How To Grow Raspberries

PLANT TYPE: Perennial
ZONE / HARDINESS: Hardy to zone 2
MATURE PLANT SIZE: 36 to 60 inches high x 24 to 36 inches wide
LIGHT: Full Sun
SOIL TYPE: Rich well drained, sandy loam
pH RANGE: 5.5 to 6.5
KNOWN PESTS: Raspberry cane borer, raspberry fruitworm, red-necked cane borer, and Japanese beetle
KNOWN DISEASES: Mosaic virus, orange rust, anthracnose, cane blight, spur blight, crown or cane gall, and verticillium wilt.



Raspberries are one of the most popular small fruits, second only to strawberries. Red raspberries grow best in areas which have mild winters and cool summers.

Well-maintained rows should continue cropping for ten years, so prepare the soil well before planting for the years ahead. Raspberries simply require an open sunny site, preferably on well-drained, slightly acid soil. Avoid chalky and alkaline soils that can lead to poor growth and yellowing leaves.


Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3 degrees C and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.


Raspberries must be kept free of weeds, watered when necessary, fertilized, pruned as required, kept free of insect and disease pests, and in some cases, supported with a trellis. A mulch of straw, sawdust, or other appropriate material can be very helpful for weed control, and soil moisture conservation in the raspberry plantings where soil drains well. Do not mulch soils that retain moisture as this can cause and worsen phytophthora root rot and/or verticillium wilt in raspberries planted in poorly drained soils.

For the years after planting, raspberry plants need to be fertilized twice a year. The fertilizer should be spread in the row area once in the spring before growth begins in March, and one more time in May.


It is very important to understand the terms used to describe various parts of a raspberry plant before attempting to prune raspberries. Raspberry canes are of two types, primocanes and floricanes. Primocanes are first year canes while floricanes are second-year fruiting canes.

Summer red raspberries should be pruned twice a year, first in the spring and immediately after final harvest. The spring pruning, in late March or early April, consists of removing all weak canes and cutting back tall canes (over 5 feet) to 4.5 to 5 feet. The second pruning consists of the removal of canes that produced fruits, right after last harvest.

Everbearing red raspberries can be pruned to produce fruit once a year or twice a year. If you follow the pruning methods used for summer red raspberries, they will produce fruit once in spring and once in fall. However, many home gardeners and commercial growers mow or cut all canes to the ground in early spring to reduce work load and save time. Raspberries pruned this way will produce only one crop starting in mid summer and continuing until late summer.

Black and purple raspberries are pruned three times a year: in the spring, summer, and after fruiting. First pruning is done in spring when lateral branches are cut back to 8 to 10 inches in length in mid-March. Second pruning is called tipping or heading of new canes or primocanes. When grown without supports, summer tipping is done when black raspberry canes reach 24 inches in height and when purple types reach 30 inches. Tipping is done by removing the top 2 to 3 inches of new shoots as they develop. Third pruning involves the removal of canes that produced fruits, right after the harvest.


LATE WINTER / EARLY SPRING: – (Before Budding)

  • Prune all canes that bore fruit last year; they will not produce fruit again. These will have grayish-brown, peeling bark.
  • Remove any canes that have grown outside the 12 – 18 inch designated row area – this will prevent spreading.
  • Remove any spindly, weak looking or short canes.
  • Thin so that there is about 4 to 6 of the healthiest, tallest and fattest canes left per foot along the length of the row.
  • To force your everbearing raspberries to produce only one crop in the fall, prune back the entire raspberry bush in early spring. As the canes grow back in the summer, remove outside suckers and thin the canes to about 6 inches apart. Keep the sturdiest canes. This technique will give you a larger fall harvest and is good if you also have summer bearing raspberry bushes and you want to stagger the harvests.


  • Prune dead, broken or diseased canes.
  • Prune any canes that poke up outside your designated row area.



A trellis can help make the crop easier to manage and keep the canes off the ground so that berries are cleaner and easier to pick. A trellis can be constructed with posts at 15 to 20 foot intervals with cross arms to support wires placed 24 to 28 inches apart. The wires should be about 36 inches high for red raspberries and 40 inches high for the black and purple types.


Pick raspberries as they ripen (every few days once they begin to ripen). Ripe berries will pull off the stem with very little effort. Berries that squish easily, or fall off the stem, are over-ripe.


Raspberries can be used in a variety of appealing ways. The fruit can also be used to make delicious jams, jellies, pies, and other desserts. Besides their excellent flavor, raspberries are a nutritious food with vitamins A and C. In addition, raspberries contain a natural substance called ellagic acid, which is an anti-carcinogenic compound.


Do not plant raspberries within 300 feet of any wild blackberry or wild raspberry plants and in areas where tomatoes, potatoes, or eggplants have been grown previously.



Nova Raspberries

Hardy to Zone 2
A virtually thornless raspberry that produces bright red berries. Harvest starts early in the season. A very nice flavour, slightly tart. Produces tasty raspberries perfect for jams, preserves or eat straight off the plant. Will bear fruit in the second year of growth.

Boyne Raspberries

Hardy to Zone 2
A reliable very hardy raspberry. Boyne raspberries produces dark red, medium sized fruit. Produces tasty raspberries perfect for jams, preserves or eat straight off the plant. Will bear fruit in the second year of growth.

Fall Gold Raspberries

Hardy to Zone 2
Yellow raspberries! This variety produces top quality yellow berries that have a slight pink blush to them and exceptional flavour. Fall gold raspberries are ideal eaten fresh. Harvest in late August. Produces tasty raspberries perfect for jams, preserves or eat straight off the plant. Will bear fruit in the second year of growth.

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