Master Gardener Logo

Cass County Extension

Cass County Logo


Raspberries are a good source of fruit for jam, sauce and fresh fruit for your family table. Almost anyone can enjoy reasonable success with raspberries most seasons. Now is the time to start thinking about the varieties to purchase and an area to plant them.

There are two types of raspberries based on fruiting time and frequency. The summer bearing type fruit only once during the year in mid summer; whereas the everbearing or fall bearing types produce one light crop in summer and a heavier crop in the fall. Because of our short growing season, usually we recommend cutting this type to the ground in early spring and getting just one crop per year. 

Boyne is the most popular variety in this area. It was introduced from Canada and does very well here. The large dark red fruit is good for canning, freezing or eating. Canes are vigorous sturdy, winter hardy and very productive. It is the one variety in which I haven't seen winter dieback.

Royalty is a summer bearing purple fruited variety with very large fruits. It will out produce red varieties but is not as hardy. The black fruited varieties are borderline in hardiness and require winter protection.

Raspberry plants should be set out in early spring. You can plant them either in a hill or a row system. In the hill system, space the plants far enough apart each way so that you can cultivate between them. In the row system, cultivate between the rows and space the plants 3-4 feet apart. After you get your plants set in, cut the plants back to within 6 inches of the ground and water well. Cultivate your raspberries thoroughly and frequently and don't expect fruit the first year. If your raspberries are planted in a very exposed area or are borderline in hardiness, winter protection should be provided.

Pruning is one of the most important parts of raspberry culture.  In early each spring canes should be thinned to 6 inches apart or (8 to 10 canes per 2 feet of row). In the hill system, select 6 to 10 canes and remove all other. When thinning, remove the smaller canes; larger canes produce more fruit. After thinning, remove 6 inches off the tips of remaining canes. It causes them to branch and be more productive. Raspberries are a biennial plant (lives only two years). After the canes fruit, remove them and allow the new canes more room to develop.

Todd Weinmann, Extension Horticulturist & Master Gardener Coordinator
Phone: (701) 241-5707

Go to Information Page

Go to Horticulture Page