How To Train And Trellis Raspberries In Your Garden

How To Train And Trellis Raspberries In Your Garden

Growing raspberries brings a unique joy that goes beyond gardening. It’s about anticipating the sweet rewards and mastering the art of trellising. The trellis becomes a conduit for transformation, nurturing nature’s bounty. Join us on this journey of raspberry cultivation and trellis craftsmanship, where hands-on care yields a bountiful harvest and boundless satisfaction.

​In this article, we’ll review the basics of how to trellis and train raspberry plants, the benefits of using a trellis system, and tips for keeping your raspberries producing year after year.

*This article contains affiliate links to some of our favorite products for growing raspberries. We earn a small commission from purchases made through these links. Thank you for your support!

Do Raspberries Need To Be Trellised?

While raspberries don’t absolutely need to be trellised, trellising can greatly benefit the health and productivity of raspberry plants, especially if you’re growing them in a garden or larger-scale planting. Trellising has several advantages:

  1. Support: Raspberries produce long canes that can become heavy when laden with fruit. Without support, these canes may bend or even break, making it difficult to harvest the berries and potentially causing damage to the plants.
  2. Air Circulation: Proper trellising allows for better air circulation around the canes, which can help prevent the development of fungal diseases. Improved air circulation also reduces the risk of pests and ensures that the berries dry quickly after rain, reducing the likelihood of fruit rot.
  3. Easier Harvesting: When raspberries are trellised, the canes are more accessible, making it easier to pick ripe berries. This can save you time and effort during the harvest.
  4. Neater Garden: Trellised raspberries are often tidier and easier to manage. The canes are less likely to sprawl and take up excessive space in your garden.

There are different trellising methods you can use for raspberries, including simple single-wire systems, V-trellises, or T-trellises. The choice of trellising system can depend on the variety of raspberries you’re growing and your specific preferences.

However, some raspberry varieties, such as dwarf or patio varieties, may not require trellising because they are naturally more compact and have shorter canes. Always check the specific requirements for the raspberry variety you intend to grow to determine if trellising is necessary.

What Is The Best Type Of Trellis For Raspberries?

The best type of trellis for raspberries depends on several factors, including the raspberry variety you’re growing, your available space, and personal preferences. Here are some common trellising systems used for raspberries, along with their advantages:

  1. Single-Wire Trellis:

    • This is a simple and cost-effective trellis system.
    • Install a single trellis wires horizontally between posts or stakes at a height of 3 to 4 feet above the ground.
    • Raspberry canes are trained to grow vertically along the wire, parallel to the side of the trellis.
    • Suitable for most raspberry varieties, especially summer-bearing varieties.
    • Easy to construct and maintain.
    • This full wire trellis kit by Acemaker makes it easy to customize your raspberry setup.
  2. V-Trellis:

    • The V-trellis consists of two wires attached to posts in a V-shape.
    • The canes grow up and outward along the wires, forming a V-shaped canopy.
    • Provides good support, air circulation, and easy access for harvesting.
    • Ideal for summer-bearing raspberries.
    • This V-Trellis option by Thealyn can be used in the ground or in a container.
  3. T-Trellis:

    • The T-trellis is similar to the V-trellis but has an additional horizontal wire at the top, creating a T-shape.
    • It provides more support and allows for greater cane density.
    • Suitable for both summer-bearing and everbearing raspberries.
    • Well-suited for regions with heavy snow loads.
    • This is a good example of a T-Trellis system made by MRGARDEN
  4. Post and Wire System:

    • This system uses multiple horizontal wires between sturdy posts.
    • Can be adjusted to accommodate different raspberry varieties and cane heights.
    • The top wire can be as high as the top of each post.
    • Provides excellent support and air circulation.
    • Suitable for larger raspberry plantings.
    • Espalar sells the hardware and wire set needed to create your own post and wire trellis system at home.
  5. Raspberry Fence:

    • A raspberry fence is a more extensive trellising system, ideal for larger raspberry plantings.
    • Multiple rows of raspberries are planted, and a network of posts and wires creates a fence-like structure.
    • Offers excellent support and organization for the planting.
  6. Custom or Unique Trellis:

    • Depending on your specific needs and garden layout, you can design a custom trellis system.
    • Some gardeners use materials like wooden frames, PVC pipes, or recycled materials to create unique trellis structures.
    • We have used this customizable trellis set by Orgrimmar for a variety of garden plants, including raspberries!

When choosing a trellis system for your raspberries, consider the following factors:

  • Raspberry Variety: Some varieties may require specific trellis designs, so check the recommendations for the variety you’re growing.
  • Space: Consider the available space in your garden and choose a trellis system that fits your layout.
  • Maintenance: Think about the ease of construction and maintenance, especially if you have a large raspberry planting.
  • Local Climate: Consider the local climate, including wind, snow, and rainfall, when designing your trellis system.

Ultimately, the best raspberry trellises will depend on your specific needs and conditions, so choose the one that best suits your situation. Proper trellising will help your raspberry plants stay healthy and produce abundant fruit.

