Berry Plants



The Plant:
The raspberry is a thorn-bearing bramble plant with a biennial top, and a shallow, fibrous perennial root system. Most cultivars of red raspberries originate from subspecies of Rubus idaeus. First year shoots (primocanes) develop from buds on the root, crown, or base of second year canes (floricanes). While purple and black raspberries and blackberries are planted in the central part of our country, they are not dependably hardy in central New Hampshire. In 2013, Great Northern Berries is trialing two varieties of red raspberries: a summer bearing and an ever bearing. Summer bearing plants flower in spring and bear fruit in July on single, upright canes that developed in the prior year. Ever bearing raspberries bear a crop on the tips of first-year canes in the fall, followed by a typical summer crop on the lower portion of the same canes the second year. It’s easy to tell first-year canes from second-year canes: first-year canes have green stems, while second-year canes have a thin, brown bark covering them. Some growers of ever bearing raspberries remove all growth in the spring to produce a single, heavier, crop in early fall on primocanes.


The Fruit:
Raspberries have a great exotic fresh flavor and are prized ingredients in smoothies, yogurts, juices, jams, jellies, sauces, pies, and wines. Raspberry fruits are highly nutritious, containing much soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The berries also contain high levels of antioxidants and natural substances that are anti-carcinogenic (cancer preventing).


The Harvest:
Raspberries produce a very sweet fruit composed of small juicy components held together in a loose berry structure. When they are ripe, they are easily separated from the core, which stays with the plant. The soft fruit is generally hand-harvested individually, and is quite perishable. Chilling the harvest as soon as possible will prolong the shelf-life. Frozen raspberries hold their flavor very nicely, but tend to dissolve when thawed due to their moist composition. Freezing berries on a cookie sheet or rack, and then packaging for freezing will help hold some of the delicate structure of the fruit when thawed.


Planting considerations:
Raspberries should be grown in full sun in rich, well-drained garden soils with a pH in the 6-6.5 range. When planting in rows, plants are often set 2-3 feet apart to grow into a hedgerow and in rows 8-10 feet apart to provide access and allow mowing between rows. It is beneficial to eliminate perennial weeds and incorporate manure in the fall prior to planting. Plants require watering well when planted, and an adequate supply is required during the growing season.

Canes are produced every year, live two years, and spent canes should be removed each fall after fruiting. Leave 6-8 canes per plant (or 2-3 canes per foot of row) for the following summer’s production. Trim remaining canes to height of trellis before winter. Plants are self-pollinating, and don’t require the planting of two varieties.


Summer bearing raspberries are easier to control, and fruit production has been shown to be higher, with some sort of trellising system to support the long fruiting canes. A single stake, or post, can be used at each plant to tie the canes in a bunch, but the most common recommendation involves placing periodic posts (every 25 feet in long rows) with a cross-tee 18-24” long at 42-48” high. Wires are then placed at the end of the tees, and running down the row. Plants are pruned and trained or tied to grow between the wires.
Ever bearing varieties when grown as fall-producing crops, are often cut to the ground in spring, and all the old canes removed. Fruit is produced on ‘primocanes’ in the fall. These plants also benefit from a similar trellis, but provisions can be made to remove the trellis for cutting of canes and replacement the following season.

Birds and pests:
Birds and Japanese beetles may feed upon fruit; a number of pests can bother plants. Keeping weeds suppressed will help reduce insect problems, but contact your local County Cooperative Extension Office for specific recommendations.

Raspberry Plants
Great Northern Berry plants are sold at Wayside Farm in North Sandwich, N.H.Quantities of some varieties are limited and are subject to current availabilities.

Rubus idaeus (everbearing raspberry)
Sunshine colored fruit with hints of apricot flavor Large, sweet, firm berries good for jams and baking and freeze well. Self-polinating. Cold hardy and heat tolerant.

Rubus idaeus (everbearing raspberry)
An ever-bearing black raspberry. Impressive yields and delicious fruits with very small seeds.

Rubus idaeus (everbearing raspberry)
Ripens mid-season. Medium to large in size fruit, bright red, and firm with a good shelf life. Released from the Nova Scotia, Canada, Breeding Program in 1981, this very winter hardy variety adapts to all climates. Nova is tolerant of heat and is an excellent choice for the northern regions, where high yields and dependability are required. Canes are vigorous,
growing upright with light spines. Resistant to most cane diseases.

Rubus idaeus (everbearing raspberry)
Early ripening fall crop, medium-sized, good quality fruit. Vigorous plants. May be too late for planting in far northern Maine and New Hampshire, however Polana allows production of fall varieties in more northern locations while still producing a great crop. Released from Poland, its berries are highly productive, large, glossy in appearance, coherent, and with good flavor. Canes are vigorous, but grow shorter than some other everbearing varieties. A great choice for early fall raspberries. Polana needs extra fertilizer in May and June.

Rubus idaeus (everbearing raspberry)
Recently released by the N.Y. State Experiment Station, Geneva, N.Y., Prelude raspberry is identified as the earliest ripening summer red raspberry, ripening in mid-June under N.Y. conditions. Although Prelude is also fall-bearing, it produces the biggest portion of its crop in the spring. Very winter hardy and vigorous, Prelude berries are round-conic, have cohesive drupelets, and very good flavor.


University of Maine “Growing Raspberries and Blackberries”

An excellent resource: “Raspberry and Blackberry Production Guide”:

Credit to: Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES)
Cooperative Extension
PO Box 4557, Ithaca, New York

© Wayside Farm & Great Northern Berries 506 Whiteface Road, North Sandwich, NH 03259

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