Growing Raspberries


Plant raspberries in early spring. Red raspberries should be planted at the same depth as they grew in the nursery. Purple and black raspberries should be set about one inch deeper. Raspberries are usually sold as bare root stock, so inspect the root system, removing any broken or damaged roots. Spread the roots out when placing them into the planting hole. After planting, cut red raspberries down to about an 8 to 12 inch height. Purple and black raspberries should be cut to ground level and the material removed for disease control concerns. If the plants were produced by tissue culture, no pruning is needed after planting.

  • Buy disease-free planting materials.
  • 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 tends 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.

Soil and Site Requirements
  • Deep well-drained, loam soils, with good water holding capacity and high organic matter content. Good for root growth which can grow up to 4 feet.
  • Drip irrigation during summer because it prevents wetting of the foliage, flowers and fruit or water while keeping the foliage dry.
  • Requires 1-2 inches of water per week or 35 gallons per 100 feet of row per day.
  • Requires full exposure to sunlight. Plant in elevated areas away from trees and buildings.
  • Needs good air circulation within the canopy but not excessive wind.
  • Plant away from other 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.
Pests and Diseases of Raspberries

Avoid insects and disease problems by good pruning, weed control and water management or consult the university Extension office in your area for a list of pesticides recommended for insect pests and disease control in raspberries. 

Insect Pests

  • Aphids
  • Cane borer
  • Cane maggot, fruit worm, crown borer
  • Sawfly
  • Sap beetles
  • Japanese beetles

Links to Raspberry Diseases

  • Orange rusts
  • Spur blight and cane blight
  • Crown gall
  • Verticillium wilt
  • Leaf spot
  • Powdery mildew

Watch for the following:

  • Weak plants, chlorotic leaves indicates viral, fungal, bacterial, nutrient deficiency or herbicide injury.
  • Wilting indicates verticillium wilt, phytophthora rot, cane girdling by borers, spur blight, anthracnose, or winter injury.
  • Discolored leaves indicate orange rust, herbicide injury, or leaf yellow rust.
  • Bronzing indicates mite feeding.
  • Swollen crown indicates crown galls. There is no chemical control, and sanitation is recommended.