Skip to main content

Raspberry bush care: Keep yours controlled and producing for years

Tips to help you control and care for your raspberry bushes

Garden fresh fruit and sun-warmed berries are a delicious treat, but what happens when your plant gets out of control? Instead of tasty treats, you could end up with a headache.

Raspberry bushes are one of the plants that are likely to grow wild or become uncontrollable, making harvest time a hassle. If you want fresh raspberries without their vines taking over your garden, follow these tips to keep them in check.




1 hour

What You Need

  • Compost or fertilizer

  • Pruning shears

  • Lawn mower (optional)

  • Plastic, wood, stone, or metal for a physical barrier

  • Large pot

  • Mulch

A person holding a palmful of red raspberries
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What causes raspberry bushes to spread?

Raspberry plants spread naturally as a form of propagation. New raspberry canes sprout up, connected to the first plant underground. If left to grow, these new canes will begin producing more new canes of their own, and so on.

This spread is normal and healthy for the plant, and they can struggle to thrive if they aren’t allowed to spread at all. Controlling that spread isn’t harmful to the plant, though, and in many cases, it’s even necessary for your garden to thrive.

There are also factors that can cause your raspberry bushes to spread more quickly. The main factor that increases spread is a lack of resources. If the main raspberry plant isn’t getting enough water, light, or nutrients, it may spread more quickly in an effort to find what it’s missing. Proper raspberry bush care helps mitigate this.

Two ripe raspberries with an unripe raspberry between them
_Alicja_ / Pixabay

How to control their spread

To keep your raspberry bushes under control, follow these steps:

Step 1: Make sure your plant has what it needs where it's planted.

Regular watering and the addition of compost or fertilizer is the easiest way to do this.

Step 2: Prune excess canes by cutting them with pruning shears as close to the ground as possible.

You can even cut down small canes with a lawn mower.

Step 3: Place a physical barrier to stop the bushes from growing where they shouldn’t.

Keep in mind that raspberries spread underground, so the barrier needs to extend underground. It can be any material, but make sure it's environmentally safe.

Ripe raspberries
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Can you grow raspberries in a container?

Plants in containers are generally easier to control, since they have less room to spread. Raspberries are no different, but you’ll still need to care for them properly. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Use a large pot to ensure your plant has some room to grow.

A 5-gallon bucket with drainage holes works well, but anything that's 24 to 36 inches wide and deep with drainage holes will work.

Step 2: Place the container in full sun.

Step 3: Water deeply and regularly.

Step 4: Protect your potted raspberry plant in the winter by applying an extra layer of mulch.

Step 5: Move the raspberry plant to a sheltered, unheated, indoor area in the winter to allow the plant to go dormant.

Step 6: Decrease watering during the winter, but don’t stop entirely.

Raspberries are delicate fruits that grow on stubborn plants. Controlling the spread of raspberry bushes can be frustrating, but these tips and tricks will make it easier to deal with. Now you’re prepared to grow your raspberries and can enjoy them as a sweet and tart treat or addition to a meal.

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
Is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? The answer might surprise you
Everything you need to know about delicious, nutritious cucumbers
Two cucumbers growing from a vine on the ground, with a yellow flower in front

By now, you've probably heard that tomatoes are scientifically considered a fruit  (though they're almost always treated as vegetables). We hate to tell you this now that you've finally gotten that one figured out, but tomatoes aren't the only borderline fruit or vegetable enigma. Believe it or not, crisp, fresh cucumbers also fall into that gray area.

So what exactly is the distinction between fruits and vegetables, and why does it matter as long as you know how to grow them? And is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? If you’re curious or confused, then you’re in the right place. We’ll explain everything you need to know about the differences between fruits and vegetables, what cucumbers are classified as, and why it’s important to know.

Read more
How to care for carnations, a gorgeous flower for your garden
Find out the best way to grow carnations and keep them thriving
Pink carnation flowers

Of all the beautiful flowers that bloom in spring and summer, there are few more immediately recognizable than carnations. With their ruffled petals and lovely shades of pink and red, carnations are a bright and cheery addition to any home or garden. Carnations even make stunning cut flower arrangements! If you want to add these lovely flowers to your garden, then this is the care guide for you. We’ll walk you through every step of caring for carnations so that you can enjoy your flowers without worry.

Planting carnations
If you want to grow carnations from seeds, you can start them indoors at any time or plant them outdoors after the last frost has passed. You can plant seedlings and adult plants any time after the last frost and before the first frost.

Read more
How to grow lavender from seed to keep your garden and your home smelling fresh
What to know about lavender and growing it from seed
A field of lavender flowers

Knowing how to grow lavender is a useful skill. Lavender is a beautiful and fragrant flower to add to your garden. It has many different uses, due its beauty, soothing scent, and delicious flavor. Aside from the ways it benefits us directly, lavender also attracts many beneficial insects and is an excellent addition to pollinator gardens.

Lavender is easy to grow indoors and out, making it a great fit for practically any garden or living situation. Want to get started growing your own lavender? Here's everything you need to know to grow it from seed!

Read more