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How to Grow Raspberries & Blackberries

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How to Grow Raspberries & Blackberries

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Overview

Raspberries and blackberries (Rubus spp.) are common home-garden bushes that can bear fruit for up to 20 years. These bushes come in many different varieties, some of which are rather cold hardy and can grow in most climates. Although raspberry and blackberry bushes are perennial plants, the individual fruiting canes are biennial with only a two-year life span. Some raspberry varieties are everbearing, which means that they produce fruit in autumn on their first-year canes with a second crop on the same canes during the following summer.

Step 1

Select a planting site that has full, direct sunlight and fast-draining, slightly sandy soil. Ensure that the location has direct sun all day long.

Step 2

Prepare the planting bed by removing all debris, grass and weeds, and then loosening the soil to a depth of 6 to 12 inches using a pitchfork or rototiller. Spread 2 inches of organic compost onto the soil bed and mix it down into the soil.

Step 3

Spread 25 lbs. of granular 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer onto the soil bed per 1,000 square feet of planting area. Mix the fertilizer into the top 6 inches of soil.

Step 4

Plant the raspberry and blackberry bushes in early spring, after all chance of frost has passed. Dig planting holes for the raspberry bushes that are 2 feet apart in rows that are 8 feet apart and planting holes for the blackberry bushes that are 4 feet apart in rows that are 10 feet apart.

Step 5

Provide supports for your raspberry and blackberry bushes by inserting 8-foot-tall wooden posts beside each planting hole and burying the posts 2 feet deep into the soil. String a heavy-gauge wire along the posts about 4 1/2 feet above the ground.

Step 6

Plant the raspberry and blackberry bushes into the planting holes, setting them the same depth as or slightly deeper than they were planted in the nursery containers. Firm down the soil around the plants and water them deeply to soak the soil thoroughly.

Step 7

Water the raspberry and blackberry plants deeply and thoroughly once every week to soak the soil down to and around the roots. As the bushes grow, tie the fruiting canes to the wires using green stretchable training tape, which is available at most garden stores.

Step 8

Weed around the raspberry and blackberry bushes by shallowly hoeing or hand pulling. You can also spread a 3-inch-thick layer of leaf or bark mulch around the base of the plants to control weeds.

Step 9

Feed your blackberry and raspberry bushes once every year in early spring with 6 lbs. of 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer per 100 feet of bush row. Spread the fertilizer granules on the ground around the base of the bushes and water the soil thoroughly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant blackberry and raspberry bushes in wet areas where the soil doesn't dry quickly after spring rains, or near wild blackberries and raspberries. Also, don't plant the bushes in a location where eggplants, peppers, potatoes or tomatoes have grown in the past four years, because this can increase the chances of verticillium wilt disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Pitchfork or rototiller
  • Organic compost
  • Granular 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Wooden posts, 8 feet long
  • Heavy-gauge wire
  • Raspberry and blackberry plants
  • Garden hose
  • Green stretchable tape
  • Hoe
  • Leaf or bark mulch
  • Pruning shears

References

  • University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension: Growing Raspberries & Blackberries

Who Can Help

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Growing Raspberries and Blackberries
Keywords: grow raspberries blackberries, plant raspberry bush, growing blackberry shrub

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.

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