What Are the Best Tips for Growing Raspberry Plants?

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

To succeed when growing raspberry plants, a gardener needs the right quality of soil, not too much water, and the proper fertilizer. Raspberry plants need plenty of sun to thrive. Each plant produces canes from a crown and root ball. To keep plants under control, a gardener may have to prune or remove canes as the plants grow. For best results, the plants should be placed in an area free of diseases and away from certain other plants.

Raspberry plants need a soil that has a mostly balanced pH. Unlike other berry bushes, raspberries do not want an acidic soil. The plants will not thrive in a soil that is too wet either. Gardeners may have a better experience growing raspberries if they plant in raised beds rather than directly into the ground. The raised bed allows the gardener control of the soil quality. Raised beds also drain better than some soils.

Root rot is a common problem with raspberry plants, which is why the soil cannot become too soggy. People who live in areas that receive a lot of rain need to be especially careful about this. Planting raspberries in a spot where nightshades such as tomatoes or peppers were grown in previous years can also lead to root rot. Some nightshade varieties have a fungus known as verticillium wilt, which can ruin a planting of raspberries.

Similar plants, such as blackberries or wild raspberries, can carry diseases that impact a raspberry plant. To keep new raspberries as disease free as possible, a gardener should keep blackberries and related plants several hundred feet away from the new planting. Any plants currently growing in the area should be removed and destroyed.

The plants should be fertilized twice yearly with a balanced fertilizer after planting. Before planting, a gardener may need to adjust the quality of the soil to make it suitable for raspberry plants. Adding limestone to soil will lower its acidity, which is desirable if a gardener has soil with a pH of less than 5.

The canes of raspberry plants live for two years. After the second year, the canes should be removed from the planting, as they will no longer benefit the plant. Second-year canes turn brown and are easy to spot. First-year canes should be pruned at the start of the season. Some gardeners decide to trim the first-year canes to an inch above the soil, while others prune them just below the area where the canes produce fruit to ensure that they get a crop early in the summer.

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