Gardens

How to Plant Red Raspberry Plants

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Red raspberry plants do best in cooler climates, but thanks to new ever-bearing varieties, raspberries can now be grown successfully in warmer states that don't experience a cool winter season. While raspberries require some care after planting, once established they will thrive with little more than regular watering and occasional feeding.

Tools:

  • Raspberry plants
  • Fertilizer
  • Mulch


Step 1-Choose the Spot and Prepare the Soil

Raspberries love sun, and need 6 to 8 hours of sunshine a day. A spot that's partly shaded won't let your raspberries grow to their full potential and some plants may even die. If you have grown potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant or peppers in that spot in the last four years, choose another location for your raspberries. These common garden vegetables are vulnerable to verticilium, a type of root fungus that also attacks raspberry plants. If you plant your raspberries in the same place as these other plants, you risk that the fungus is already present and ready to do damage to your raspberry plants. Also, make sure the area is clear of  nearby wild blackberry or raspberry bushes that could transmit a virus to your new plants.

Make sure good drainage is available for your raspberry garden. Raspberry plants prefer well-drained sandy loam soil. Soil that has been enriched with peat moss and compost for up to a year in advance is ideal. You can create a truly ideal growing environment for your raspberries by making sure that the pH level of the soil is somewhere between 5.6 and 6.5. Spreading about a half-pound of phosphate fertilizer per every 100 square feet of your raspberry garden will help the roots grow.

Step 2-Plant

Early spring is the time to plant raspberries. The best plant spacing for these berries is about 2 feet apart. Plant your raspberries in rows allowing up to 2 feet in width per row and keep the rows 2 to 3 feet apart.

To determine how deep to plant your raspberries, find the soil mark on the cane from where they had previously been planted. Using that mark as your guide for depth, plant them in the ground and then cover about 2 additional inches of the cane with soil. Let the roots spread out a bit as you do so, then press the soil down firmly taking care not to damage the plants. 

Step 3-Prune

Once the canes are in the soil, you'll want to prune them down to about 4 to 6 inches in height, to facilitate the growth of healthy, fruit-bearing plants. If you skip this step, the plants won't be as hardy or produce as many berries as they would have with proper pruning.

Step 4-Mulch

Raspberry plants need to be kept free from weeds. At this point spread straw mulch or your preferred mulch around the plants to inhibit weed growth. 


Step 5-Water

Now that your raspberry plants are situated in well-fertilized, well-drained soil, pruned to the right height and surrounded by mulch to keep weeds from growing, it's time to begin a watering routine. Water your new red raspberry plants thoroughly, and make sure they get about 1 to 1 ½ inches of moisture per week.

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Photo copyright Dave's Garden (davesgarden.com)