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How to Grow a Black Raspberry Bush

By Diane Dilov-Schultheis ; Updated September 21, 2017
Black raspberries.

A black raspberry bush produces sweet, juicy fruits the second season after planting, when properly cared for. It is one of the many varieties of raspberries grown in backyards around the country. Growing black raspberries requires site selection and preparation far in advance of your planting date. If you spend the time and effort required to grow black raspberries properly, you will reap the tasty rewards in a few seasons.

Prepare the site for your black raspberry bush one year ahead of planting date. Select an area providing full sun, good air circulation, well-drained soil and a location where no eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes or peppers grew for the last four seasons. Do not plant black raspberries within 700 feet of red raspberries.

Remove any weeds or plants in the area; allow 3 to 4 feet of spacing between each black raspberry plant and 8 to 12 feet space between rows. Add 1 inch or more of compost and organic matter to the area.

Mix the matter into the top 4 to 6 inches of soil. Frequently cultivate the soil to keep weeds out until the next spring.

Select a planting date after the last chance of frost has passed. Mix fertilizer into the area, as directed by the label.

Remove the plant from the container; inspect the roots and cut off any damaged ones.

Plant the black raspberry bush 1 inch deeper than the nursery's planting depth. Make sure to spread the roots out. Pack the removed soil around the bush.

Water the newly planted black raspberries thoroughly. Continue to water 1 to 2 inches of water weekly.

Cover the area around each black raspberry plant with 3 to 4 inches of mulch to retain moist soil conditions and to deter weeds.

Cut the black raspberry cane to ground level after planting. Apply more fertilizer to each black raspberry bush two weeks after planting. Apply fertilizer again each spring.

Prune the black raspberries three times the next year (in spring, summer and fall). Cut the lateral branches back to 8 to 10 inches in March; cut 2 to 3 inches off the 2-foot canes in the summer; and get rid of any fruit-producing canes after harvest.


Things You Will Need

  • Gloves
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Hoe
  • Compost
  • Organic matter
  • Fertilizer (10-10-10)
  • Knife
  • Mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • Test your soil at the nearest extension office for precise details on its pH level. Add organic matter or fertilizer to the planting area based on the test soil results.
  • Black raspberries pruned properly do not require trellises or other means of support to grow.

About the Author


Diane Dilov-Schultheis has been writing professionally since 2000. She is a food and travel writer who also specializes in gaming, satellites, RV repair, gardening, finances and electronics. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has been published online at the Travel Channel and Intel.