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How to Dig Up Raspberry Plants

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

Raspberries are a delectable summer treat, and the sooner you can eat them after harvest, the more wonderful they are. Grow your own patch of raspberries, whether they are red, black or golden. If you have a patch with some suckers that need to be dug up or someone else has offered you their plants for digging, a few tips can make this process successful. Plan on moving the raspberries in the early spring if at all possible.

Look over the raspberry plant to find aged wood and cut it away from the base of the plant. The raspberries will grow on the growth that happened last year. Many gardeners recommend cutting all the branches back to about 10 inches from the base but this means you won't have any fruit this year. If you leave three or four branches of fresh wood, cut them back to about five feet high. Remove any lanky branches that are less than the width of a pencil.

Prepare the new site for the plants. Growing raspberries in a row makes pruning and picking much easier than a free-form patch. Adding a trellis to tie the plants to will also make your work easier as the branches will be up off the ground. All of these support measures will need to be in place before you dig up the raspberries.

Make sure you are planting in full sun or close to it, and that the soil has good drainage. Adding compost to the soil that you remove from the planting hole will give the plants a good boost in their new spot.

Dig in a circle around the plant about six inches out from the base. Some runners or roots might stretch out beyond this measurement, but you can cut them without hurting the plant. Dig down about 8 to 10 inches, again all around the perimeter. Once you have completed the circle, push your shovel in under the plant, and pry it up from the ground. A good mass of roots should come up. If you meet resistance, you can go under the plant with your shovel from a few different vantage points to lift. Set the plant on its side on the ground.

Shake the plants over the old hole to remove the excess dirt. Hold the raspberry plant from the base when you shake it so the branches are not strained. Place the roots of the plant into half a bucket of water to soak until you are ready to set them into their new home.


Things You Will Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Garden gloves
  • Shovel
  • Compost
  • Trellis
  • Bucket (5 gallon)

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.