Raspberry Growing and Care Instructions
Ideally plants should be planted immediately, but can be held for several days. Do not open plastic bag until ready to plant, store them in a cool shady place. Care should be taken to avoid allowing the roots to dry out or overheat. Roots should be damp but not wet. Too much water will rot the roots. Do not soak plants or roots in water for more than ½ hour.
Raspberry crops can also be planted in raised beds or in 10 gallon or larger containers for optimum production and drainage. Soils should be prepared before planting and receiving your roots or plants. If you are growing in containers, use only potting soils that have excellent drainage. DO NOT use big box stores/ chain store potting mixes meant for flowers and vegetables, as it will kill raspberry plants. This includes not using any mix that contain moisture control components that hold extra moisture. Mix should contain at least 20% to 30% “grit” (i.e. pumice or perlite). Use low salt fertilizers meant for container growing. Thoroughly till the soil and eliminate perennial weed problems. An adequate supply of good quality water for irrigation is essential. Most established raspberry plantings have a dripline system installed. Overhead water until plants are well established.
Raspberry plants need at least 6 hours of full sun a day... do not plant in the shade or under a tree. Full sun is best.
Rows should go up and down the slope, not across the slope. Mound the row before planting to help with drainage. Have 7 to 10 feet between rows. Plants will fill in the row from root suckers, and are usually confined to a hedgerow about 2 feet in width with a 2-3 wire fence on each side of the row. Cut or mow down any canes that grow beyond the 2 foot row. The increased air flow and light will reduce fungus and insect problems.
In the extreme North, where growing seasons are short, row covers or plastic on hoops can be used to extend the season in the spring and fall. In areas with a cool spring, often the ever bearing (Primocane) varieties are cut to the ground in late winter to eliminate the spring berry crop. In cool spring areas there is not enough heat to produce a good sweet berry in the spring. This puts all of the energy of the plants into producing a larger fall crop.
In the extreme South (Gulf Coast - Arizona – Southern California), plantings should be away from buildings, solid fences, and anything that will block air movement. Shade cloth may be necessary to block the hot afternoon sun when temperatures are over 100 degrees.
Do not plant raspberries where there have been planted potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, mint or bulbs in the last 4 years without prior fumigation of the soil. These crops are hosts for the disease Verticillium Wilt, a fungus that can stay in the soil for many years and can infest the raspberry crop. Do not use composts that were made from these plants. If you have wild raspberries or old raspberry plantings, keep new plants away from the old plantings to prevent diseases from spreading to the new plants.
Rootstock and dormant bare root plants can be planted whenever the soil temperature is over 35 degrees and the daytime temperature is over 45 degrees. Growing plants can be planted when the soil temperature is over 40 degrees and the daytime temperature is over 55 degrees.
Raspberries need good soil fertility for optimum growth and production. Mulching with weed free compost or bark will improve the soil, hold in moisture and keep down weed competition. If you use just bark as a mulch, add extra Nitrogen fertilizer, as the decomposing bark will use the available N in the soil.
If you do not fertilize, your canes will not develop as they should. You can use chemical or organic fertilizer. If you use organic, make sure you use enough, since it has a much lower concentration. Fertilize yearly for best yields. Do not apply after mid August to avoid winter injury to tender shoots.
Do not mix chemical fertilizer into the soil or pile next to plants. Sprinkle fertilizer in a 2 foot wide band over the row, but do not apply within 2 inches from the raspberry canes or new shoots.
For a 100 foot row of summer bearing varieties apply 8# of 10-10-10 in the early spring and 6# of 10-10-10 45 days later.
For a 100 foot row of fall bearing varieties apply 4.5# of 10-10-10 in early spring, and repeat 45 days later, and again prior to fruiting.
Healthy plants will have dark green leaves...if your leaves start to turn light green or yellow, they are short of fertilizer. A soil test can determine if your soil is deficient of any micronutrients. The soil pH should be from 5.6 to 6.3.
A 2 or 3 wire fence on each side of the row should be installed to keep the canes upright when full of heavy berries. The lower wire would be 2 feet off the ground and the upper wire should be 3 1/2 foot off the ground. Use No. 10 or 12 galvanized wires stretched along posts 20 feet apart. Anchor or brace the end posts since they get most of the pull. We recommend that all raspberries be supported. Canes are usually cut back to 4 1⁄2 to 5 1⁄2 feet tall to increase berry size. Postpone cutting canes back or tipping them until late winter or early spring after the danger of hard freezes has passed.
Raspberries need at least 1 inch of water per week for fruit and plant growth. Water established plants 1 to 3 times a week depending on soil type and air temperatures. In hotter weather, water more. Drip irrigation works well for established plants, but not for newly planted rootstock or plants that need uniform overhead watering. Newly planted rootstock may need to be watered daily in hot weather until they are established.
The number of canes each plant can support is decided by soil fertility, moisture, and planting distance. Keep all good strong canes that each plant produces. This may mean 8, 10, (or with exceptionally good growing conditions), as many as 12 canes per 1 1/2 foot of row. Tie the canes to the top fence or trellis wire.
Training and Pruning Floricane (Summer Bearing) Varieties
- Bristol/ Munger
- Cascade Delight
Floricane (summer bearing) varieties carry one crop of fruit on two year-old canes during the summer months. After the first season's growth, tie canes to the first wire of the fence or trellis wire. In the following seasons, canes that have produced fruit should be cut out at the end of harvest. Canes should be cut as close to the soil as possible.
Training and Pruning Primocane Fall (Everbearing) Varieties
- Autumn Britten
- Fall Gold
- Joan J
Primocane fruiting (everbearing) varieties fruit on canes that come up each year. Fences or trellis keep the fruit off the ground and maintains good aeration of the planting for good disease control. Primocane varieties start fruiting in late summer and will produce until the first hard frost. When the crop is over and the canes have dropped their leaves, cut or mow all canes to the ground. If you want the canes to catch snow in the winter, do not cut down canes until late winter. Cut as close to the soil surface as possible, leaving no stubs. In warm spring areas a spring crop is also possible if you do not mow down in the fall or late winter.
If you have any further questions, you can give Larry a call at 541-990-6099.