Growing Raspberries On A Trellis: Training Trellised Raspberry Canes
By: Amy Grant
Of course, you can grow raspberries without any support, but a trellised raspberry is a thing of beauty. Growing raspberries on a trellis improves fruit quality, makes harvesting much easier and reduces the incidence of diseases. Got your attention? Read on to find out how to trellis raspberry plants.
How to Trellis Raspberry Plants
Training raspberries to grow up a support doesn’t have to be complicated. A trellised raspberry plant may be composed of posts and twine. Space the posts around 15 feet (4.5 m.) apart and then support the canes with the twine. Of course, this should be viewed as a temporary trellis system and because the plants are perennials, it might be better to build something more permanent from the get go.
For the home garden, a two-wire permanent trellis is sufficient. You will need two wooden posts that are 3-5 inches (8-13 cm.) across and 6-8 feet (2 m. or so) in length. Set the posts 2-3 feet (just under a meter) into the soil and space them 15-20 feet (5-6 m.) apart. At or near the top of each post, nail or screw a 24- to 30-inch (61-76 cm.) long crosspiece. Space the wires 2 feet (61 cm.) apart and 3-4 feet (a meter or so) above ground.
In the spring after pruning, gently tie the raspberry canes to the support wires using twine or cloth strips. This will allow for better light penetration into the center of the plants, which will promote shoot development and, thus, a larger yield of berries.
Growing raspberries on a trellis in this manner makes harvesting so much easier and facilitates pruning since trellising encourages new cane growth in the center rather than just along the outer edges of the hedgerow. Plus, some varieties such as the summer bearing ‘Dorimanred’ really require trellising to support their trailing growth habit.
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Read more about Raspberries
Caring for Raspberry Bushes
Growing raspberries is an excellent way to add sweetness and nutrition to any food garden. Dozens of varieties of red, yellow, purple, and black raspberries are available. Starting this fruit growing adventure begins with choosing a raspberry suitable for your USDA Zone. With the proper plant care, one planting of perennial raspberry bushes can produce a bountiful crop for 10 or more years.
A good start in the right soil is a crucial step to caring for raspberry plants. Canes should be planted in a well-drained composted soil with added fertilizer in the spring or summer (for some types of raspberries).
At planting time, mix in an organic fertilizer like bone meal, blood meal, or fish. Two handfuls of the powdered fertilizer per square yard are enough to supply adequate nitrogen. Mix the fertilizer within the top 2 inches of the soil. Fertilizing once every spring when the canes begin to grow is all that is needed for raspberry bushes.
There are raspberry varieties bred for USDA Zones 3-11. The water needs vary greatly in these zones. If an area does not get the proper amount of rain, watering with a hose will be necessary. Here are some guidelines for proper watering:
- Soil around the bush should be well watered but not soggy.
- A soaker hose watering for one to two hours once a week may be all that is needed.
- Water more during dry periods to prevent berries from drying out.
- Do not overhead water. This promotes leaf diseases and fruit rot.
- Water whenever the top of the soil begins drying out.
Raspberries vines grow as tall as 7 to 9 feet and should be grown on a trellis. The benefits of trellis grown raspberries are these: larger crops, disease prevention, easier picking, better quality of fruit, better air circulation, and better sun exposure.
Raspberries are usually grown in either the hill system or hedgerow system. The type of trellis used depends on the system used. Here are some types of trellises:
- California V-Trellis
- Shift Trellis
Proper pruning is vital to the quantity and quality of raspberries. The steps of pruning vary with the variety and type of raspberry planted. Pruning of the old canes is done for all types usually once a year: some need a second or third pruning. Narrowing hedgerows every season is also important.
After raspberries begin to ripen, picking should be done every three to four days. Picking should only be done when the berries are dry. Carefully pick only the darkest berries. Place the berries in the refrigerator immediately. Berries perish quickly. Eat or preserve the berries as soon as possible.
Simple DIY Raspberry Trellis
My raspberries were planting from very tiny starts I got from my cousin two years ago. Finally they are big enough to need more support. Last year was not my year for gardening and I am so making up for it this year. After creating our DIY Pallet garden beds, I had to move my raspberry plants. And now they are in much need of a sturdy raspberry trellis.
I originally wanted some simple bamboo poles, but I couldn’t find any in the store, so I had to settle for these green poles instead. But if you have bamboo it may blend into your garden look much better.
