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Gently firm the mix around the base of the plant.
  • The mix should be at the same level on the plant as it was in the previous container.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.


Feed your berries and they will feed you. Plants use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures your plants grow to their full potential.

Fertilise raspberries with Tui Strawberry Food in spring and autumn. For berries grown in containers use Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.

Rust on raspberries

Occasionally rust (yellow/orange spots on the leaves), can affect raspberries. Follow our advice here to control rust on your raspberry bushes.

Prune in winter to remove all wood, keeping 6-8 new seasons canes for the current season’s crop.
Birds love juicy raspberries, to avoid them stealing yours, put up netting to protect your raspberries once they start fruiting.
It pays to take good care of a raspberry bush, as the best brambles can survive in a garden for 20 years or more. Think how many ruby-red jars of jam that will make!

Growing Raspberries

We love growing raspberries. Raspberries do well in cooler climates. It takes a while to establish productive raspberry plants. Once they get established they produce for many years.

There are two types of raspberries: a June Bearer and an Ever bearer.

The June Bearers start producing fruit early in the summer. They produce fruit on last year’s growth. Pruning these raspberries take more time than the Ever Bearer.

The Ever Bearers produce fruit on this year’s growth. These raspberry plants produce fruit later in the summer. Easy to Prune!

For a detailed explanation on these two types of raspberries see Pruning Raspberries.
Soil Preparation
Planting Raspberries
Creating New Raspberry Plants
Building a Raspberry Trellis
Harvesting Raspberries
Harmful Insects and Diseases

Soil Preparation

Growing raspberries need rich, loamy, well-drained soil. Soil preparation is very important when planting raspberries.

Because raspberries are perennials, it’s harder to improve the quality of the soil from one year to another. This is why we recommend giving your raspberry patch a healthy head start by adding the following soil conditioners. It really helps to transform your clay soil into light, loamy, garden soil.

For each 25 foot row of planting add:

  • One large bag (4 cubic foot size) of Vermiculite
  • One large bag of Perlite
  • One large bag of Peat Moss
  • A liberal application of 16-16-16 inorganic fertilizer (½ – ¾ lbs. per 100 square feet)
  • Add elemental sulfur if you soil needs acidification (Western soils)

Rototill these into the soil.

Once the raspberry plants are established, you can add organic matter to top of the soil each Fall. But you can’t rototill these additions into the soil. With that said, we still recommend that you add organic matter to your raspberry patch each year.

As leaves, grass, manure, and other organic material decompose, the fertility and texture of the soil improves. See Types of Soil.

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Planting Raspberries

The raspberry rootstock should be planted in the early spring. This allows the roots to establish themselves before the weather gets hot.

Plant the raspberries about 18-24 inches apart in the row. The rows should be planted about 6 feet apart.

Evenly spread out the roots of the raspberry plants. The roots should not be covered with more than 1 ½ inches of soil. This is a very important step to implement. I’ve tried planting raspberry starts deeper than this, and the young plants don’t survive.

Keep the young growing raspberries well watered for the first month. Then keep them moist the rest of the summer. Don’t over water. See Garden Watering Systems.
Remember to keep your raspberry patch free of weeds. See Garden Weeds.

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Creating New Raspberry Plants

As the roots start to spread, the raspberries will send up new shoots between the rows. Dig up these shoots to create new raspberry plants. Expand your patch or share these new raspberry shoots.

If you don’t want to create new plants, you still need to remove the new shoots between the rows. Otherwise, the growing raspberries will overrun your patch. There won’t be any place to walk.

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Building a Raspberry Trellis

Build a trellis for your raspberries. Trellising your growing raspberries helps support the canes and keeps the fruit off the ground.

You can build a simple trellis using green steel posts. But any kind of post will work.

Put a row of post down each side of the raspberry plants. The raspberry plants will grow down the middle of this three-foot trellised area. The next three-foot spacing will be your walkway. In the next three-foot spacing you’ll plant your next row of raspberry plants, etc.

Set your posts every 8 – 10 feet. See Diagram.

String a row of twine 1 ½ feet off the ground and a second row of twine 3 feet off the ground. The growing raspberries lean on the twine as they get tall.

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It takes time for the roots of the raspberry plants to get established. You’ll get some berries the first year but not many. A larger crop will be produced the second year.

