Blackberry & Raspberry 101

Raspberry plants can fruit on different types of canes, and these are categorized into primocane and floricane. Both primocane (first year) fruiting and floricane (second year) fruiting raspberries have both primocanes and floricanes growing from the plant after the first year. Floricane fruiting varieties have primocanes that grow throughout the first year and do not produce fruit. Primocane fruiting varieties have primocanes that produce flowers and fruit the first year, and then the remaining cane will overwinter and fruit again the second year. Pruning needs differ for these types of plants to be productive.

Primocane fruiting raspberries, commonly called Everbearing raspberries, produce flowers and fruit on first year canes. Primocane varieties will produce a moderate crop in June and a much larger crop from late August until frost. Primocane varieties can be mowed to the ground after harvest and require less trellising than June bearing varieties.

Floricane fruiting raspberries, or June-bearing, produce flowers and fruit on second year canes. Their fruit ripens in June or July, depending on the location and conditions. These varieties will require a permanent trellis or support to grow on.

Blackberries require more space between the plants than Raspberries. Plant trailing Blackberries at least 6’ apart. The semi-erect and upright cultivars should only need about 4’. Raspberries do best with 2’-3’ of spacing between plants.



Many berries will bloom and make fruit throughout the later warm months and into fall. Since most ripen in stages as the plants produce blooms and develop berries, it is best to harvest the ripe raspberries twice or more a week. Pick the darkest berries by hand. Ripe berries will pull from the stems without crushing or tearing at the tops. Be sure to also remove and discard any overripe berries that are still on the canes as you pick.


Freshly picked berries can be stored refrigerated for up to a week in a shallow container that provides some airflow. Use a plastic container and leave the lid cracked, or save and re-use the plastic containers from store-bought berries. Do not stack harvested and stored berries more than about 3 berries deep. Berries can also be frozen or made into jellies and jams for long-term keeping.



In spring after the chances of frost have passed, select 5 or 6 of the strongest canes on each plant. Cut these canes back to between 2 and 3 feet tall, and remove all other canes. Mulch in-ground plants often with pine straw or hay to stop weeds and to help retain soil moisture. Deep mulch will also help protect plant roots and cane bases through the winter. Mulch potted plants with 3-inches of pine straw to retain soil moisture and keep weeds from establishing in the potting soil.

Plants need plenty of water to grow strong canes and produce their heavy crops of berries. Water plants once per week, or when the soil is dry to 2-inches deep. Apply water to each plant with a slow-flowing hose at the plant base. Water only the ground under each plant; do not shower the canes and leaves. Water plants until the ground is saturated but not puddling. A slow weeping hose at the plant base for one hour is usually ideal.