Support and Pruning of Black Raspberries #745822 - Ask Extension


Support and Pruning of Black Raspberries #745822

Asked April 23, 2021, 9:51 AM EDT

I'm a bit confused after reading the Ohio Extension Bulletin titled "Raspberries for the home fruit planting". I have planted 9 black raspberry plants in a 2' x 24' raised bed garden (approximately 2.5' apart). I planted 3 Bristol, 3 Allen, and 3 Black Hawk plants. I am trying to decide whether to support them with a trellis. In the Raspberry Bulletin, it says that a trellis can be used, but is not necessary for black raspberries. It says for black raspberries, the trellis should be 40" off the ground, but under the pruning section, it says you should head back black raspberries when they reach 24". So my question is: If I support the raspberries with a trellis, should the trellis really be 40" off the ground? It seems like the plants would never get that tall if I headed them back to 24". If I do have a trellis, do I not head back the plants at all? Or do I head them back to a taller height? If I don't support with a trellis, will the black raspberries stay upright and be productive?

Hamilton County Ohio

Expert Response


  I can see your confusion. Remember Black Raspberries produce fruit on second year canes called floricanes. First year canes are called primocanes. What the fact sheet is telling you to do is to tip prune your primocanes (first year's canes) when they reach 24". Your second year, fruit bearing canes continue to grow and are supported by the trellis at 40 inches.

  In case you are interested here is a link to a publication on brambles from Cornell University Extension. You will find it cover all aspects of growing all kinds of brambles. It has a great section on support structures for brambles and black raspberries support structures are covered in detail:

 I wish you the best of luck with your Black Raspberries and what you are growing sounds exciting. Also, hopefully, we are done with the really bad, cold nights and can finally get around to getting our garden growing!

Dan Denham - MGV Replied April 23, 2021, 11:46 AM EDT

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