As the berries develop and mature, only pick the ones that are red. While the raspberries are in season, they need to be picked about 2 times a week. The season last about 2 months.

When the frost comes, you can cut the Ever Bearers off at the ground. If you have June Bearing raspberries, you can cut out all the canes that bore fruit this year. See Pruning Raspberries.

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Harmful Insects and Diseases

  • The Raspberry Cane Borer

“makes two girdles, each about an inch apart. The Insect lays its eggs in the cane between these two girdles . . . When the larvae hatches, it bores its way down the stem and wreaks havoc on the entire plant.”

If you have a healthy raspberry plant that withers and dies within a couple days, it probably has cane borer. Promptly remove the infected canes from the garden. Burn them or put them in the garbage can.

The chance of raspberries getting cane borer is reduced when you cut off all the Ever Bearing canes each fall. This is one reason we prefer the Ever Bearers.

  • Cholorsis: In alkaline soils, some raspberry plants become a little yellow because they can’t absorb the iron that’s in the soil. If this occurs you can spray the growing raspberry foliage with a good chelated iron (Ferriplus by Miller Chemical). You can also pour the mixture around the roots of the plants. I prefer spraying the plants because the solution is used more efficiently.

    If your plants are going to struggle with cholorosis, it will happen during the spring and early summer. The absorption of iron is essential in creating new foliage.

    Also, if you over water the raspberry plants, they have a hard time absorbing the iron in the soil. They will get yellow. Keep them moist but not soaking wet.

  • Fungal Root Rot: Another disease that may become a problem is fungal root rot. The canes don’t form properly. To control this, you can spray the raspberry plants with a fungicide in the early spring of the year.
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    About Fertilizing and Mulching Raspberry Plants

    Raspberry plants aren’t difficult to grow, provided you’ve done the basic preparation necessary to make sure they have the right environment. The right fertilizer is just as essential as choosing the right location and the right type of soil. Mulch is an important tool in your raspberry garden to keep weeds from leaching needed nutrients and water from the soil. Spend some time preparing the ground and you’ll be able to grow healthy plants with a high yield of raspberries.

    The Right Location

    Finding the right spot for your raspberry plants is as important as choosing the right fertilizer. You’ll be preparing the soil up to a year before you plant, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve chosen a good spot.
    Raspberry plants need well-drained soil and do best in sandy, loamy soil. The spot you choose shouldn’t remain soaked after a rain or have standing water. It must be a spot where there are no barriers to root growth, as raspberry roots can reach lengths of up to 4 feet. The spot should also be in full sun and well-ventilated while not windy. Don’t plant raspberries anywhere near wild berry bushes, or anywhere that eggplant, peppers, potatoes or tomatoes have been grow in the previous 4 years to avoid common berry viruses or root rot.

    Early Preparation

    You should start preparing the soil for your raspberry plants a year before you intend to plant them. This can be done by working compost and peat moss into the soil and removing all weed growth. You should test the pH level of the soil so that it can be adjusted as necessary. It should be somewhere between 5.6 and 6.5. There are different nutrient products that you can purchase from your garden supply store to add to the soil in order to raise or lower the pH level as needed.


    After you’ve planted, you can mulch your raspberry plants to inhibit weed growth. Weeds pull moisture and nutrients away from the soil and your plants.

    Mulch does increase the risk of wintertime damage to your plants because it delays the plants going dormant in the fall. If you tend to have very cold temperatures early in the wintertime or very brutal winters, you may opt not to mulch at all and instead manually remove weed sprouts as you see them.
    Otherwise, straw, bark, pine needles or even rotting leaves can be used as mulch around the base of the plants.


    A nitrogen fertilizer like a 10-10-10 fertilizer needs to be applied when the plants start to bloom and then after the first fruit harvest. Raspberry plants may not fruit the first year but fertilizer should be applied twice as if they had once after planting and once late in the season with 5 pounds per 100 feet at each fertilization as a good rule.

    Maintaining Raspberries

    Tino Carnevale

    TINO CARNEVALE: I want to give you a couple of tips on raspberries. Now I planted these about 6 months ago from canes that were given to me by mates. Now I planted them in rows, but some of the suckers have crept into the gaps, so I’m going to dig them out and replant them in the areas where the canes didn’t take.

