How to Raise & Prune Raspberry Plants


Raspberries are a summer fruit crop that aren't only delicious but also nutritious--contributing vitamins A and C as well as various minerals to the diet. It takes two years for raspberry plants to become established, and then they will produce one to two quarts of raspberries per plant each year. With proper care, red raspberry plants will bear fruit for 12 to 15 years.

Step 1

Select a growing site for raspberry plants in full sun with good drainage. Avoid a location where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant or strawberries have been grown within the past three years since these plants tend to be susceptible to the same diseases as raspberries.

Step 2

Test soil at least 6 months prior to planting and amend if needed to arrive at a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Work compost or manure into the soil and apply fertilizer based on needs revealed in the soil test. Till the planting site the fall before planting.

Step 3

Plant raspberry plants in early spring. Place plants every two to three feet in rows that are six feet apart. Dig holes about twice the diameter of the root ball and slightly deeper than the stock had been growing in the nursery. Pack soil firmly around roots when planting and water plants well.

Step 4

Water raspberries growing on loamy soil with 1 to 1½ inches of water every seven to 10 days. Raspberries growing on sandy soil need 1/3 to ½ inch of water every three to five days. Adjust watering accordingly based on rainfall.

Step 5

A few weeks after planting, fertilize with ammonium sulfate. Broadcast two to four pounds per 100 feet of row. In subsequent years, apply a pound ammonium sulfate per 100 feet of row in spring before growth begins, and then repeat the application three to four weeks later.

Step 6

Mulch around the plants. Spread the mulch about 1½ to 2 inches thick.

Step 7

After the last berries are harvested, cut canes that have just born fruit down to ground level. Thin new shoots to three or four of the sturdiest looking ones per foot in each row.

Step 8

In the spring before growth begins but after the danger of winter injury has passed, cut off any tips that died in winter. Trim any side branches on the raspberry canes and cut back the tips of the canes by no more than one-quarter of the length of the canes. This pruning will prevent canes from becoming top-heavy.

Things You'll Need

  • Certified disease-free summer-bearing red raspberry plants
  • Tiller
  • Spade
  • Ammonium sulfate (20-0-0)
  • Mulch (grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, or rye straw)


  • Ohio State University Extension: Raspberries for the Back Yard
  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Raspberries in Your Home Garden
  • University of Wisconsin Extension: Growing Raspberries in Wisconsin
Keywords: grow raspberries, raise raspberries, raspberry pruning

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.