Raspberry (Rubus ideaus and R. occidentalis)-Hort Answers - University of Illinois Extension
University of Illinois Extension

University of Illinois Extension

Hort Answers

Small Fruit

Rubus ideaus and R. occidentalis

Raspberry shoots
Raspberry shoots

Raspberries belong to the genus Rubus, which is a part of the Rose family. Cultivated raspberries have been derived mainly from two species, the wild red raspberry (Rubus ideaus) and black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis). Purple type is a cross between the black and red raspberry, and yellow type is a mutant red raspberry. Raspberries' underground root stem and crown are perennial, and canes from underground buds are biennial. Primocanes (first year canes) and floricanes (canes in second year). There are over 200 species of raspberries. Raspberries can be grown from the Arctic to the equator. Receptacle remains on plant when fruit is harvested leaving a hole at the bottom of the fruit.

When buying plants, buy disease-free plants. You can buy dormant suckers(bare rooted, tip-layered canes or actively growing tissue-cultured plants). Order plants in fall or early winter for spring planting. Specify a shipping date.

Raspberry Transplants:

  • Traditional transplants:Dormant suckers are for red and black raspberries. Plant in early spring at the same depth they were in field/nursery. Spread roots laterally. Prune stem to 5 inches and water immediately after transplanting.
  • Tip-layered cuttings are for black and purple raspberries. Plant when still dormant with growing tips of crown buds facing soil surface. Bury crown 3 inches below soil surface. Spread roots laterally and firm soil around them. Water immediately after transplanting and cut the stem at ground level.
  • Root cuttings - Plant 3 inches into the soil (2 ounces/hill or per 3 feet of hedgerows). Transplant in early spring when 5-8 inches tall and water immediately after transplanting.
  • Tissue cultured plants: Tissue cultured plants are produced indoors. Plants tend to be more uniform and disease-free. Plant after frost-free period is attained. Cover top of root with soil up to a depth of 3/4 inches. Firm the soil around the seedlings and water immediately after transplanting.

Raspberry Planting Systems:

  • Hill system - Plants grown in hills, wide spacing, weed control by cultivation between and within row, recommended for gently sloping areas. Good for black and purple types of raspberries.
  • Hedgerow system - Plants are grown in continuous rows about one to two feet wide to form a hedge. Control by cultivation confined to one direction. More space saving, good for cultivars that produce a lot of suckers. Good for red and yellow raspberries.
  • Linear system - A modification of the two above, no suckers are allowed to grow by cultivating the width around the parent plant. Good for black and purple raspberries.

Spacing and Trellising of Raspberry:Trellis is a supporting open frame used for training raspberries. Trellising affects plant growth rate, competition with suckers, harvesting methods, fruit quantity and quality, disease and insect pest management.

  • Red and yellow raspberry - plant2-3 ft apart within rows,and 10 ft apart between rows.Use a low trellis.
  • Black raspberry - plant3-4 ft apart within rows, and10-12 ft apart between rows.They have spreading and drooping habitso you need totrain them onlow trellis.
  • Purple raspberry -plant3-5 ft apart within rows, and12 ft apart between rows. They tend to be more vigorous than black raspberry. Does not require trellis.

Primocane fruiting types (first year canes bear fruits) - Fruits produced on tops of long canes tend to lean to ground hence need support, temporary trellising during harvesting to facilitate movement between plant rows. T-trellis is commonly used. A T-trellis consists of a T-shaped wooden or metal posts, seven foot long, and three foot long cross arms with screw eyes for holding twine rope or wire. The post is set up into a three foot deep hole in the center of each row, which is slightly wider than the post diameter. A 3 foot PVC pipe can be set into the hole immediately after they are dug to prevent them from collapsing. The holes are dug 25-30 feet a part within rows. The posts can be removed and used the following year while the burried PVC pipe left in the ground. Canes are cut close to the ground after harvest in late summer.

Floricane fruiting types (second year canes bear fruits) - Canes remain intact in winter through the next growing season, needs support for both floricanes and primocanes, V-trellis is commonly used to separate fruiting and vegetative canes. V-trellis consists of two posts placed on the ground at 20-30 degree angle opposite each other at the outer margins of the plant row forming a V-shaped structure. Floricanes are tied to the outside and primocanes grow in the middle of the V-shape. Floricanes are cut after harvest. Primocanes that will bear fruits the following year are thinned to avoid competition.