How To Trellis A Raspberry Plant In 9 Steps

Trellising raspberries is an essential practice to support the canes, improve air circulation, and make harvesting easier. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to trellis raspberries:

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Sturdy wooden or metal posts (treated to resist rot)
  • Galvanized wire or heavy-duty twine
  • Post hole digger or auger (We love this power auger by XtremepowerUS for any fence post holes!)
  • Level (if you have a smart phone you can get a free level app!)
  • Wire clamps or staples
  • Wire tensioning tools (if using wire)

Steps to Trellis Raspberries:

  1. Plan the Trellis: Decide on the type of trellis system you want to use based on your raspberry variety and garden space. Common options include single-wire trellises, V-trellises, T-trellises, and post-and-wire systems.
  2. Choose the Location: Install the trellis system in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day and is well-draining.
  3. Install Posts:
    • Dig holes for the posts using a post hole digger or auger. Posts should be sturdy and installed at least 2 feet deep to provide adequate support.
    • Space the posts according to the trellis design you’ve chosen. For a single-wire trellis, space them about 10 feet apart. For V-trellises, T-trellises, or post-and-wire systems, the spacing may vary based on your specific design.
  4. Set Posts Level and Securely: Use a level to ensure that the posts are upright and level. Backfill the holes with soil and tamp it down firmly to secure the posts in place.
  5. Attach Wire or Twine:
    • For wire trellises, run a wire horizontally between the posts at the desired height. Secure the wire to each post using wire clamps or staples. Make sure the wire is taut but not overly tight to avoid damaging the posts or canes.
    • For twine trellises, you can attach the twine to the posts at different heights as needed for the chosen trellis design.
  6. Train Raspberry Canes:
    • As your raspberry canes grow, gently guide them to grow up along the trellis. Use garden twine or soft plant ties to secure the individual canes to the wires or twine.
    • Keep the canes spaced apart to allow for good air circulation and sunlight penetration. Remove any weak or dead canes.
  7. Pruning and Maintenance:
    • Perform regular pruning according to the type of raspberry you are growing (summer-bearing or everbearing). Prune in early spring or as needed to maintain the desired cane density.
    • Check the trellis periodically to ensure that it remains secure and that the vigorous canes are properly trained.
  8. Harvesting: The trellis system will make it easier to access and harvest the raspberries when they ripen.
  9. Winter Care: In late fall or winter, after the growing season is over, consider removing any canes that have already fruited and are dead. This helps improve air circulation and prepares the plants for the next growing season.

Properly trellising raspberries is essential for their health and productivity. It provides support, reduces disease risk, and simplifies maintenance and harvesting. Adjust the trellis system as needed to accommodate the growth of your raspberry canes each year.

Raspberries thrive in rich and slightly acidic soil.

Fresh Picked Raspberries.

What Does It Mean To Trellis A Raspberry Cane?

Training a raspberry cane means guiding its growth in a specific direction or manner to optimize plant health, encourage productivity, and manage the overall structure of the raspberry plant. Proper training helps ensure that the raspberry canes are well-supported, organized, and spaced appropriately. Here’s what it means to train a raspberry cane and why it’s important:

  1. Vertical Growth: Raspberry canes naturally grow in an arching or trailing manner. Training them involves gently encouraging them to grow vertically, along a trellis or support system. Vertical growth helps keep the top of the cane off the ground, reduces the risk of disease, and makes it easier to harvest the fruit.
  2. Trellis Support: Raspberry canes are typically trained to grow along trellises or support wires. By attaching the canes to these supports, you prevent them from sprawling on the ground, where they can be more susceptible to pests, diseases, and rot. The trellis also helps distribute the weight of the canes and fruit.
  3. Spacing: Training canes involves managing their spacing. You should space the canes on the trellis to allow for good air circulation and sunlight penetration. Adequate spacing helps prevent overcrowding, which can lead to disease problems and reduced fruit production.
  4. Pruning: Pruning is an essential aspect of training raspberry canes. Pruning involves selectively removing unwanted or unproductive canes and shoots. Pruning canes at the right time ensures that the plant dedicates its energy to healthy growth and fruit production. For example, in the case of summer-bearing raspberries, canes that have already fruited are pruned out after harvest.
  5. Securing Canes: To train raspberry canes, you might need to secure them to the trellis or support system using soft ties or twine. This helps keep the canes in place and prevents them from flopping over.
  6. Managing Canes Based on Type: The specific training methods can vary based on the type of raspberry you’re growing. For example, summer-bearing raspberries are typically trained to grow upright along the trellis, while everbearing raspberries may be managed to have a mix of upright and arching canes for multiple harvests.

In summary, training raspberry canes involves guiding their growth to optimize plant health, fruit production, and ease of maintenance. Proper training techniques, such as vertical growth, trellis support, and pruning, are essential for keeping raspberry plants healthy, organized, and productive throughout the growing season.

