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last updated Mar 11, 2014
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Raspberry 'Polka'

Raspberries are one of the most popular summer fruits and are very easy to grow. Different training techniques mean raspberries can be grown in gardens of any size and in containers.

Cultivation notes Back to top

Raspberries thrive in moisture-retentive, fertile, slightly acidic soils, which are well-drained and weed free. They dislike waterlogged soils and shallow chalky soils. For best results, plant in a sheltered, sunny position; although they will tolerate part shade.

In early March apply slow-release general fertiliser, fish, blood and bone for example, at 34g per sq m (1oz per sq yd), then mulch with well-rotted organic matter.  If the growth is weak, apply sulphate of ammonia at 34g per sq m (1oz per sq yd) or dried poultry manure pellets at 100g per sq m (3oz per sq yd). 

Keep raspberries well watered during dry periods.

Planting

Raspberries can be planted any time during the dormant season, between November and March, providing the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.

Raspberries are usually planted in rows and trained along a post and wire system. But, if you have a smaller garden, you can still grow raspberries, either in containers, or train them up a single post (see below for more on training techniques).

  • Before planting, dig at least one bucketful of well-rotted organic matter per square yard into the soil and fork in slow release general fertiliser at 100g per sq m (3oz per sq yd)
  • Plants should be 45-60cm (18in–2ft) apart, and if planting in rows, space the rows 1.8m (6ft) apart, ideally running north to south, so that they do not shade each other
  • Prune the canes to within 25cm (10in) of the ground after planting

Container growing

Single raspberry plants can be grown in 38cm (15in) diameter containers of 80 percent multipurpose compost and, to add weight for stability, 20 percent loam-based potting compost, training the canes up bamboo poles.

Keep the compost moist (using rainwater in hard water areas) and feed with a liquid general-purpose fertiliser on a monthly basis during the growing season.

Pruning and training Back to top

Pruning

Regular annual pruning will result in healthier plants, and better quality crops.

Summer-fruiting raspberries

  • Cut back fruited canes to ground level after harvesting; do not leave old stubs
  • Select the strongest young canes, around six to eight per plant, and tie them in 8-10cm (3-4in) apart along the wire supports
  • Remove the remaining young stems to ground level

Autumn-fruiting raspberries

Cut back all the canes to ground level in February. Reduce the number of canes slightly in summer if they are very overcrowded.

Training

Single fence

This system is ideal for summer-fruiting raspberries in a small garden. 

  • Drive 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter posts into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in) at 5m (15ft) intervals
  • Stretch 12 gauge (2.5mm) galvanized wire between the posts at 60cm (2ft) vertical intervals
  • Plant the summer-fruiting raspberries and tie in the canes along one side of the wires
  • Keep fruiting canes on one side and young new canes to the other side of the wires as the season progresses. In autumn, the fruited canes can easily be pruned out and the young canes will be separate along the other side of the wire

Single fence with parallel wires

This system is well suited to autumn-fruiting raspberries, and increases yield in a small space for summer-fruiting raspberries. Tying in of canes is not necessary. Picking is more difficult, and there is a greater chance of fungal problems in the more crowded conditions.

  • Drive 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter posts into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in) at 5m (15ft) intervals
  • Attach two short horizontal lengths of timber to each post, one at the top, and one 60cm (2ft) below
  • Stretch 12 gauge (2.5mm) galvanized wire in parallel lines along the ends of the horizontal lengths of timber to create two parallel lengths of wire along the fence
  • Stretch thin wire or garden twine between the parallel galvanized wires as cross ties, every 60cm (2ft) along
  • The raspberry canes do not need tying in, as they will be supported by the parallel wires and cross ties

Single post

This system is ideal for the very small garden.

  • Drive a 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter post into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in)
  • Plant two or three plants around the base and tie in the canes with garden twine
Raspberry 'Autumn Bliss' plants in a row

Raspberry 'Autumn Bliss' plants in a row

Propagation Back to top

Lift healthy suckers that appear between the rows and plant them as above. You can also divide large clumps and take softwood or semi-ripe cuttings.

Cultivar Selection Back to top

There are many raspberry varieties to choose from. Here are just a few;

  • 'Malling Jewel' AGM – early season summer fruiting variety; compact growth and reasonable yields
  • 'Malling Admiral' AGM – mid-season summer fruiting variety; vigorous canes and heavy yields
  • 'Autumn Bliss' AGM – reliable autumn fruiting variety
  • 'Fallgold' – yellow fruited autumn raspberry

Links

AGM fruit
RHS Plant Finder

Problems Back to top

Raspberries may suffer from various problems, including pigeons, raspberry beetle, raspberry cane blight, raspberry leaf and bud mite ,raspberry spur blight and replant disease.

Quick facts

Common name Raspberry
Botanical name Rubus idaeus
Group Cane fruit
Fruiting time Summer to autumn
Planting time November to March
Height & spread Variable, depends on training system used
Aspect Sun or part shade
Hardiness Fully hardy
Difficulty Easy to mdoerate

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