    Get your shovel in as deep as you can to try and save as much root as possible, but you don’t have to be too delicate about it, cause raspberries are pretty tough.

    If your canes are going to be out of the ground for any length of time, especially on a hot day, it’s a good idea to put them in a bucket of water with a little bit of seaweed solution added, just to stop them stressing.

    I’m digging the hole deep enough – not just to cover the roots, but also a couple of centimetres of the stem. That way, the plant will form more roots and be able to deal with dry conditions better.

    After planting, I like to apply a generous dose of organic matter – in this case composted manure. I’m putting manure around all these raspberries – not just the transplanted ones. It will help improve this rather hard soil and also give them a bit of a feed.

    To really give my raspberries a bit of sparkle, I’m going to add half a kilogram of potash to about a third of a bucket of blood and bone – then just mix them through and apply as a top dressing.

    It’s important to water in your transplanted raspberries and keep the water up to them while they’re getting established. Now these won’t be going into the compost bin. They’ll be going to family and friends. It’s a travesty to waste something as good as a raspberry.

    COSTA GEORGIADIS: The beachside suburb of Balnarring, about an hour out of Melbourne, isn’t where you’d expect to find a garden filled with Western Australian natives. Here’s John with more.

    Raspberries are a favorite summertime fruit produced by perennial bushes that are easy to grow and maintain. Plants naturally flourish in cooler climates, and through a century of cultivates and crosses several varieties are suitable for a range of hardiness zones. Good site selection, a bit of pruning and soil amending results in healthy raspberry beds that fruit for decades!

    Raspberry patches are a source of flower nectar for pollinators and serve as effective property boundaries. Berries are rich in vitamin C, manganese, flavonoids and antioxidants. They are a perfect ingredient for desserts and salads!

    Select a raspberry variety to grow based on your climate. Summer-bearing varieties are most common, tolerant of harsh winters and produce an annual summertime crop. Everbearing varieties are more suitable for warmer climates and can produce both a summertime and an additional fall crop.

    Quick Guide: Planting, Growing & Harvesting Raspberries

    1. Select a variety suitable to your climate
    2. Plant in well-draining areas with full sun and good air circulation to prevent molds
    3. Maintain soil acidity (pH 5.5 to 6.5) to avoid iron deficiency
    4. Give plenty of space for plants to grow out into “beds” and provide vertical support
    5. Plant 500′ from wild berry patches and do not plant near Verticillium-host plants
    6. Prune annually to increase yields and amend soils, as needed
    7. Pick berries when ripe and store at low temperatures


    Soil Amendments

    Planet Natural offers the organic amendments that your plants need to thrive.

    View all Get your gardens off to a great start and keep them productive with premium quality soil amendments. Need advice? Our Soils Blog provides the ideas, information and practical experience you need to get the job done right.

    How to Plant

    ​Select a site with rich, deep soil that drains well​, as water-saturated soils can suffocate plants and cause crown gall and molding. Plant in full-sun; raspberries can tolerate partial shade, but may reduce harvest. Afternoon shade may be needed in warmer climates with high UV.

    Raspberries prefer acidic soils. A pH of 5.5-6.5 helps prevent iron and manganese deficiencies and annual amending to maintain appropriate acidity may be needed.

    Weeds compete for water, nutrients and light. Manually pulling weeds is best​ or ​spot treat with ​a good organic herbicide between canes​,​ and mulches contribute to rodent infestations, which can damage plants.

    A few weeks prior to planting, till beds and prepare with 1-2″ of organic compost or well-rotted animal manure. Raspberries are sold as either bare root or container grown plants. Transplant bare root plants to outdoor beds 4-6 weeks prior to last frost. Transplant potted plants in late spring after last frost, with crowns 1-2″ above ground. Plants may produce fruit the first year after planting, but more likely will produce fruits the second year.

    Allow raspberries space to fill out into “beds.” Space rows at least 5′ apart, and plant summer-bearing varieties 2′ and everbearing varieties 4′ apart. Plant near a vertical support, such as a trellis or fence.

    Pruning and Fertilizing

    Raspberry plants are perennial shrubs that need annual pruning. In early spring, remove all dead, damaged or weak canes (branches) prior to bud swell. In late summer, pinch new cane tips that are at 4-5′ in height to promote load-bearing branches.

