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How to Care for Raspberry Plants


Raspberry canes like full sun and rich, well-drained soil. They tolerate poorer soils and partial shade as well, making them a fairly hardy crop.

Berry plants can attract birds, rabbits and deer. Fence in your raspberries, and if birds are a big problem, you may want to net the area as well.

Raspberry plants send out runners, so be vigilant about weeding between rows and cleaning up fallen berries and leaves if you don’t want your raspberries to spread out.


The most common pest found on raspberries in the United States is the Japanese beetle, which can be eliminated with nontoxic pesticide sprays like pepper, garlic, vinegar and salt.

Avoid using chemical pesticides on berries you will use for food; the berries are delicate and very perishable, and don’t stand up well to washing.

Raspberries also can be prone to rot and fungus in damp, wet locations or climates. Areas with heavy rainfall aren’t good for growing raspberries, and many gardeners grow them in hilled rows to help them drain excess water.

Raspberry canes are fast-growing, cold-hardy plants that produce a wonderful tasting crop with a little care. They are perennials, and a stand can last for 10 or 20 years when cared for properly. The plants produce new canes each year, and a cane will bear fruit for two years before dying and needing to be cut.

Trellis your raspberries. All types of raspberries grow best with some support from a trellis. If they are not already on one, put up posts at either end of the raspberry row and string heavy gauge wire between them for the canes to use. If the plants are not in rows, place smaller posts or dowels close to the plant stems and run wire from post to post to provide some ground support.

Weed often with a hand cultivator or hoe, depending on the size of your plants, to keep weeds and pest-bearing plants away. Mulch the bases of the plants and along the rows to retain moisture, and keep down weeds. Add a layer of organic fertilizer at the end of the season. For this, use chopped bark, leaves, wood chips or pine needles.

Maintain the plants by watering and re-mulching. They need at least one to two inches of water a week and should have a layer of three to four inches of mulch continually.

Fertilize twice a year, once in the early spring and again four to six weeks later. Use a blended, balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10. If you are using a heavy mulch, use slightly more fertilizer.

Prune regularly. In late winter or early spring, remove all the old, dead canes that have reached the end of their second year. They won’t fruit again and should be removed to make way for the younger canes. You can identify them by their gray, peeling bark and branches. During summer growth, remove any canes that spring up outside the row and any that show signs of pests or diseases.

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