Raspberries are generally classified as two main types. There are "Red
Raspberries", and "Black Raspberries". There are also cross bread varieties like
"Purple" or "Amber" Raspberries that grow similar to the Red Raspberries. You can
tell the difference between a raspberry and a blackberry by the fruit. When you pick
a raspberry, the seed will separate, and remain on the stem. When you pick a
blackberry, the seed will come off with the fruit.
The black raspberry is common in home gardens. They are also found growing wild,
usually just outside of tree or brush patches. The black raspberry bush grows from a
crown below ground level. The roots will spread out from the crown, and the stems
will sprout from the same crown each year. The black raspberry goes through a two
year cycle. The first years growth will have green stems and will not produce fruit.
Over the winter the stems will turn brown and become more woody. The next spring,
new green shoots will pop up, and the brown second year shoots will flower and
produce fruit. After the second year shoots produce fruit and seed, the two year old
stem will die. The green stems will continue to grow and produce fruit the next year.
The seed bearing stems will draw energy from the plant. Most people remove the
second year stems as soon as they quit producing fruit.
Black raspberry bushes will commonly have shoots that grow over 6 feet tall. The
weight of the shoots, will make the plants bow down to the ground if not supported by
a trellis. If the raspberries are planted in a row, you can stretch a weather resistant
line outside of the shoots to support them. The line can be stretched from a "T"
shaped post on each end.
A good way of propagating the black raspberry bush is from "tip rooting". Toward the
fall you can carefully bow the green, first years growth, to the ground and bury the tip
of the plant under a few inches of dirt. Roots will grow from the buried stem and form
a new crown. The following spring, the stem that was tip rooted will die and should
be removed. The new crown will start to shoot new green stems and can be carefully
transplanted to another location.
Most people recommend pruning the first years growth. When the second year
stems are done producing fruit, the second year stems can be removed and
disposed of. About the same time, the first year growth should be close to 4 feet tall
and you can snip the tip of the stem off. This will encourage side shoots which will
increase yield. Also, remove and destroy all diseased stems as soon as you spot
The red raspberry is common with commercial raspberry farms. The black raspberry
bush sends up shoots from a central crown area. The red raspberry has a root
system that spreads out and sends up shoots called stringers. The red raspberry
bush will spread out if the stringers are not pruned out. The red raspberry is divided
into two basic types. There are "summer bearing" and "ever bearing" varieties. The
"ever bearing" varieties are also called "fall bearing" raspberries.
The ever bearing varieties will produce fruit in the fall, on the first years growth. The
fruit will appear toward the tips of the stem. The tips of the stem, that produced the
fruit, must be pruned off after the plant is done producing fruit. The following spring
will produce new shoots that will grow and produce fruit in the fall. The second year
shoots will produce another batch of fruit, around mid-summer, on the lower section
of stem. The second year shoots will die when they finish producing fruit and seed.
The second year stems should be removed after they finish producing fruit. Around
the same time, the first year shoots will start to produce fruit. This is why they have
the name of "ever bearing". The tips of the first years growth must be removed after
they are done producing fruit. If they are allowed to develop the seed, the life cycle
of the stem will be done. Many large farms will not bother to prune all of their plants.
They will mow down the plants after they are finished producing fruit in the fall. Then
in the spring, new shoots will come up and produce fruit in the fall. This is were the
term "fall bearing" comes from.
The summer bearing varieties will not produce fruit the first year. In the spring, new
first year shoots will come up along side the second year shoots. The second year
shoots will flower and produce fruit around mid summer. The second year shoots
should be removed after they finish producing fruit. Summer bearing red raspberries
grow in the same cycle as the black raspberry. The difference is in the color of fruit
and type of root system.
A good way of propagating the red raspberry is to transplant the stringers that pop
up from the root system.
Many varieties of the red raspberry are lower growing than most of the black
raspberry varieties. The pruning and trellising techniques of the black raspberry may
be applied to the red raspberry plant.
Purple & Amber Raspberries:
The purple raspberry is a cross between the black and red raspberry. I personally
do not know much about them. We have some plants that have black fruit and seem
to propagate like the red raspberry. I assume these are a type of purple raspberry. I
believe the new "Amber" varieties propagate like the red raspberry, but have a yellow
This page was developed to share my gardening and landscaping experience with
others. The site contains only general information on different plants. I do not
guarantee all information to be accurate. I do not accept any responsibility for
anyone's growing success. Please consult with your plant or seed supplier for
detailed planting instructions.