How to Take Care of Raspberry Plants

Overview

For most gardeners, the delicious fruit is the primary reason to grow raspberries in the home landscape, but it isn't the only reason. A healthy plant will offer protection for birds and wildlife, and if you pick the berries as soon as they ripen, there should still be enough fruit to share with hungry songbirds. Raspberries are also surprisingly low-maintenance plants, but they can spread quickly.The biggest challenge is keeping raspberries neatly pruned so they don't take over.

Step 1

Keep the raspberries free of weeds, which will rob the plants of much needed water. Once you've removed the weeds, put a thick layer of mulch such as peat moss, pine needles, straw or bark chips under the raspberries. Mulch will keep moisture in and will help keep weeds under control.

Step 2

Give the raspberry plants 1 to 2 inches of water each week. Don't allow them to dry out completely between waterings.

Step 3

Feed the raspberries twice a year for the first 12 months, and then scale back to once every year in the early spring. A good quality 10-10-10 fertilizer will have the best combination of nutrients for raspberries.

Step 4

Prune raspberries every spring, and again as needed throughout the growing season. Each raspberry bush shouldn't be allowed to expand more in 18 inches in width, so remove any canes that grow outside of that area as well as any canes that look weak, or that show signs of insect damage. Canes will only produce fruit one season, so remove any canes that have peeling, gray bark, as this indicates that the canes produced fruit last year. Raspberries are thorny, so be sure to wear gloves.

Step 5

Provide a trellis or a wall to support the canes that are left after you've finished pruning. Attach the canes to the trellis with string.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • 10-10-10 fertilizer
  • Garden clippers
  • Gloves
  • Trellis or other support structure
  • String

References

  • Growing Raspberries and Blackberries
  • Tips On How to Plant Raspberries and the Care of Raspberry Plants
  • Easy Care for Raspberry and Blackberry Plants
Keywords: raspberries, pruning, fertilizer

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a longtime writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the "East-Oregonian Newspaper" and "See Jane Run" magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.