Raspberry Growing Tips: Detailed Guide

Raspberries are one of the simplest and most rewarding fruits you can grow at home. With these simple Raspberry growing tips, you can find out everything you need to know about growing this delicious fruit! Also, we will find out how to grow raspberries from seed and how to prune raspberries.

growing raspberries at home
fresh red raspberries in trays

Raspberries are one of the simplest and most rewarding fruits you can grow at home, not to mention they smell amazing. They are a great source of fiber and vitamin C and contain many other important vitamins and minerals as well.

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They are easy to grow and don’t require much looking after. With raspberries growing in your backyard, the possibilities are almost endless: you can make raspberry jam, raspberry liqueur, eat them with your ice-cream, put them on a fancy cake, or even enjoy a basic fresh bowl of raspberries and cream. They are low in calories so you don’t even have to feel guilty about it!

With these simple growing tips, get everything you need to know about growing raspberries and soon you’ll be growing enough to feed the whole neighborhood!

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Varieties of Raspberry

Before checking out Raspberry growing tips, let us see the variety of Raspberry available.

Raspberry Growing Tips
an assortment of the different types of berries

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’).

Red raspberries are usually stronger, harder and more productive than the black and yellow raspberry plants. Red raspberries are native to Europe and northern Asia and cultivated in temperate areas worldwide. Most US raspberries are grown in California, Washington and Oregon.

These are the two main varieties:

  1. Summer-fruiting raspberries

These are generally more common; they develop their fruit on last year’s growth and bear one crop per season, in summertime (usually June or July)

  • Ever-bearing raspberries 

Also called fall bearing or autumn bearing, these produce berries on new canes. They bear a fall crop and can also produce fruit the following summer.

A mix of both types of berries would be the perfect way to maximize the harvest period.

Raspberry growing tips

Now, we will see how to grow Raspberry in your garden. Let us check out the Raspberry growing tips like growing conditions, how to plant, how to care, prune raspberries, care Raspberry diseases, etc.

Growing Conditions

Raspberries are a self-fertile fruit and don’t require much to grow.  They’re best pollinated by bees and will start producing fruit a year after planting.

  • The best time to plant them is early spring after threat of frost has passed. Spring plants will generally grow better and may also give you a few berries their first summer
  • In mild areas, you could also plant in late autumn to give the plants a head start
  • Raspberries grow best in sunny areas but unlike many fruits, they will also grow successfully in a partially-shaded spot. The more sun, the more fruit. Ideally, they should be planted in an area that gets six to eight hours of sun a day
  • They need rich and well-drained soil, good air circulation and shelter from the wind
  • Avoid a wet area as raspberries do not like to stand in water
  • They prefer sandy loam soil that is rich in organic matter. If you have acidic soil, you will also need to add some lime, because raspberries prefer a soil pH of around 6.0.
  • If you have rich, deep soil that drains well year-round, you can simply plant your raspberries in a permanent garden site
  • You should also make sure to stay away from a 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.

How to plant and grow raspberries from seed

raspberries at home
raspberries hanging by a branch

Inspect your ground, making sure the area meets the growing conditions stated above. Also, make sure that the ground is free from weeds. Have on hand some well-rotted manure, compost, organic fertilizer, a water source, and some mulch. Drip irrigation is usually the best way to water raspberries, however, there are other options available too.

  • Dig a hole that has enough room for the roots to spread. It should be at least 1 foot deep and wide per plant. If you’re planting multiple bushes, it’s easiest to dig a trench
  • Put a handful each of rotted manure and fertilizer in the hole and add some water
  • Before planting, soak the roots for an hour or two
  • Whether you’re planting bare-root or potted plants, keep the crown of the plant 1 or 2 inches above the ground
  • Canes should be spaced 18 inches apart, with about four feet between rows
  • Carefully tuck the soil around and over its spread roots to make a small depression or basin at the surface, a place for rainfall to accumulate
  • Sprinkle some more rotted manure in this depression to provide a head start for growth, then cover the ground around the plants with your mulch, no more than 3 inches deep
  • Once the canes are planted, cut them down to 9 inches tall to encourage new growth
  • Depending on the variety you plant, you may need to create a support to hold up canes. Many grow to head-height

Plant far from wild growing berries, otherwise you risk spreading wild pests and diseases to your newly cultivated berry plants.

