Raspberry trellis

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Having a little row of raspberries growing in the backyard is at the top of many home gardeners’ wish lists! But to do it right, you’ll need a proper trellis.

A raspberry trellis is a support frame structure for berry canes generally constructed of wooden posts with horizontal wires, similar to a post-and-wire farmyard fence. Most raspberry trellis structures include 2 or 3 horizontal wire tiers, spaced between 1′ and 2′ apart. Summer-fruiting raspberries tend to require more support than fall-fruiting varieties, and may need to be tied directly to trellis wires.

Read on to learn all about creating a great raspberry trellis for your delicious backyard berries.

View of bottom of raspberry bed

“Tie canes into a simple, sturdy, post-and-wire fence for support. Mulch in spring to keep down weeds and cover with fine-mesh nets to protect fruits against birds.”

Kitchen Garden: A Month-by-Month Guide to Growing Your Own Fruits and Vegetables, by Alan Buckingham

“Raspberries will need some support as they grow, so consider best options as you select your location. It’s common to plant red and golden raspberries in a low row, either along a fence, so they can be corralled and tied up with wires, or supported via T-bar trellises placed at either end of the row.”

Growing Berries and Fruit Trees in the Pacific Northwest: How to Grow Abundant, Organic Fruit in Your Backyard, by Tara Austen Weaver
Raspberry trellises in raspberry patch

Trellis structures for summer-fruiting raspberries

Raspberry plants which are “summer-fruiting” grow their berries on canes grown during the year before. These raspberry canes are generally tied to the support wire of the trellis. A raspberry trellis for summer-fruiting varieties looks quite a bit like a simple wire fence you might see around the perimeter of a farmer’s field. There is generally a post on each end of the trellis with three horizontal wires strung between the two posts (see photo above).

“Summer-Fruiting Raspberries: These are tried to three taut, horizontal support wires fixed at 75cm (30in), 1m (3ft) and 1.5m (5ft) above ground level and firmly anchored on sturdy posts positioned at the row ends.”

Pruning & Training (Royal Horticultural Society), by Geoff Hodge

Here are some summer-fruiting raspberries that can be grown on a post-and-wire type of raspberry trellis:

  • Boyne
  • Reveille
  • Prelude
  • Cascade Dawn
  • Cascade Gold
  • Encore
  • Latham
  • Nova
  • Killarney
  • Meeker
  • Titan
  • Lewis
  • Tulameen
  • Glen Ample

Summer-fruiting varieties will put on new growth in the spring which can get quite long very quickly. Be sure to tie the new spring growth to the trellis structure. Spring is also a great time to fertilize raspberry plants.

Boyne raspberry plant - burpee
Traditional raspberry trellis during spring harvest season

Raspberry trellises for fall-fruiting berry varieties

Raspberry varieties that are “autumn-fruiting” grow berries on freshly-sprouted stems. These types don’t need the over-wintering support of being tied onto trellis wires. Autumn berry varieties are well-suited to raspberry trellises formed of parallel supporting wires (the classic T-shaped raspberry trellis pictured above).

Here are some fall-fruiting raspberry varieties that can be grown loosely inside a trellis of parallel wires:

  • Fall Gold
  • Autumn Bliss
  • Vintage
  • Anne
  • Crimson Giant
  • Autumn Britten
  • Josephine
  • Polana
  • Heritage
  • Amity
  • Caroline
  • Polka

Prune out old, woody raspberry canes in July. These old canes can be removed down to the ground. Canes that have finished fruiting can be cut back to a reasonable height. Young, vigorous canes that fruit in the fall should not be pruned unless damaged or diseased.

When the canes become established and start to grow too much above the top wire on the trellis, take time at the end of each winter to cut back each cane down near the height of the top wire.

“Primocane-fruiting (fall-bearing) cultivars produce a significant amount of fruit at the top of the primocanes in the fall. The easiest way to manage primocane-fruiting raspberries is to cut the primocanes to the ground each winter after fruiting. If you keep them for the second year, however, they will produce a crop on the floricanes the next summer. Because primocane-fruiting types can be double cropped, they sometimes are called everbearing raspberries.”

Raspberry Cultivars for the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Northwest Extension, by Chad E. Finn, Bernadine C. Strik, and Patrick P. Moore
Wire attachment detail on raspberry trellis

Combining multiple raspberry types on one trellis

Multiple varieties of raspberries can be grown on the same trellis. We wanted to grow Boyne (summer-fruiting), as well as Heritage (fall-fruiting) and Autumn Gold (fall-fruiting). To combine these types into one berry patch, we built a parallel-wire trellis that was skinny enough that we can tie overwintering canes to the wires.

We decided to grow the summer-fruiting “Boyne” along the back wire of the raspberry trellis. New canes along the back are tied onto the wire in late summer and can be topped in late winter if they get too tall above the trellis. The berries ripen in July. Woody canes that have fruited can be cut down to the ground after the berries are harvested.

“In spring and summer, tie the new canes to the support wires as they develop. Keep the canes spaced about 10cm (4in) apart.”

Pruning & Training (Royal Horticultural Society), by Geoff Hodge

Fall-fruiting “Heritage” and “Fall Gold” are grown along the front wire. The trellis keeps these varieties within the boundary without tying, although there is the odd wayward cane that does need to be tied onto the trellis. The berries ripen in August and September. The canes can be left standing for a second year, or can be cut right back to the ground after the coldest days of winter have passed.

Raspberries growing on shady side of trellis

More raspberry trellis ideas

Here are some more ideas for raspberry trellis structures: Raspberry Trellis Ideas – Board on Pinterest

Modern raspberry trellis
Twisted wire on raspberry trellis
Installing drip irrigation at bottom of raspberry bed trellis structure
Wire outer cage on raspberry trellis
Bowls of homegrown raspberries in july


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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.