Raspberry Primocanes vs Floricanes

Raspberry plants can be categorized into two types of canes: primocanes and floricanes. These canes play different roles in the growth and fruiting of raspberry bushes. Here’s an explanation of each:

  1. Primocanes:

    • Primocanes are the first-year canes (new shoots) that grow from the crown of the raspberry plant.
    • In their first year, primocanes do not produce fruit. Instead, they focus on vegetative growth, developing leaves, stems, and roots.
    • During the winter, primocanes go dormant and survive to produce fruit in their second year, the following spring.
    • After overwintering, primocanes become floricanes the next year.
  2. Floricanes:

    • Floricanes are the second-year canes (one-year-old canes) that have already gone through a winter dormancy period.
    • In their second year, floricanes produce flowers and fruit. They are responsible for the raspberry harvest.
    • After producing fruit, floricanes die back and should be pruned out to make way for new primocanes in the next growing season.
    • Pruning out spent floricanes is essential to maintain the health and productivity of the raspberry plant and to make room for new growth.

Understanding the difference between primocanes and floricanes is crucial for proper raspberry care and maintenance. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Pruning: It’s important to prune out the old, spent floricanes after the harvest season to make room for new primocanes and prevent disease and pest issues. This is typically done in late summer or early fall for summer-bearing raspberries and in late winter or early spring for everbearing raspberries.
  • Harvest Timing: For summer-bearing raspberries, you’ll primarily harvest fruit from the floricanes in the second year. For everbearing raspberries, you can have two harvests: one in the late summer or early fall on the primocanes of the current year and another in the following year on the floricanes.
  • Support and Training: When trellising or training raspberry canes, it’s essential to distinguish between primocanes and floricanes. Primocanes should be encouraged to grow vertically, while floricanes should be supported to bear the weight of the fruit.
  • Care and Maintenance: Proper care, including pruning, fertilizing, and watering, should be provided to both primocanes and floricanes to ensure healthy raspberry plants and a bountiful harvest.

By understanding the differences between primocanes and floricanes and managing your raspberry bushes accordingly, you can maximize fruit production and maintain the overall health of your raspberry plants.

Bright red raspberries hang ripe from a raspberry plant in fertile soil.

Preventing Pests & Disease With Raspberry Trellis Systems

Using a trellis for your raspberry plants can help prevent insect pests, diseases, and mold by improving air circulation, reducing contact with soil, and making it easier to inspect and maintain your plants. Here are some tips on how to prevent these issues with proper trellising:

  1. Proper Plant Spacing and Training:
    • Ensure that raspberry canes are spaced adequately on the trellis to allow for good air circulation. Proper spacing helps reduce humidity around the plants, which can discourage mold growth.
    • Train the canes to grow vertically along the trellis. Upright canes are less likely to touch the ground, reducing the risk of soil-borne diseases and pests.
  2. Pruning and Thinning:
    • Regularly prune and thin your raspberry canes to maintain the desired density. Pruning helps remove dead or diseased canes and promotes air movement through the plant.
    • Remove any weak, overcrowded, or dead canes promptly to prevent disease spread and encourage healthy new growth.
  3. Keep the Area Clean:
    • Keep the area around your raspberry plants clean and free of debris, weeds, and fallen fruit. This reduces hiding places for pests and prevents the buildup of disease pathogens.
  4. Mulching:
    • Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or mulched leaves, on the soil surface around your raspberry plants.. Mulch helps with weed control, keep the soil moist, and reduce splashing of soil onto the canes, which can carry diseases.
  5. Monitoring and Inspection:
    • Regularly inspect your raspberry plants for signs of pests, diseases, or mold. Early detection allows for prompt intervention.
    • Remove and destroy any diseased or infested plant material to prevent the spread of problems to healthy plants.
  6. Pest Control:
    • Install pest barriers or use physical barriers like row covers to protect your raspberry plants from common pests like Japanese beetles and birds.
    • Consider using natural predators or organic insecticides if pest problems persist.
  7. Fungicide Treatments:
    • If your area is prone to fungal diseases like powdery mildew or gray mold (Botrytis), consider applying organic fungicides as a preventive measure. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for safe and effective use.
  8. Water Management:
    • Avoid overhead watering, as it can increase humidity around the plants and promote disease. Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the soil without wetting the foliage. Amend your soil mix with sand or peat moss to ensure well-drained soil around your plants.
  9. Proper Pruning After Harvest:
    • For summer-bearing raspberries, prune out the spent floricanes (second-year canes) after harvest to reduce overwintering sites for pests and diseases.
  10. Maintain Trellis Integrity:
    • Regularly inspect and maintain your trellis system to ensure it is stable and secure. A well-maintained trellis helps keep the canes off the ground and reduces contact with soil and moisture.

By following these practices and using your trellis effectively, you can significantly reduce the risk of pests, diseases, and mold in your raspberry plants and promote a healthy and productive raspberry crop.

Start Your Own Backyard Raspberry Patch

Growing raspberries is a great way to jump into the hobby of gardening. These easy-to-grow plants have a wide growing range, all the way from the Pacific Northwest through the Midwestern states and up into New England. They are high-producing crops once well established, and require very little maintenance overall.

If you are looking for a fun and healthy fruit to grow in your backyard, consider raspberries as an excellent choice!