How to Take Care of a Raspberry Plant

Overview

Raspberries are commonly used in baked goods and in jams, jellies and syrups, and they also make a great summer snack. The popular berries can be grown successfully throughout much of the United States provided home gardeners take the time to properly care for and maintain the plants. Dozens of cultivars are available, each with its own particular needs. When purchasing plants make sure the ones you choose are suitable for your climate.

Step 1

Select a site for growing your raspberry plants. Raspberries require full sun--six to eight hours a day--and do best in a well-drained soil. Optimal soil pH for raspberries is between 5.6 and 6.2.

Step 2

Dig a hole for planting that is large enough to accommodate the entire root structure. Plants should be planted at the same depth they were grown at the nursery. Place the plant in the hole gently and allow the roots to spread out.

Step 3

Fill the hole in with the surrounding soil, tamping it down firmly to make sure all the air pockets are removed. If air pockets remain in the soil, the plant may not grow and thrive.

Step 4

Water the raspberry plants immediately after planting so they can begin to thrive in their new location. Continue to water the plants regularly for the first two to three weeks after planting and then as necessary during the growing season when no rain is forecast.

Step 5

Place mulch around the base of the plants to prevent weed growth and help the plants retain moisture. Sawdust and straw can also be used as mulch.

Step 6

Construct or install a trellis to support the plants. A trellis can be made by installing posts every 15 feet to 20 feet and placing support wires 24 inches to 28 inches apart.

Step 7

Apply fertilizer to the plants 10 days after planting and again 40 days after planting. Use a 10-10-10 fertilizer and follow the manufacturer's directions as to how much to apply to the plants.

Step 8

Prune the plants regularly. How often to prune depends on the variety. Prune summer raspberries each spring, and following the harvest each year prune the floricanes (fruit-bearing canes). Black raspberries and purple raspberries should be pruned in the spring and summer and again after the harvest, when the fruit-bearing canes should be removed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant raspberries where tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes or other cane-producing berries have grown in the past three years. This makes the plants more susceptible to pests and disease.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel or shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Trellises or posts and wire to build trellises
  • Pruning tools

References

  • University of Maine Cooperative Extension: Growing Raspberries and Blackberries
  • Ohio State University Extension: Raspberries for the Backyard Fruit Planting
  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Raspberries in the Home Garden
Keywords: growing raspberries, caring for raspberries, raspberries planting

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.