Backyard Raspberries




About: I like to design and build random things.

Raspberries are a great addition to backyard gardening. They are easy to grow and caring for them is simplified when there is a trellis system to contain the vines. When we moved the row of raspberries this spring, we decided to provide a T-bar trellis system for managing the canes. See the following steps to create your own backyard raspberries.

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Table or Miter saw
  • Drill/bits
  • Wire cutters
  • Post hole digger
  • Tiller (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Rake


  • 4x4x8' (x4)
  • 3" Deck screws (x16)
  • Eye hooks (x8)
  • Plastic coated wire
  • Wire Clamps (x8)

Step 2: Prep the Soil

We transplanted existing raspberries to another part of the yard. The main reason for the transplant was because we didn't leave enough room in the original location to get the lawnmower around the plants which required a lot of weeding on our part.

At the new location, we used a tiller to break up the soil and raked out the grass. If you don't till the ground, make sure the individual holes are large enough to allow the roots to spread.

Step 3: Add Admendments

Raspberries prefer a soil pH of around 6.0, which is slightly acidic. We had the soil tested and the pH is already slightly acidic (6.5-ish). Based on the lab results, we decided against amending the soil to lower the pH. Instead, well decomposed pine bark chips was used as a mulch. To improve the soil fertility and structure, humus, manure, Epsom Salt and Bone Meal were mixed into the existing soil before planting. The final step was to add fertilizer after planting and watering in of the canes. We only fertilize with a slow release fertilizer; we find using 10-10-10 fertilizer causes stunting. An organic alternative is using alfalfa pellets but I dont want to welcome even more deer to the orchard area of our garden. Once the compost pile is up and running, I will be using generous amounts of compost on the raspberries.

Step 4: Add Raspberry Plants

Transplant/Plant the raspberry canes. The raspberry plants should be planted 2 to 3 feet apart along the row. If you decide to go with multiple rows, spacing is debatable. Some people plant them as close as 4 feet apart. I found that is too tight for me since I want room to easily pick the berries. I also want to be able to get a lawnmower between the rows. I would recommend 7 to 8 feet between rows. Note: our other 'rows' are apple trees.

The canes should be cut back to 10" after planting. Its the roots that need to get a good start the first year of growing raspberries.

The raspberry plants should get 1 inch of water per week during the growing season, early in the season 2" per week is ideal. Once the fruit sets, make sure to give 1" of water per week during dry spells. To prevent rot and leaf disease, the plants should be watered from the ground. We buried a 50' long soaker hose adjacent to the plants, which makes watering much easier. It wraps around both sides of the row.

Step 5: Mulch

Once the canes were planted, a good 3" or more of aged pine bark mulch was used to dress the bed. In the past, we have also used straw on established beds to supress the weeds. Then, we turned on the soaker hose overnight to water them. Last, slow release fertilizer was sprinkled on top. No heavy hand here.

Step 6: Make a T-Trellis

This trellis will be used to support the canes and to keep the raspberries managable.

You will build 2 post to this drawing.

Step 7: Cut 4x4s As Shown

Cut 4x4s to the lengths shown.

Step 8: Slot 4x4s

For added strength, slot the post together as shown in the previous step. I used a miter saw with the depth set to half the thickness of the 4x4.

Video of Slot

Step 9: Assembly Tee Joint

Interlock the slots together. This should be a tight fit.

Step 10: Add Screws

Probably overkill but I used four 3" long deck screws to secure each joint.

Step 11: Add Eye-Hooks

Drill a pilot hole and screw in eye hooks. If you will be installing multiple hooks (more than one trellis), consider this hack.

Step 12: Dig Post Hole

Dig a 3 foot deep hole on both ends of the raspberry row.

Step 13: Place Post

Place post in hole and backfill with dirt. Compact dirt around post to make a tight fit.

Step 14: Add Wire

Run plastic coated wire between eyehooks. I used a wire rope thimble and clamp set to secure the wires. Note that this step can be done at a later date since your plants will be small for a while. Prolonging this step will also allow your post to fully settle into the ground - less chance of leaning.

The last picture shows our Mason Bee House which now is 1/4 full of bees :)

Step 15: Brace Posts (optional)

Ok, I didn't follow my own directions and tried to skimp on the post length (6 foot vs. 8 foot shown above) with only 2 feet in the ground. I also didn't wait to install the wire. The post leaned in with very little tension on the wire. I had to add these interior braces to keep the post vertical. Follow the previous steps and you shouldn't have this issue.

Step 16: Care

Tie canes to wire. If desired, tie fruiting canes to one side of trellis and first year canes (primocanes) to the other side of the trellis.

As summer progresses, new shoots (canes) will spring up around the plants. Check the raspberry patch weekly and weed, trim and water as needed. Prune out weak, small and crowded primocanes so that the surviors can produce more raspberries. You can also give these shoots away to others that want to start their own berry patch.

Step 17: References

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    16 Discussions


    2 years ago

    we have raspberries growing wild under our deck--they came with the house. They are not terribly productive--limited morning sun???? Moving them is not practical--very small yard. Any ideas?


    4 years ago on Step 17

    how do you know just where to cut the canes which are originally growing to make a new plant

    I am a very green raspberry gardener. thanks for all the work you did to give us a great tutorial.

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    The raspberry cane bears in the second year, then dies. A new shoot/cane grows as the second year cane bears fruit.


    Reply 4 years ago on Step 17

    Thanks. You don't cut the cane when planting or transplanting a new plant. We dug up the plants with the roots attached.


    4 years ago

    I read somewhere that raspberry plants won't make berries till their second year ! Any thoughts on this ?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have always wanted to grow raspberries but our well water kills them. It is alkali and the plants need acidic soil/water. The only people here that have successful berry patches are the ones who have river water for them.

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I am not sure where you live, but if you live any where that it rains once every week or two, just make yourself a rain barrel set up, a 55 gallon drum goes a long way, and doesn't take long to fill back up even with lighter rains, because of the surface area of your roof.

    Just a thought.



    4 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable. Raspberries are very productive once you get to year 3 or 4. I have 6 different varieties and they produce far more than I can use. A word of warning, though, yellow jackets love raspberries late in the season. Just be careful.

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. Yes, these were much more productive before the transplant. We should be back on schedule in a few more years. We haven't had the issue with yellow jackets on the berries. However, they do love the apple trees.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I understand blackberries are different than black raspberries.. but would you do anything differently if growing black raspberries? Also do you have a preferred seed vendor if starting out from scratch?

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    If the black raspberries are shorter and denser in growth, the top cross piece could be lowered enough allowing the canes drape onto the top wire. One option is to grow your choice of berry for a season or two to see how tall they get. Choose local nursery stock for the canes. I have not heard of growing them from seed. (They could not be 'true' to the berry they came from due to cross pollination.)


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have 5 raspberry plants and 1 black raspberry plant. I find that the black raspberries are much smaller. They do seem to produce more berries, though. They also spread a little different than the raspberries. They put out a lot of suckers, the raspberries spread more by the tips of the branches touching the ground. Both put up suckers, but the black raspberries put out many more.

    But this trellis system would work just as well with black raspberries as with regular raspberries.


    4 years ago on Step 17

    Like my raspberry patch as well. I use two rows posts along the outside of the rows of raspberries with posts about every 12 feet. I just drive the posts into the ground. I use three wires at two, 3.5 and 5 feet off the ground but two at 3 and 5 might work better. I bend 4" spikes into J, pound them in so a 1/4 inch gap is between the post and the head of the nail and let the wires lie on the nail. The corner posts just have staples in them.

    Will have to check the soil conditions even though the berries are doing fine.