    Everbearing varieties produce a heavier fall crop with summer tip-pruning. Summer-bearing varieties sucker (grow from roots and lower stems) and need annual pruning of suckers to promote hearty harvests.

    Use an all-purpose organic fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorous and do not fertilize later than June. Reduce pH of alkaline soils with humus, peat, pine needles or an organic fertilizer specifically designed for acid-loving plants. Iron deficiency in raspberries manifests as yellowing leaves, because plants are not producing insufficient chlorophyll; saturate soil with chelated iron, as needed.

    Harvesting and Storage

    Tangy raspberries are ready for harvest in early summer and fruit for about two weeks. They should be picked when fully red and ripe. Berries have a short shelf life of only 2-3 days. To slow decay, harvest in early morning, store berries at low temperatures soon after harvest and be sure to remove decaying berries from the crop.

    Pest and Disease Problems

    Raspberries are susceptible to a host of diseases. Plant beds at least 500′ from wild patches and use caution when transplanting from existing beds, as diseases will spread into new beds.

    Raspberry plants are vulnerable to Verticillium wilt, a pathogen transmitted by potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cotton, petunias, roses and other ornamental bulbs. Verticillium can live in soil for years, and soils must be fumigated prior to planting to kill spores.

    Birds, cane borers, spider mites and Japanese beetles are common pests of neighborhood berry patches. Learn how to identify these unwanted visitors and use proven, organic methods to get rid of them. Remember – store bought raspberries are among our most pesticide-laden fruits, with 58% of fruits tested registering positive for contamination. The peace of mind knowing that the sweet, juicy fruits you harvest contain no chemical residues… priceless!

    How to Grow Raspberries

    Raspberries are perennial plants with woody stems. They are edible fruits of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus (rose family).

    Most of the species bear fruits immediately after planting (especially if planted in autumn) and reaches full yield in the third year. Some varieties and hybrids have berries one or several times a year, live on average 8-14 years and can achieve up to age 20 years old – even more if canes are properly pruned and older ones are replaced by new ones. Raspberries grow as a shrub with a height up to 3.5 m.

    Due to long life span, when grown in backyard garden, some careful planning must be done, prior planting.

    Today, there are almost 200 known species of raspberries, with numerous subdivisions, among which the most important is according to the color of the fruits:

    – Red Raspberries
    – Black Raspberries
    – Purple Raspberries
    – Blue Raspberries
    – Golden or Yellow Raspberries

    Also, raspberries were crossed with other berries, creating interesting hybrids like:

    – Loganberries
    – Boysenberries,
    – Tayberries

    Proper Growing Conditions for Raspberries

    For raspberries to grow normally, low temperatures are required during winter – about -7°C (-19°F) and below. Shoots can withstand temperatures as low as at -20°C to -25°C (-4 to -13°F), while the root system is little bit more sensitive – it can withstand temperature from -10°C to -15°C (14 to 5°F), without winter cover (snow will do fine). In spring, raspberries bloom rather late, so frosts rarely cause damage to the flowers.

    If the soil is not sufficiently moist during growth, yield is reduced, root system becomes weak and produces a small number of under-developed, weak canes.

    Raspberries are not very picky plants, but regardless if they are grown on plantations or in home garden, they will thrive in loose, slightly acidic (pH about 6) soil, rich in humus (above 3%). The root system grows up to 1m (3 feet) in depth, but the most of the roots is between 15 and 40 cm (6 and 16 inches). Raspberries like moist soil, but not the soggy one – groundwater must not be closer to the surface less than 0.90 to 1 m (3 feet).

    If you have issues with high groundwater, raised beds are recommended solution.

    Raspberries are easily grown in larger flower pots – 60cm (2 feet) flower pot is large enough for 2-4 raspberry plants (depending on variety, growing conditions etc.). Just be sure to plant good plants into suitable soil and to water regularly, if possible with rainwater.

    In warmer areas, raspberries prefer northern sides of hills because it is colder, moister and moisture loss is slower. Altitudes of 400-800 meters are best suited for growing raspberries. The soil should be clean of weeds and rocks.

