Raspberry Trellis Tips & Ideas: How to Support Berry Canes

A raspberry trellis is a support framework 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.

view of bottom of raspberry bed
Boyne Raspberry plant - burpee

“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

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 around a farmer’s field.

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
  • Titan
  • Lewis
  • Tulameen
  • Glen Ample

“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
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).

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 to 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 in 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 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

“There are many ways to grow food and flowers vertically, but the obelisk is a garden classic. In a front yard, you might typically find one supporting some gorgeous flowering annual or perennial. But the stately, classy obelisk is a great way to sneak food plants into a traditional perennial garden.”

Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces, by Tara Nolan

“Do choose a rot-resistant wood, like hemlock or cedar.”

Gardening Your Front Yard: Projects and Ideas for Big and Small Spaces, by Tara Nolan
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
Bowl of ripe fresh harvested raspberries

Mary Jane

Mary Jane is a home gardener who loves creating healthy, welcoming spaces (indoors and out!) - About Mary Jane (https://www.homefortheharvest.com/authors/about-mary-jane-duford/)

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