University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
you have a raspberry patch, either planted this year or existing, there
few key cultural practices to follow for best yields for many
years. These relate mainly to pruning, pests, and
you just planted raspberries this year, you should be aware that it
isn't until the third year that you'll get fruit. In the
meantime, visit local farmers'
markets, or U-pick farms. When picking,
either at a farm or your own patch, berries picked on sunny days have
vitamin content. Handle them carefully
so not to bruise the tender berries. Use
small picking containers as too many berries piled up will crush the
below. Move the fresh berries out of
sun, washing and refrigerating as soon as possible. Washing is
done easily by placing berries
(not too many at a time) in a colander, and dunking in cold water.
hold chilled for a couple days. To store
longer, remove any bad or mushy berries, spreading the good ones in a
layer on a cookie sheet. Place in the
freezer for a day, then place loosely in bags or containers specially
freezing. They can store up to a year
frozen. Freezing, then placing in
containers, keeps them from freezing into one large mass, so you can
only what you want and have individual berries. Raspberries, fresh or
have many uses such as homemade pies, jams, jellies, juice, and even
should be aware also that there are two main classes of raspberries,
bear once and those that bear twice (again in the fall, often called
"everbearing" although they really aren't).
Examples of red, once-bearing are Latham, Newburgh, Taylor, and
Viking. Fall or twice-bearing red
raspberries include Durham, Fall Red, and Heritage. Amber is a
yellow or gold once-bearing
variety, Fall Gold is obviously fall-bearing.
reason you need to know the differences in bearing, in addition to
your harvest, relates to pruning--one of the keys to good berry
production. All berries can be pruned
the same the first 2 years. Plants
should be spaced about 2 feet apart, which can be done when planting or
moved if the first year, or pruned if an existing patch.
the second year, prune plants to about 2 inches high in spring.
This encourages strong "canes"
(raspberry stems). Prune plants back to
about 4 feet tall in fall to make a stiff plant that wont topple with
the third year, prune out sucker plants that come up in the wrong
keeping rows about two feet wide.
Brambles such as raspberries often sucker prolifically, so as the patch
grows more pruning will be needed. Canes
of red and yellow raspberries should be about 6 inches apart, those of
purple raspberries 8 to 10 inches apart.
in mind, too, that although raspberries are woody perennials the canes
biennial, bearing fruit on canes produced the previous year. Once
canes fruit they wont again, so should
be pruned off at ground level after fruiting in late summer.
Otherwise, the patch will become a mass of
dead canes and die out over time.
Diseases overwinter in old canes too.
At this time also cut out any weak canes (they often wont bear fruit),
and any sickly ones.
varieties will bear two crops, in fall on first year canes, then again
following summer on these canes. But, if you prune all canes of these
back to the ground each spring, you'll get only one crop (fall) but
will be larger and more bountiful.
canes are thorny, consider investing in long-handle clippers. If
normal garden pruners, consider rose gloves which have long
gauntlets to protect arms and are thick enough that thorns don't
are a problem, as they compete with plants for nutrients. With
shallow roots, brambles are hard to hoe
and not disturb roots. Best is to
prepare the soil well, removing weeds prior to planting. Then
mulch heavily with bark mulch or straw
that wont pack down. New berry canes
easily push through several inches of such mulch. Between rows you can
mow a grass strip, or if cultivated, use a weed fabric or thick layers
newspapers, covered with mulching material.
there are just a few diseases to watch for, but unfortunately there are
controls for most except to remove infected canes and burn or destroy
them. Proper cane spacing through
pruning, weed control, avoiding too much nitrogen, not planting near
brambles or tomatoes and peppers (or where they were last year), all
for new leaves curling down (leaf curl virus), marbled green and yellow
(mosaic virus), gray blotches on bark (anthracnose which you can spray
sudden wilt of canes in midsummer (verticillium wilt), and fleshy
roots (crown gall). You can find an easy-to-use photo diagnostic tool
are few insects of raspberries, the cane borer being the most
common. You'll see the tops of new canes wilt, caused
by larvae that eventually eat down the cane and kill it. They are
easy to control by cutting the tips
off and destroying them as soon as they wilt.
Look for two complete circles near cane tips, the entrance point of the
larvae, and cut off below these.