You want to place the poles in key locations to be the outline for a support system. Since I have two rows close together I placed three in the back, three in the middle and three in the front. If your rows are further apart, you will want a pole on each side of the row. And if your rows are longer, you will want support poles more frequently than just the back, middle and front. If your rows are smaller, you will need less support poles. Just plan according to how large your raspberry patch is.
Next you will take some twine or wire if you really want to spend that much and start at the center pole in the back. Attach to the pole near the bottom and then stretch straight across to the next pole on the outer edge. Wrap around the pole and proceed to the center pole moving away from the back. Wrap around the pole and then stretch out to the front pole.
Again wrap around and move onto the pole in the center. Then work your way back to the back of the raspberry patch, wrapping around each pole. After you wrap around the back center pole, then stretch across to the back outside pole. Then work your way forward.
Once you reach the front you will wrap around the front outside pole and then come back to the center pole to finish off the enclosure. This twine at this lower level will be a good support for the newer raspberry plants and will help them from being bent over severely when the snow comes. It will also help to guide them as they grow taller.
Now repeat these same steps again, but at the center of each pole. And then repeat yet again at the top of the poles to give support to the taller raspberry plants.
Once you are all finished, tie off the twine or wire, making sure it is secure and won’t easily come apart. Make sure all your raspberry plants are growing within the raspberry trellis. If not, gently guide the branches to be within the enclosure. If you have a lot of raspberry plants that are still falling through the twine levels, you can always add a few more rows of twine braces to help support the plants that are at the in-between stages. Now your raspberry trellis is complete!
Once the raspberry trellis is all set up and your raspberries are planted, you can proceed with normal watering and feeding. You can use either the LiquaFeed All Purpose Plant Food Advance Starter Kit or the Shake’n Feed All Purpose Plant Food for starters.
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Training and Trellising Raspberries
Raspberry plants are relatively easy to grow. They are also hardy and productive in most parts of Iowa. If given good care, a 100-foot-long row of red raspberries can produce 100 to 150 pints of fruit. Proper training and trellising of raspberry plants help insure a good fruit crop.
Red raspberry plants should be maintained in a 1- to 2-foot-wide hedgerow. Remove any suckers that grow outside the hedgerow with a rototiller or spade. Do not allow red raspberries to develop into a wide, solid patch. Cultural practices become extremely difficult and crop yields are reduced when red raspberries grow into a large, dense thicket. Black and purple raspberries grow in clumps. The new shoots (primocanes) of black and purple raspberries need to be pinched when they reach a height of 36 to 48 inches. If allowed to grow unpinched, the canes grow long and fall onto the ground. These canes often root and produce new plants where the tips touch the ground. Tip-layered plants crowd the existing planting and make cultural practices more difficult.Ã‚Â Any tip-layered plants should be removed.
Red, black, and purple raspberries can be supported with a trellis. A trellis keeps the canes off the ground. This is especially important when the plants are laden with fruit. The fruit on trellised plants are cleaner and easier to pick. A trellis also reduces crop losses due to storms and facilitates other cultural practices.
There are several different trellis systems. A two-wire permanent trellis is commonly used for raspberries in the home garden. Its construction requires wooden posts, No.12 or 14 galvanized wire, and 2- by 4-inch lumber. The wooden posts should be 3 to 5 inches in diameter and 6 to 8 feet long. Posts should be set 2 to 3 feet into the ground and spaced 15 to 20 feet apart. Near the top of each post, nail or bolt a 24- to 30-inch-long crosspiece. Then run or attach the galvanized wire through the ends of each crosspiece and down the entire length of the row. The two wires should be spaced about 2 feet apart and positioned 3 to 4 feet above the ground.
A temporary trellis may be constructed of posts and twine. Space the posts about 15 feet apart and support the canes with twine. This temporary structure is most suitable for fall-bearing red raspberries grown exclusively for the fall crop.
If utilizing a permanent trellis system, carefully pull and tie the canes of black, purple, summer-bearing red raspberries, and fall-bearing red raspberries (when grown for 2 crops) to the support wires after pruning in the spring. Use twine or cloth strips to tie the canes to the wires. Tying the canes to the trellis wires allows for better light penetration into the center of the row and promotes stronger shoot development. Also, harvesting fruit is easier because the tied canes are more accessible.