    One month prior planting raspberry plants, soil should be fertilized with manure and mineral fertilizers. Be sure to check pH of soil and if needed, adjust it. Also, adding humus is recommended since it slowly decompose and slowly release nutrients to the plants, keeps proper pH and improves soil in general.
    Proper amounts of N (nitrogen), P (Phosphorous) and K (Potassium) are very important for optimal growth. Home gardeners rarely have issues with raspberry fertilization, since their goal is growing healthy and great tasting fruits, with maximum yield being not so important.

    However, even home gardeners should know thing or two about NPK fertilizers for berries.

    Nitrogen (N)

    Basic indicators of nitrogen low levels are:

    – thin and weak canes that are easily bent,
    – the leaves are light green in color with reduced leaf blades,
    – plants develop little flower buds,
    – fruits are small and underdeveloped.

    On the other hand, if the plant gets too much nitrogen, it grows too large, but weak, young canes grows too strong in relation to older ones, often overshadowing them. Also, production is reduced, fruits are lighter, with dull colors and bad taste. Such plants have lower resistance to cold and various diseases.

    Therefore, it is necessary to find the optimum value – by observing the plants or by testing the soil using test kits.

    Phosphorus (P)

    Phosphorus is also very important nutrient for proper growth of raspberries. Plants that grown on soil rich in phosphorus bloom earlier, have higher yields and grow healthier in general.

    Plants that grown on soil lacking phosphorus grown poorly, especially in areas with a lot of lime in the soil.

    Potassium (K)

    Potassium is the most important element for growing raspberries. Optimal potassium content is essential for:

    – proper fruit size,
    – proper color and aroma
    – overall health of raspberry plants.

    Also, potassium increases resistance to stresses caused by drought, cold and diseases. Symptoms of potassium deficiency are mostly:

    – yellow leaves with chlorosis,
    – leaf edges are purple (brown later),
    – leaves tend to bend down, with the dry edges extending upward.

    It is really hard to expect raspberries to grow normally and have great tasting fruits in such conditions, right?

    It is recommended that potassium should be in the form of sulfate, since raspberries are very sensitive to chlorine.

    Magnesium (Mg )

    Magnesium deficiency occurs in acidic soils or soils with high amount of active lime. Magnesium is very mobile within the plant and its lack is easily observed on both new and old leaves.

    Chlorosis and leaves discoloration in general with upward curving of the leaves edges are main symptoms of magnesium deficiency in raspberries.

    Recommended dose of MgO are 6-10 g per square meter, in the first two years.

    Note that too much of ammoniac N or K prevents the absorption of magnesium.

    All of these issues are enough reasons for me to grow my raspberries using fertilizers optimized for berries in soil mixed by me – this is of course possible in small gardens, when price of produced fruits is not important.

    Planting of Raspberry Plants

    It is very important to get new plants from established growers and garden centers/nurseries. Only healthy new plants can guarantee success with raspberries.

    Choose variety according to your position, growing conditions and needs.

    Support system depends on the variety used, but the most commonly used is based on wooden and/or concrete poles, up to 2.5 m (8 feet) in height, 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) thick, with galvanized wire in three to four rows. Again, height and number of wires depend on the planted variety.


    Maintenance of planted raspberries mostly consists of tillage (removing the weed, breaking the crust to reduce evaporation) and irrigation. Fertilization depends on the growing conditions, varieties, density of plants etc., but generally:

    – in the autumn, add NPK 7:14:21, around 50g per square meter, some manure and humus,
    – in the spring, add nitrogen fertilizer, around 60g per square meter, twice; manure once, if required; humus from time to time.
    – MgO and Fe if required.

    Personally, I add dried chicken/cow manure in the autumn, with some humus and in the spring and summer I add fertilizer for berries with humus – plants are happy, me too 🙂

    Raspberries should be pruned until middle of the May (depends on location, of course) – remove two-year canes, one-year redundant canes and anything that is damaged or ill. Canes bearing fruits should be cut to the height of 1.2-1.5 m (4-5 feet).

    Harvesting Raspberries

    Raspberry ripens in late June or around 25-30 days from flowering with harvest lasting 15 to 30 days. The difference between early and late varieties is 8-10 days, sometimes more. Raspberries are harvested when the fruit gets its characteristic color and when fruit can be easily separated from the plant.

    Berries are harvested every second or third day from the same plant – with sufficient plants and with various varieties, home garden can supply fresh raspberries on a daily basis for longer period of time.

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