Soil and Site Requirements - Raspberries perform very well in deep well-drained, loam soils, with good water holding capacity and high organic matter content.Roots can grow up to 4 feet depth. Use drip irrigation during summer because it prevents wetting of the foliage, flowers and fruit. Raspberries require 1-2 inches of water per week or 35 gallons per 100 feet of row per day. They also require full sunlight exposure,good air circulation within the canopy but not excessive wind. Plant in elevated areas away from trees and buildings, andaway from wild brambles to avoid viral diseases. Avoid verticillium wilt by planting raspberries where eggplants, tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes have not been planted for the last five years.


Red Raspberry:

Summer-bearing types:

  • Boyne: Extremely winter hardy, good disease resistance, canes 5 to 5 1/2 feet tall, does not necessarily need support, medium sized soft sweet berries, does not store well, spring harvest.
  • Killarney: Very hardy, sturdy canes, medium sized firm berries, good flavor, good for home gardening and fresh market, spring harvest.
  • Latham: Have vigorous canes, needs support, large size moderately firm berries, fair in flavor, susceptible to diseases (viral), fruit tends to crumble, spring harvest.
  • Liberty: Less suckers and rows easy to maintain, early maturing (spring harvest), medium sized berries, good for dessert and freezing, very productive, needs topping or trellising.
  • Titan: Large fruit size, erect canes, high yields, disease susceptible (Phytophthora), spring harvest.

Everbearing types:

  • Heritage: Widely adapted to many areas, everbearing cultivar, sturdy vigorous canes, firm medium sized berries, spring and fall harvests.
  • Redwing: Everbearing cultivar, cross between ('Heritage'x 'Fallred'), mature 10-14 days earlier than 'Heritage,' yield, size and color same as for 'Heritage.
  • Ruby: Very similar to Titan, spring and fall harvests.

Yellow Raspberry

  • Goldie: Mutation of Heritage, spring and fall harvests.
  • Amber: Large berries, late maturing (summer-bearing), very susceptible to leaf curl virus, very good for dessert and good for freezing.
  • Fallgold: Everbearing, very hardy, super sweet and soft berries.

Purple Raspberry

  • Brandywine: Very large firm, and tart berries. Vigorous thorny canes, not very hardy. Good for jams and jellies, spring harvest.
  • Royalty: Very large sweet berries, more disease resistant than 'Brandywine,' spring harvest.

Other everbearing varieties:

  • Autumn Britten
  • Caroline
Mature Height
2-5 Feet
Mature Width
Harvest Time
June - September. Pick ripe berries, and refrigerate immediately.


USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 9 
Soil Conditions
Moist, Well-Drained
Exposure/Light Requirements
Full Sun
Jellies & Jams
Fruit Color
Pests and Problems

Bacterial Disease

Environmental Damage

Fungal Disease

Herbicide Injury

Insect Damage

Additional pests and problems that may affect this plant:

  • Fruitworm
  • Tarnished plant bug
  • Picnic beetles
  • Scarab beetles
  • Rose Chafer
  • Green June beetle
  • Yellow jackets
  • Cane borer
  • Crown borer
  • Red-necked cane borer
  • Bronze cane borer
  • Cane maggot
  • Tree crickets
  • Periodical cicada
  • Rose scale Stalk borer
  • Blackberry gall maker
  • Aphids
  • Blackberry psyllid
  • Potato leafhopper
  • Blackberry leafminer
  • Raspberry sawfly
  • Raspberry leafroller
  • Two-spotted spider mites


  • Anthracnose
  • Cane blight
  • Spur blight of red raspberries
  • Septoria leaf and cane spot
  • Rosette
  • Powdery mildew
  • Orange rust
  • Late leaf rust
  • Gray mold
  • Phytophthora root rot
  • Leaf curl
  • Mosaic virus
  • Raspberry streak
  • Tomato ringspot virus
Additional Notes
At the end of the harvet season in summer, prune to ground level fruiting canes of summer bearing types of raspberries. In spring, prune dead, weak, and spindly canes, and thin overcrowded canes. In fall bearing types of raspberries, prune the two-year old canes, at the end of the harvest season. In spring, prune dead, weak, spindly, and overcowded canes, also remove the tips of canes that were damaged by cold winter temperatures.


Related Resources
Home, Yard & Garden Pest Guide
U of IL - Distance Diagnosis through Digital Imaging
U of IL - Plant Clinic