Raspberry plants are easy enough to grow and care for, but you must understand how the plant works in order to care for them properly.
When first planted Raspberries will not produce any fruit the first year. They do not produce fruit on new growth, only two year old wood. But the raspberry canes only live two years. So each fall or late summer the canes that produced fruit should be removed.
The remaining canes should be topped at about 36″ so they don’t fall over the following year with a fruit load.
Some Raspberries are summer bearing and some are ever bearing, so make sure you know what your plants are so you don’t prune them too early and lose out on the that second flush of fruit. If you are not sure what type of plant you have wait until fall to prune them. Ever bearing varieties can actually produce fruit on new growth and this happens in late fall.
When you are pruning it is easy to distinguish the newest growth from the two year old growth and do not remove the new growth unless the plant is just too full. All parts of the plant need good air circulation and sunlight so keep that in mind as you prune.
Not thinning raspberries is a huge mistake. Make sure you thin yours each fall for good fruit production.
Raspberries like good rich soil that drains well. So don’t plant them in an area that stays wet because the roots need to breath. It’s best to plant them in early spring, and cut the canes back to 6″ at the time of planting. Each spring apply a small amount of 12-12-12 garden fertilizer spread over the root zone.
Mike McGroarty is the owner of McGroarty Enterprises and the author of 2 books. You can visit his website at Freeplants.com.