Return to RESOURCES
How to Grow Raspberries
When planning your patch of brambles (as these fruits are known), pay special
attention to air circulation and
soil drainage. Taking weed-control precautions
before you plant is also important because most brambles sport hooked thorns
that make weeding the mature plants difficult and shallow roots that hoes easily
damage. Raised beds work well with brambles. Allow at least 8 feet between rows
of plants. Don't plant where other brambles or potatoes, tomatoes, or eggplant
have grown in recent years due to the risk of Verticillium root disease
infection. It's also best to eliminate nearby wild brambles, if possible,
because they often spread disease.
Brambles range in growth habit from upright to sprawling - some stand up on
their own, but most need trellis supports to keep the fruiting canes off the
ground. A typical arrangement consists of a T-shaped post and crosspiece at
either end of the row with taut wires or heavy twine running between them down
the length of the row. Trailing varieties of blackberry can also be ties to wire
fence or other flat support.
Shoots called canes grow from either the roots or crown of the plant.
Brambles are biennial, which means that plants flower on second-year canes,
which subsequently die. Canes are called primocanes the first year they sprout
and floricanes in their second year. Floricanes die after fruiting and should be
pruned out. Most raspberries and blackberries produce fruit only on the floricanes, but some raspberry varieties, often referred to as everbearing, also
produce on primocanes in the fall.
Depending your personal preference and climate, you can choose from several
bramble types and many different varieties for your garden.
Red raspberries: This delicate fruit grows best in cool climates where plants
will receive the 800 to 1800 hours of chilling they need to produce fruit. Most
varieties bear one crop per year, but others produce two. Summer-bearing
varieties produce fruit on floricanes in the summer, everbearing types fruit in
the summer on floricanes and again in the fall on primocanes. Although most
raspberries produce red fruit, some have yellow or purple fruit.
Black raspberries, black caps: The fruits of this plant have a rich flavor
and lack the core that characterizes blackberries. Plants grow new primocanes
from the crown instead of the roots and thus are easier to contain within a row
because they don't grow shoots several feet from the mother plant as red
raspberries do. Plant 3 feet apart in raised beds.
Blackberries: Preferring hot southern summers, blackberries grow in the lower
latitudes, though there are varieties adapted to cooler climates. Blackberries
fall into two main categories - bush or upright types and trailing. The trailing
varieties make less appealing plants for most home gardeners because they
require more trellising and maintenance, have more thorns than the uprights and
are less cold hardy. Thornless blackberries are now available, under the names
'Arapaho', 'Black Satin', 'Chester', 'Navaho', 'Hull' and 'Triple Crown'.
Your Independent guide to