Planting guide and Care of Raspberry Plants / Canes

Raspberries provide a number of health benefits when eaten as part of a healthy diet, with a high number antioxidants present such as Vitamin C, quercetin, gallic acid and ellagic acid, which can help fight against cancer, heart and circulatory disease.

Raspberry Cane Preparation, Planting guide & Onward Care

The first thing to ensure is that you plant raspberries in fresh ground that has never grown raspberries or any Rubus plants before. Old plants deposit a dormant virus in the ground, activated as new plants are planted. This virus can lie dormant for up to 30 years, so it is so important that fresh space is found to plant.

Failure to adhere to this advice will void our guarantee. The best place to grow raspberries is in a sheltered spot – they grow best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Soil must not be too heavy. The soil that holds a lot of water is no use as raspberries will die very quickly with their roots standing in wet, airless earth.

Dig a trench approx. 18in (40cm) wide and 6in (15cm) deep. Line the bottom of the trench with fresh compost or well-rotted manure.

Planting guide
Plant 18in (45cm) apart in rows 6ft (2m) apart. Take each cane in turn and spread out the roots evenly, the old soil mark (if visible) should be level with the surface. We recommend you don’t plant the cane any further than 4in (10cm), recommended 3in (7.5cm) as an optimum depth. Replace the soil by gently treading it back in and it is a good idea to apply a general purpose fertiliser mixed in with the soil at this time, ensuring the cane get the best possible start.

It is necessary to use the post-and-wire system in order to tie the cane to the wires with soft twine, and summer fruiting varieties will require support. To set this up the posts should be 10ft (3m) apart. It is best to use 8ft tall, 3in x 3in posts. The end post fixed securely in the ground – ensure this by burying 2ft (61cm) in the soil and supporting with an angled strut. The three wires must insert to help provide support at 2.5ft (76cm), 3.5ft (1m) & 5.5ft (1.6m) from ground level.

Newly planted raspberries: cut down the old cane to near ground level when the new growth appears in Spring.
For established summer fruiting varieties: as soon as picking is over, cut down all the cane that have fruited to near ground level and retain the best 6-9 young unfruited canes and tie to wires 3-4in (7.5-10cm) apart.
For established autumn fruiting (primocane) varieties:- cut down all cane to ground level in February. As the new cane grow in the spring/summer, tie them to the wires with soft twine.

Ongoing Care
It is imperative that especially during the first year when they are establishing themselves, the raspberries have plenty of water, therefore during dry periods, regular watering will be necessary. It is particularly important to keep the soil damp when the fruit is swelling. Regular hoeing is important to keep weeds down – ensure the hoe does not go deep to avoid damaging the roots. Remove suckers found in the summer, and pull out stems growing away from the main row. Water in a general purpose fertiliser i.e. Growmore, to the rows in March. Apply a well-rotted manure or compost. Once this is complete, apply a mulch such as well-rotted manure or compost. This will help keep the soil cool & moist as well as keep down the weeds.

Place in free draining soil or on a ridge if your soil is heavy.
Water in dry period after planting.

Plant in soils that have grown raspberries or Rubus plants before.
Place in heavy wet soils.
Plant too deep—a maximum of 4 inches is acceptable, we would recommend 3 inches.

One final note
Raspberries are very different from other fruit plants and require extra care and patience when first planted. A common mistake is to assume that the old cane should produce shoots/leaves. These sometimes do appear, but they are fruiting laterals when, on appearance, be removed, as they hinder the overall growth. The old cane you have planted is in fact gradually dying as it produces its fresh shoots underground and therefore is no guaranteed indicator of life. The fresh growth to look for in raspberries comes up through the soil from the base of the old cane – please note that newly planted raspberries can take well into June to produce these.