Raspberries

Download the PDF Here

There are three main types of raspberries; red, black, and purple. Yellow raspberries are a variation of the red raspberry. Red raspberries are most commonly grown in Utah. They have erect canes and are propagated by suckers which grow from the roots of the parent plant. June bearers produce a single summer crop on canes which grew the previous year. Everbearers produce a light spring crop on the lower 2/3 of yearold canes and a larger fall crop on the top 1/3 of canes which grew the current year.

SOIL PREPARATION AND SITE SELECTION

Growing raspberries can be very enjoyable, but you must make sure to start out right. You should prepare your site at least a year before planting. Work to build up organic matter and eliminate perennial weeds. Raspberries should be planted on deep, well drained loamy soil. They do not do well in heavy clay or poorly-drained soils. Avoid soils with a high pH (above 7.9) because of serious iron chlorosis problems. Soil testing kits are available for sale, or can be done at the Extension office for a small fee. Raspberries can be grown on sandy loam soil if irrigation and mulch are utilized to reduce moisture stress. Proper fertilizer and an ample supple of water is important. Your planting site should receive full sun and good air movement.

PLANTING

With bare root planting, raspberries will have a better success rate if first allowed to sit in a bucket of water for up to 2 hours containing Root Stimulator. This is a rooting hormone that helps the raspberries produce new root hairs for better establishment. Red raspberries are usually trained to hedge-type rows. Set your plants in holes large enough to contain the roots without crowding. Red raspberries should be set one inch deeper than they were in the nursery. The nursery depth can be determined by the dark brown color on the cane. Be sure to press the dirt firmly around the plant roots. Do this by stepping around the plant to prevent air pockets. Water well with the remaining Root Stimulator mixture. Red raspberries should be cut back to a height of 8 to 12 inches after planting . Black and purple varieties should be cut back to ground level, removed and burned. Any wild brambles growing around or near, should be removed to prevent disease.

Raspberries and blackberries do not like wet feet. Do not plant them where there is standing water after a rain. If water stands on your field after a rain, consider planting raised beds to keep the plants (and roots) away from the ponding water.

TRAINING AND PRUNING

Summer-bearing varieties should produce three to five canes in the first year. Tie these to a trellis or confine them to a hedgerow. Dig or pull out any canes that grow more than 1 ft. away from trellis or outside of hedgerow. In late dormant season, cut canes on trellis to 5-5.5 ft. high, those in around parent plant and between rows. After the original canes bear fruit, cut them to the ground. Then select the best 5-12 news canes and train these (they will bear next summer); cut remaining new canes to ground.

Everbearing red and yellow varieties fruit in the first autumn on top third of cane, then again in second summer on lower two-thirds of the cane. Cut off upper portion of cane after first fall harvest; cut out cane entirely after second (summer) harvest. As an alternative, you can follow the example of growers who cut everbearing canes to the ground yearly in fall after fruiting has finished (wait until late dormant season in cold-winter regions). You’ll sacrifice one of the annual crops but get an extended harvest from late summer into fall. Use a power mower in a large berry patch. The fall crop only production system has many advantages: 1) It minimizes hand labor as all pruning is done by mowing; 2) reduces risk of spring frosts; 3) produces fruit during a cooler time of the year, thus producing better quality; 4) eliminates winter damage problems.

FERTILIZING

You need to apply nitrogen every year in Utah. Use 1 cup of ammonium sulfate 21-0-0 or 2/3 cup of ammonium nitrate 34-0-0 per 10 feet of row. The amount should be reduced if cane growth is excessive. Organic fertilizers such as manure or compost supply nutrients but may aggravate chlorosis problems and introduce weed seeds.

IRRIGATION

Raspberries draw most of their moisture from the top two feet of soil, so keep it well supplied with moisture just prior to and during fruiting. Raspberries use about two inches of water per week during peak production. During non-fruiting periods, irrigation may be needed only every two to four weeks. Over watering will cause root rot as well as iron chlorosis.

HARVESTING

Raspberries need to be harvested every two to three days during peak production periods. Ripe berries will separate easily from the receptacle which remains on the plants. Use the thumb, index finger and middle finger to pick the berries and carefully place them in containers. Berries should be refrigerated as soon as possible to prevent loss of quality, molding or decay. Berries will keep two to five days if they are refrigerated but should be used or processed as soon as possible.

VARIETIES

Canby– The light red fruit are medium to large, firm, sweet and excellent for fresh use and processing where the light color is not a factor. The canes are vigorous. Popular in Utah, Michigan, northern Indiana and similar climates. Entirely spineless on the fruit bearing part of the cane. Summer bearing.

Heritage– Great flavor, #1 seller. This hardy variety can, as all fall bearing variety, produce two crops. The first comes in July and the second is the fall crop that starts in September and lasts right up until the first hard frost. Berries are large, brilliant red, extremely firm and attractive. These berries are superb for freezing and delicious for table use. Because the fall season is usually cooler, the fall crop is larger than the summer crop. The yield from only one fall crop will usually be greater than the combined yield if allowed to double crop. Rated #1 fall bearing variety. Has thorns.