Planting Cane Berries

Raspberry bush growing on a trellis

What’s a “cane” berry? Raspberries, blackberries, boysenberries and other hybrid bramble fruits are all examples of “cane berries”. They’re grouped together under this moniker because they bear fruit on cane-like branches. The canes of these plants usually do best when provided with support such as a fence or wooden posts with one or more rows of wires. Also good to know about canes – bunnies like to eat them in the winter, so you’ll want to protect your berry plants from becoming snacks.

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Upon Arrival

Tomorrow's Harvest Berry Delivery Container on Doorstep

Goodness You Can Grow™ Has Arrived!

Congratulations on your purchase of a plant from Tomorrow’s Harvest® by Burchell Nursery!

We have made every effort to pack and ship your plant so that it arrives in pristine condition. If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with the plant you received from Tomorrow’s Harvest, please let us know immediately.

  • After unpacking, give the plant a light watering to settle any soil loosened during shipping.
  • Place the plant in the area where it will remain and let sit for several days before transplanting. This gives it a chance to acclimatize to its new surroundings. If the plant will remain indoors, avoid placing it in the direct path of any heating or cooling vents.
  • If the plant will eventually end up in a new container, be sure to keep the root ball intact and use nothing but high quality potting soil. Place the plant in the new container, or the ground, so that the top of the root ball ends up at the same height as the new soil level.
  • Some leaves may have fallen off in transit, but don’t worry because the wood of the plant is still green. It will grow new leaves soon. Be sure to not over water if this is the case. An application of a water-soluble fertilizer within the first couple of weeks will help encourage new leaf growth.
  • Most important, only water the plant when the root ball appears slightly dry to the touch when felt with your finger. When you do water, soak well. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

Check out this site for more extensive planting and care instructions or call 800 828-8733 Monday – Friday 7am – 4pm PT, where you’ll find a friendly member of the Tomorrow’s Harvest team ready to answer your questions. We value your business and are always available to help.

Planting Raspberries

Planting Raspberries

Child eating raspberries off of his fingers.

These sweet treats used to be available only during a short period in summer, but now there are fall-bearing varieties that can extend the raspberry-picking season from July to the first frost.

Home orchardists should be aware that summer- and fall-bearing raspberries have important differences. The summer varieties, such as Tomorrow’s Harvest’s Willamette and Meeker, produce fruit on last year’s canes, while fall varieties such as our Fall Gold, bear fruit on this year’s canes. It’s important to keep them separated so you know how to prune them. A mix-up could have you trimming the next year’s fruit-bearing canes and leave you with no fruit.

In most cases, you’ll want to plant raspberries in the spring, though if you live in California you can plant anytime from late fall to early spring. If you want to plant raspberries in containers, you can do so in the fall in mild-winter regions.

  • Choose a sunny, sheltered location, away strong winds. Raspberries ripen best in full sun, though in the hot Southern areas, some afternoon shade can be good. And be sure to plant far away from any wild-growing berries to avoid the risk of pests or disease.
  • Raspberries like well-drained, slightly acidic soil, with a pH of around 6 to 6.5, so prep your planting location well in advance to get the pH right. Weed the area and dig a trench along it, adding compost and mixing it into the soil.
  • Build your support system, erecting wood posts with one or two rows of wire to hold up the canes.
Digram: Trellis for Planting Raspberries, Blackberries, and Boysenberries
  • Soak the roots of your raspberries, remove their containers and plant only about 3 inches deep, spreading out the roots. Firm down the soil around the plant.
  • Space red and yellow raspberry plants 2 to 3 apart, and black and purple types 4 feet apart.
  • Space rows 6 to 8 feet apart.
  • Trim the top of each cane to a bud about 10 inches above the ground level. As new shoots sprout and leaf out, you’ll want to cut the original cane down to soil level. This may seem drastic, but it’s worth it. Just be careful to not harm the new growth when you trim the old.
  • Water regularly, once or twice a week, but try to avoid splashing the canes as this can spread fungus.
  • Raspberries are hungry plants and need feeding. In the spring, sprinkle a general, blended fertilizer around the soil.
  • Spread 2 or 3 inches of mulch around the plants, without letting it touch the canes themselves.
  • Erect nets or a fruit cage to keep the birds from enjoying your crop. And chicken wire can help keep out rabbits.
  • To plant in containers, choose shorter, fall-bearing varieties and plant two or three canes together in a single container about 12 inches in diameter. Support the canes as they grow with a fence or trellis.
  • Bushel and Berry™ dwarf berry varieties are especially well-suited for planting in containers

Planting Blackberries & Boysenberries

Planting Blackberries and Boysenberries

Child Holding a Bowl of Blackberries

These dark purple sweeties started out as wild brambles. Perhaps you’ve been able to pick wild berries from fencerows or woodlands. But with cultivated varieties you grow in your garden, you’ll enjoy bigger and better fruit from disease-free plants.

Most of these types of berries grow with gusto and don’t need a lot of fussing over. In fact, you may need to spend more time taming than encouraging them. You’ll definitely want to prune after the harvest to clear out old canes and make room for new growth to bear fruit the next year. Blackberries and hybrids are all self-fertile, so multiple plants are not needed to produce fruit, though why not plant more than one to enjoy a bigger crop?

  • If planting in the ground, you’ll want to plant in  early spring, unless you live in California  or the South where you can plant in fall and winter. Container planting can be done in the  spring or fall, but it’s not a good idea in the hot summer months.
  • Choose a sunny, sheltered location protected from strong winds. Hybrids need full sun to ripen, though blackberries can still do well in partial shade.
  • Blackberries can take most types of soil as long as they drain well. Hybrid bramble fruits like more fertile soils. Both will do well if you work in plenty of organic compost a month or two  before planting to provide nutrients and help retain moisture.
  • Before planting, build your support system by erecting wood posts with one or two rows of wire to hold up the canes. During the first growing season, your blackberries won’t necessarily need to be trained to a trellis. But starting the second year, the canes should be tied to the trellis.
Digram: Trellis for Planting Raspberries, Blackberries, and Boysenberries
  • Dig a hole deep and wide enough for the plant’s root ball plus about 4 inches all around.
  • Soak the roots of the plant thoroughly before removing from its container and then place it in the hole. You want the top of the root ball level with or slightly below the soil line. Firm the  soil around the plant.
  • Space plants somewhere between 8 and 12 feet apart, with more space allowed for more vigorous plants. Different blackberry varieties have different spacing requirements so you should follow  the recommendations on the plant label or the recommendation of your nursery.
  • Space rows about 6 feet apart.
  • Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch of shredded bark, wood chips or leaves around the plant, keeping it clear of the canes.
  • Water generously and at least once a week, but try to avoid splashing the canes as this can spread fungus.
  • Trim the top of each cane to a bud about 10 inches above the ground level. As new shoots sprout and leaf out, you’ll want to cut the original cane down to soil level. Just be careful to  not harm the new growth when you trim.
  • In the spring, sprinkle a general, blended fertilizer around the soil.
  • Erect nets or a fruit cage to keep the birds from enjoying your crop. And chicken wire can help keep out rabbits.
  • Bushel and Berry™ dwarf berry varieties are especially well-suited for planting in containers.