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Imagine picking fresh raspberries from your backyard and creating delicious fresh desserts, jam or jelly – that is, if they even make it past the back door! Raspberries are easy to grow in the garden, but as the canes like to spread out, it’s best to grow them in a spacious garden bed (in-ground or raised) where they can truly flourish.


The best time to plant raspberries is in late autumn or early winter, when bare-rooted canes are available in nurseries. There are two commonly grown types of raspberry: summer-fruiting berries and autumn-fruiting berries. Aside from their fruiting times, the key difference between these varieties is: summer-fruiting berries produce fruit on two-year-old canes (floricanes), while autumn fruiting varieties fruit on current season’s growth (primocanes). There’s a great assortment of varieties to choose from both summer and autumn types, but if you have the space, you may want to consider planting both to make the most of the season!

It’s also important to note that canes generally have thorns, so if you’re bothered by them or have children or pets who love to get into the garden, look for thornless or near thornless varieties.

Location

Raspberries do best in areas with cool or cold climates. They may also grow in temperate climates, provided summers are mild (temperatures averaging less than 30°C). Plant them in a sunny spot with 6-8 hours of sunlight and ideally, sheltered from hot drying winds and the harsh westerly sun.

Soil

Raspberries like to grow in a slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH between 6.5-6.8 (see The Importance of soil pH). They also love a rich soil, so enrich the soil with plenty of rotted manure, compost and organic matter like Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.

Fertiliser

Feed in autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. When the canes start to bud, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Strawberry & Berry Fruit Liquid Plant Food to help promote flower and fruit production.

Water

Water regularly to keep the soil moist, especially when fruiting. When canes go dormant in winter, you can reduce watering and/or rely on the winter rains, but once plants begin to grow new leaves in spring, water regularly. 

Pests and diseases

Raspberry canes may be attacked by scale. Keep an eye out for them and treat at first sight with Yates Nature’s Way Citrus & Ornamental Spray. In warm, humid conditions, raspberries are susceptible to various cane and leaf issues, including anthracnose, leaf blight or spur blight. To help prevent fungal problems, avoid overhead watering and spray with Yates Leaf Curl Copper Fungicide.  

Maintenance

Once the harvest has finished, it’s best to remove the canes as well as any dead or diseased growth. Pruning differs between varieties, so make sure you know what variety you are growing.

Summer fruiting varieties: If you purchased one-year old canes, there is no need to prune until the second year.  In the following winter, tip prune the canes (now two-year-old floricanes) and these will fruit in summer. You’ll also notice new shoots, aka primocanes, forming at the base of the plant in spring – let these primocanes develop and they will be next year’s fruit bearing floricanes. Once the harvest is finished, prune the floricanes to ground level – do not prune the primocanes. Loosely tie the primocanes into bundles and secure to the trellis.

Autumn fruiting varieties: Once fruiting finishes, simply cut canes back to ground level.

How to Grow Raspberries in a Garden

  1. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well.  
  2. If planting more than one plant, set out canes 1.5 m apart and in rows 2 m apart. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots. If planting bare-rooted, gently remove the packing material from the roots and soak in a bucket of diluted Yates Dynamic Lifter Liquid water for a few hours before planting. 
  3. Install a double-wire trellis to help support plant growth. You can do this by driving two-star pickets on both sides of the plant and running wire between them – one at 1 m and the other at 1.4 m.  
  4. Position in hole and backfill, gently firming down. Form a raised or doughnut-shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed. Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots. Keep the soil moist for several weeks, while the new plant establishes. 
  5. Mulch with an organic mulch, such as bark chips, sugar cane or pea straw ensuring to keep it away from the trunk. 
  6. As the canes grow, bundle them together loosely with twine and train them to grow over the top wire and down to the second wire.   
  7. Feed your canes once every autumn and spring with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. When flowering and fruiting, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Strawberry & Berry Fruit Liquid Plant Food to help promote fruit production.  
  8. Harvest when fruit is ripe and well-coloured. The receptacle or ‘stem’ attached to the fruit should easily come away from the fruit.   
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Growing tips

  • Raspberries grow best in cool temperature or cold climates. Areas where apples or cherries do well are ideal.
  • Fruit can get spoilt from extreme heat and sunshine. Cover with shade cloth to protect the fruit and spray the leaves with Yates Waterwise DroughtShield  to protect from sunburn.
  • Use fine gauge netting to protect your bounty from birds, possums and other wildlife.
  • Remove weeds regularly to prevent competition for water and nutrients. Spray weeds with Yates Nature’s Way Organic Weed Killer.
  • Remove suckers (new shoots) at the base of the plant. You can dig them out to replant in another area of the garden or discard them. If you leave them, you will potentially end up with a very thorny thicket of canes.
  • Summer-fruiting varieties: ‘Chilliwack’, ‘Nootka’, ‘Willamette’.
  • Autumn-fruiting varieties: ‘Heritage’, ‘Autumn Bliss’, Bogong’.

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