Care

  • Every year, feed your raspberry plants with one or two inches of compost or aged manure; dig in a couple of weeks before planting
  • Fertilize them twice a year the first year you plant them. After that, you can fertilize your growing raspberry bushes annually. Using homemade organic fertilizer allows the plants to receive the nutrients they need
  • You can use 2 to 3 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizers per 100 foot of row. Scale that down if you are only planting a couple of bushes
  • Raspberry plants need an essential amount of nitrogen to grow to their full 6 or 7 feet, but you should stop pushing high-nitrogen fertilizer on them as the fruiting time approaches. At this time, the plants must focus on producing fruit instead of leaves
  • Mulching is important throughout the season to lock in moisture and kill weeds. Keep a thick layer of mulch surrounding plants at all times
  • Water one inch per week from spring until after harvest. Regular watering is preferred over infrequent deep soaking
  • Keep your raspberry bushes tidy by digging up any canes that grow well away from the rows; if you don’t dig them up, they’ll draw nutrients away and you’ll have fewer berries the following year
  • To keep your plants healthy and productive, make sure they don’t dry out in the summer. Damp in summer, dry in winter – it’s the way to go!

How to prune raspberries

All raspberries will need pruning annually! They should be pruned immediately after picking. Even though raspberries are perennials, it’s important to recognize that their branches or canes, which bear the fruit, live for only two summers.

The primary aim of pruning is to get rid of older canes in favor of newer canes that will produce fruit. In late summer, some of your newly planted canes will begin to fruit at the top of the cane and continue into the fall. In the early spring of the following year, while the plants are still dormant, it’s time to prune them.

The common method of pruning ever bearing raspberries is simply to cut all of the canes down to about 1 inch from the ground. Though it’s an easy way to go, this method removes the July crop. Fruiting doesn’t begin until early fall – the reason some raspberry growers call everbearing raspberries “fall bearing”.

Because fall-bearing raspberries will give you a second crop the following summer, you can wait to prune them back until the next autumn. Instead of getting two crops, prune back all of the canes to the ground in late winter or early spring. The resulting growth will produce one big late crop, which is usually larger than the two smaller crops combined, and you’ll have an abundance of raspberries when everyone else’s canes are bare.

Everbearing raspberries should be pruned twice a year because this provides two crops a season. You can train these bushes to grow along fences and even to climb up on trellises. 

Summer-bearing plants are easy and also should be pruned twice a year. 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 only produce fruit once. Make sure to leave all the new canes that have yet to bear fruit as they’ll produce berries next year. You will want to prune the growing raspberry bushes in the spring and right after you harvest the fresh berries.

It is important to note that this plant produces berries on two-year-old canes while one-year-old canes grow right beside them. You shouldn’t have trouble being able to differentiate which is which; the older canes have brown stems and the young ones are still green. Prune only the older ones, the ones that have finished their fruitful year.

Tie the leftover canes to the supporting wires with garden string. There should not be any more than one cane every four inches of wire, so make sure to cut down extra ones.

Pests and diseases

Since Raspberries are not very high maintenance to grow, it comes as no surprise that they are one of the few fruits that are rarely bothered by pests and diseases. However, it is interesting to note that black raspberries are more prone to this type of damage than red or purple. Here are some pests and diseases that you should protect your berries from:

  • From June through August, keep an eye out for spider mites and Japanese beetles
  • Rabbits love to eat the canes in winter. To prevent rabbit damage, you can build a chicken wire fence
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Cane Borers

A few diseases you may experience are fruit rot, root rot, and spur blight. Fruit rot is a fungus that sets in when canes are too crowded. The cure is to prune for openness and to pick frequently in wet weather. Avoid overhead watering and prune out fruiting canes after harvest.

Root rot results in the sudden death of the plant right after flowering, when the weather turns warm. The only solution is to plant resilient varieties in well-drained, rich soil.

Powdery mildew is another common disease for raspberries; be sure to clean up all fallen fruits and leaves, so that the mildew is at a minimum. This will also help control raspberry rust, which is a disease that produces rusty dots on the leaves.

Harvest

fresh raspberries ready to eat
fresh raspberries in a cup along with flowers etc.

It is important to ensure that picking raspberries should only be done when they are completely ripe. Berries don’t ripen further once harvested. Size, color and ease of removing from the cane are indicators of whether they are fully harvested; however the best way to find out if they are ready is by tasting them. When in doubt of a berry’s readiness, leave it on the vine for a day or two to ensure it is fully ripe.

During early summer, berries will ripen over a time of about 2 weeks. You will need to pick berries every couple of days in this time.

The best time to pick berries is as early in the morning as possible. Try to harvest berries on a sunny day, when they are dry. If they are still drenched with dew or rain, let them dry prior to picking to lessen the chances of molding.

Be gentle while plucking them from the cane and place, don’t drop them, into a container. A shallow container will help you make sure that you don’t squash all the berries on the bottom with the weight of the harvest atop.

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When you are done picking for the day, put them in the refrigerator. Don’t wash them until just before you’re ready to eat them since the moisture makes the berries degrade at a fast rate. Don’t store the berries for more than a few days, that is, if you haven’t eaten all of them already! With these raspberry growing tips, you are set to go and grow yourself some raspberries! Make sure to buy healthy plants and give them ample space and sunlight when planting. We guarantee you; it is totally worth it and you will devour your raspberries after all the hard work. Happy growing!