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How to Get Old Raspberry Plants to Bear Fruit

By Ruth Taylor ; Updated September 21, 2017

Getting your raspberry bushes to bear fruit is a rewarding task. Raspberry bushes grow best in well drained, slightly acidic soil. Each year raspberry bushes send out new shoots, called canes. Raspberry canes have a two-year cycle. The first year, you will only see growth and leaf production. It is during the second year that raspberry canes produce fruit. If your garden has an old raspberry bush that appears to bear little or no fruit, follow these steps to enjoy a bountiful crop of raspberries.

In early spring, prune your raspberry bushes to a height of 4 to 5 feet. Remove all raspberry canes that have gray, dull brown or peeling bark. These have already borne fruit and will not bloom again.

Continue to prune aggressively, removing weak or diseased raspberry canes. Ideally, leave only 4 to 6 thick and tall canes along every foot of your raspberry bush row. Fewer canes will produce a higher quality fruit.

Remove any weeds that may have grown around the raspberry bush root base.

Spread fertilizer along the soil where your raspberry bushes are planted.

If your garden drains quickly, spread mulch around the root bases to help retain moisture and discourage weed growth.

In late spring, spread another layer of fertilizer under your raspberry bushes. Raspberries will be ready for harvest in late summer or early autumn.

In late autumn, once your raspberry bush is no longer bearing fruit, prune the raspberry canes that bore fruit. Leave the canes that only produce leaves, as they will bear fruit next year.


Things You Will Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Pruning shears
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch (optional)


  • Some varieties of raspberry plants need a trellis for support. Providing a trellis for your raspberry bushes will make it easier for you to harvest ripe fruit.


  • Gardening gloves will protect your hands from the sharp thorns found on raspberry plants. Carefully remove any thorns that puncture your skin, and wash the area thoroughly.

About the Author


Ruth Taylor is a teacher and a freelance writer. She has been writing for years, but only recently started freelancing. Her articles have appeared in Livestrong, eHow and other websites. In college she majored in Spanish and graduated summa cum laude with a M.A.T. in teaching a second language. She has taught both in high school and elementary school.