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  • Loblolly Pine Wildlife Value April 16, 2014
    Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) is a native tree of the southeastern United States. Often growing in wet woodlands, Loblolly Pine provides great habitat and value for wildlife. The native range of Pinus taeda covers eastern Texas to northern Florida, and all of the southern coastal states up to Delaware. Pinus taeda Botanical Description Pinus taeda: This tree [ […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • For The Love of a Tree April 12, 2014
      Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.  ~Chinese proverb       You may remember last year I wrote about the plight of our ash trees.   It was just about this time, in early spring, that we were saying goodbye to 4 of our mature ash trees […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful photos and let u […]
    Donna Donabella
  • Squirrelly Squirrels in the Garden April 11, 2014
    Squirrels are a normal occurrence in a great many beautiful wildlife gardens.  Up until this year, suprisingly my yard was not one of them. Perhaps not so surprisingly after all.  When I purchased my plot back in 2006, it was pretty much clear cut sans a smattering of long leaf pine trees.  Squirrel have a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to s […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Go Forth and … Purchase April 10, 2014
    Spring is a wonderful time to buy plants and the stores are full of them. Even the grocery store had everything from annuals to potted fruit trees to tempt shoppers the other day. Native plant lovers are no less immune to the call of a plant sale than anyone else and luckily spring native plant […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the b […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Birding Festivals Through The Year April 9, 2014
    If you want to learn more about the birds in your wildlife garden, one of the best things you can do is to attend birding festivals near you to learn more about birds in their natural habitiats. One of the big things on my bucket list is to travel around the country going from birding […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful p […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Spring, Up Close April 7, 2014
    I love macro photography. The ability to look very closely takes the most ordinary object and makes it extraordinary. I thought it would be fun to take a “macro-eyed” view of my wildlife garden during each season. Here’s my offering for Spring 2014. In the grand food web of life, plants are the heavy-lifters. In […] We love hearing from you! Please click her […]
    Christy Peterson
  • Pollinators: Soldier Boy, oh my Little Soldier Boy April 4, 2014
    When you talk pollinators, most people expect a conversation about bees and/or butterflies.   Often flies will be considered as backups.  Well, let’s add another player to the pollination conversation…BEETLES. The Margined Soldier Beetle a.k.a. Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus) is here to dispel the myth that beetles are evil.   Hey, we aren’t […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • What’s Scaring the Wildlife? April 3, 2014
      On a recent trip to Village Nurseries in Huntington Beach, CA, my first trip to this garden center, I was surprised by its location; the nursery was located in a corridor of High Voltage Power Lines. When I inquired about it, I learned that many nurseries and Christmas tree farms rent land from the […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • How to Learn More About Nature April 2, 2014
    A good way to learn more about the nature of your region is to visit a local national wildlife refuge near your home. I make it a point to regularly visit the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, which is located in southwestern Philadelphia to observe the changing wildlife throughout the seasons. There are 561 National […] We love hearing from you! Please c […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown

#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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