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  • Happy Holidays 2014 December 19, 2014
    I’ve done Christmas theme posts in the past including “In the Wildlife Garden, Naughty or Nice?” (2011), “Revising the 12 Days of Christmas” (2012-NPWG),  “The Color of Christmas in the Garden“ (2013), “A Berry Merry Christmas“ (2010) to name some. In keeping with what has become a tradition of sorts, this year will be no […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Pest Free? December 18, 2014
    Pest free is a very desirable trait in plants according to the nursery trade. I watched a large cockroach race across my counter today and I certainly wanted to be pest free at that moment! Pest is just a derogatory term for bugs, of course, and I don’t feel that all bugs are pests. Do […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Holiday Giving for Wildlife Gardeners December 17, 2014
    As we celebrate the holiday season with family and friends, put up our Christmas trees, bake delicious holiday goodies, and buy presents for our loved ones, I also like to give a little back to wildlife by working to create more wildlife habitats in our gardens and communities. There are many ways you can give a […] We love hearing from you! Please click her […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Is “Drink Your Tea” in Your Garden? December 16, 2014
    Male Towhee Look low and listen for the rustling of leaves! You will often wonder what animal might be coming your way, especially in the fall when fallen leaves blanket the ground. Be patient and you might see the beautifully marked Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) using its two-footed backward hop to turn over leaves to […] We love hearing from you […]
    Joni James
  • Snuffleupagus: In the Garden Stuck on You December 12, 2014
    The great reptile hunter was at it again.  I saw my dog Chili lying in the grass, alert and stretching out her paw like she was batting at something.  And, of course, she was.  Meet Timmy the turtle (named after a pull toy I owned as a toddler…ahhhh memories!). Timmy is actually a three striped […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Itzy and Bitzy…New Spiders for Me December 5, 2014
    The Groundsel Bushes (Baccharis spp.) a.k.a. Saltbush have been a-buzz.  By far the most visited of all shrubs in my Florida native plant garden this week.  Various wasps and ants and beetles have been mining the leaves for tasty morsels of the Groundselbush Beetle (Trirhabda bacharidis) larvae and/or aphids or scales. I was surprised that […] We love hearin […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • From the New York Botanical Garden December 4, 2014
    Recently I attended a symposium at the New York Botanical Garden called, The Changing Nature of Nature in Cities. I was especially curious to hear Emma Marris, author of The Rambunctious Garden speak, and I wasn’t disappointed. I promised last month to write about the symposium’s content. Honestly, I’m still digesting the message from the […] We love hearing […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Virginia Pine December 2, 2014
    The holidays. They’re here. They’ve got me thinking of pine trees, and pinecones. And I’m wishing for snow. I’ve had a tiny bit of snow already, but I’m ready for more. This is Virginia pine, Pinus virginiana. I live in a cabin, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, in central Virginia. There are plenty of Virginia pine up […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Thanksgiving December 1, 2014
    I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend with their families. I found these photos in my archives and thought they would be perfect for the season.  I love to do “set-up” shots to highlight seasonal themes . . . colorful gourds being some of my favorite subjects.  My brother built an arbor this year […] We love hearing from you! Please click here […]
    Judy Burris

#GardenChat

Planting Raspberries & Blackberries

Yesterday hubby and I celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary. (My how the time flies!) To celebrate we planted raspberries and thornless blackberries. Truthfully we weren’t “celebrating” by planting berry canes but we had several to plant and Mid-March is the ideal time for planting them. Our gain is your gain, if you haven’t planted raspberries or blackberries before the following may help!

Raspberry: They’re separated into two categories, “ever-bearing” which continuously bear fruit throughout spring, summer and fall and “seasonal” berries which bear all at once either in early, mid or late summer. There are three colors: red, black and purple. When growing different colored varieties they must be kept separate. We planted “Killarney” a red mid-summer bearer that’s very cold hardy and “Heritage” a red ever-bearing variety with origins in our home state of New York. A list of raspberry varieties and their hardiness zones can be found here.

