Guide to Growing Raspberries
Discover how to plant and care for raspberries, making them a bountiful crop in your home garden.
The rich scent and taste of raspberries is the very essence of summer, and they are very easy to grow. Plant summer- and fall-fruiting types, and enjoy a plentiful harvest from high summer until the first frost.
How to Grow
Raspberries prefer a moist, slightly acid soil with a pH of about 6.0. They need a sunny site for the fruit to ripen, although they will tolerate some shade.
Raspberries are leggy plants, so put a support structure of posts and wires in place before planting. Plant bare root canes from late fall to late winter; container-grown plants can be planted at any time if kept well-watered afterward. Canes should be planted 16in (40cm) apart in rows spaced at 6 feet (2 m) intervals. Plant them shallowly to prevent the roots from rotting, and cut the tops of the canes back to 8 inches (20 cm) immediately after planting.
When the canes start to send out new shoots, the original cane can then be cut down to ground level. Raspberries need watering regularly during dry periods. Feed them in the early spring with a rose fertilizer containing iron and magnesium, or apply a mulch of well-rotted organic matter, such as garden compost, spread around the base of the canes.
Bare Root Canes
Bare root raspberries are usually sold during the fall and winter in bundles of 10–20 canes. This is a cheap way to buy a lot of plants, but they should be planted as soon as possible. To prevent damaging the roots and reduce planting stress, stand the bundle in water for an hour before unwrapping it.
- Summer-fruiting raspberries come into fruit mid-season and usually crop for about three weeks, depending on the variety grown. Try ‘Canby,’ ‘Encore,' ‘Lauren,’ ‘Reveille’ and ‘Tulameen’ varieties.
- Autumn-fruiting raspberries crop from late summer to the first frost. Like summer varieties, their berries can be red or yellow. Try ‘Autumn Bliss,’ ‘Double Delight,’ ‘Durham,’ ‘Joan J’ and ‘Polka’ varieties.
Raspberries are tall, rambling plants and need support throughout the growing season. For a single row of canes, tightly stretch three wires horizontally, spaced 30in (75cm), 3ft (1m), and 5ft (1.5m) above the ground, between two 8ft (2.5m) posts. For a double row, use two parallel wires, supported by cross-members, spaced 3ft (1m) and 5ft (1.5m) above the ground, and pulled taut between upright posts.
Watch Out for These Pests and Diseases
Raspberry beetle grubs cause the ripening fruit to dry up at the stalk end. Maggots may be found inside the fruits. Control by spraying with a suitable insecticide as the fruits begin to ripen.
Cane blight is a fungal disease that can affect raspberries, causing stems to brown and become brittle, and they may then snap off at the base. Destroy infected canes, and spray the rest with copper-based fungicide.