Blackberry: Planted the same way as raspberries, but separated into categories of trailing, semi-trailing and erect. There are also thorny and thornless varieties. They require trellising or support of some kind. Varieties are listed here. We planted the thornless variety “Chester” (a trailing, late season berry) along the picket fence.

To Plant:

Select a sunny location. Raspberries and blackberries can stand a bit of shade but will produce better in sun. Berries prefer sandy, well drained soil, however they’ll grow in most average garden soils. (See note at bottom.) Prepare the soil by digging in 2″ of compost and preparing a hole ( for 4 or fewer plants) or a trench (for 5 or more plants) that is 4″ deep and 14″ wide. Space holes 3′ apart.

Next, unwrap the bundled roots and trim any long, straggly root growth with hand pruners.

Set the plants 3′ apart in the trench (or 1 per hole) and gently spread the roots along the row in one direction.

Carefully return only enough soil to the hole/trench to just cover the roots. The point where the cane meets the rootstock should be at soil level. Hold the cane at the top while back-filling with soil and press down gently with your hands to eliminate air pockets.

Mulch around the plants with 4″-6″ of shredded leaves, grass clippings etc. Mulching will prevent weeds. If you must cultivate do it gently and loosen only the top 3″ of soil to prevent damage to the tender roots. The roots will eventually grow to fill in the spaces between the plants and send up new brambles.

DO NOT add fertilizer at planting time. An organic fertilizer can be used 4-6 weeks later when the plants are actively growing. One application per season is adequate as more fertilizer will encourage leaves instead of berries. Once established, pruning once a season is all that’s required to maintain the plants.

NOTE: Our nursery noted it’s important to avoid planting berry canes in soil that has grown peppers, tomatoes or eggplant within the last three years. Verticillium wilt is a shared fungus among these crops and can easily be spread throughout the garden. As always, maintain healthy soil by following best garden practices of crop rotation, proper clean up and prevention.

11 comments to Planting Raspberries & Blackberries

  • I am so glad I visited your blog. I want to get some berry bushes and you gave such great info. thanks

  • Happy anniversary and good luck with those berries! A great way to celebrate!

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Thank you for reading! We’ve grown raspberries and blackberries for years, I think you’ll find them easy to grow and impossible to stop eating. :-)

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Thank you so much! I agree, planting in the garden with hubby is always a great celebration! :-)

  • I really want to plant berries this year, but first I have to get underground cables marked before I dig, then remove grass, so I’m not confident I’ll get it all done on time.

    Have you found a difference between raspberries and blackberries in terms of their resilience when it comes to avoiding diseases? I don’t like spraying and, with the humidity here in Eastern Kansas, some things are just too much trouble to grow because of endemic fungal diseases.

    Grapes for instance I’m just about to give up on, and I’ve heard there’s no such thing as a Kansas organic apple. I haven’t even bothered to try apples because there are cedar trees here, which carry cedar-apple rust.

    Anyway, I’d appreciate any insight on the raspberry/blackberry debate. I’m thinking that blackberries may be more robust. Am I right?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Hi Alison! I have found the blackberries to be more resilient in the garden, and if you have ample moisture that’s a plus. Pruning the canes after fruiting will aid in keeping fungal diseases to a minimum. Choose an earlier bearing variety such as Arapaho or Natchez so the fruit can be harvested and the canes cut back before the heat and humidity are at their highest in mid to late summer. Remember, blackberries will need a support (trellis, poles, fence etc.) Best of luck and let me know if you have any more questions. :-)

  • Thanks Lisa. I have plenty of fence to plant against. I’m off to check my local community garden site to see if I’m too late to order through them – I noticed last week that they were supplying fruit bushes.

  • I will probably have a bunch of questions for you in a few weeks when I am planting my raspberry canes. I am so glad we can share information with others that have already done something.

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Isn’t it amazing that we can grow our gardens across the states? I love it! :-)

  • Woody Coey

    Can blackberries and rasberries be planted next to each other in same row ?

  • Lisa Gustavson

    Yes, they can. Raspberries and blackberries won’t cross-pollinate.

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