I know you all know exactly what I am talking about. Getting your raspberry patch to STAY where you want it to stay, and not take off sprinting in all different directions is incredibly difficult. Those voracious little buggers love to creep underground and pop up exactly where you don’t want them to. Usually their favorite places are in between your nicely laid pavers, smack dab in the middle of your flower box, out in the driveway, and anywhere else you wouldn’t want a raspberry plant to spring up.
To be fair, I should be thanking my raspberry plants for growing so vigorously and spreading out rather than reprimanding them, but sometimes it makes me crazy!
So after several failed attempts, and three different raspberry patch locations, I can now say I have come up with a way to get my raspberries to STAY PUT…. at least for a few years.
My raspberry patch has been exactly where I want it to be, and no where else, for 3 years now.
Here is how I do it.
- Choose your spot wisely
Before you so much as THINK about planting a raspberry plant, you need to consider where you really want it. Raspberry plants get big, really big, and they spread out. You have to provide them with room to spread a little or they won’t thrive. You also have to remember that they will be there for several years. So if your planning on sandwiching them in between your tomato plants and your flower box, please rethink your plan! You need an area AT LEAST 8 feet wide, preferably more like 12.
The first secret to getting your plants to stay put in your chosen spot, is water. Raspberries like water, and they will grow in whatever direction they have to, to get it. So find a spot where you can control their water completely and only put it where you want them to grow. DO NOT put them next to your grass under a sprinkling system, because they will immediately take off into your grass and never look back. You will spend the next ten years mowing down raspberry plants out in your yard, instead of picking berries from a flourishing patch.
Pick a spot that doesn’t get any added water within several feet all the way around your patch. I chose to plant mine across the ditch from our yard, in a place about 12 feet wide, that doesn’t get watered by the sprinklers.
By choosing this spot, my raspberry plants will be less likely to grow OUT in search of water. Instead, they will stay close together where I choose to put their water. It also gave them plenty of space to spread out a few feet and move around a bit, while still in my controlled environment.
Alright, now that you have a good spot, that doesn’t receive added water, and is plenty wide for your plants to spread out in their space you need to ….
2. Set up your watering system
Wherever you put your water, that is where your plants will want to grow. If you water your area with a huge sprinkler, within two years you will have plants popping up wherever the water is.
Water your patch with a drip system. You can get the water exactly where you want it, and it will seep way down deep into the soil so the raspberry roots will grow down instead of out. You can place your drip system RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR PATCH. Can you see my DIY pvc drip system going straight into the heart of my patch? This is the only water I give my raspberries. No sprinklers, just one strip down the middle. Once your raspberry plants reach the end of where the water gets to, they will be more likely to turn themselves around and grow back into the moisture instead of venturing out into the crusty. They will not ALWAYS do that, which is why I have another secret for you.
3. Put down tarp and mulch wherever you don’t want them to grow
Like I said earlier, I put my raspberry patch on the other side of the ditch from my yard. I wanted to have a pathway in between the ditch and the plants, to walk along and pick berries. The space where I wanted my raspberries to spread was in the other direction, away from the ditch and the pathway.
So I have my space, and I have my water, now I needed to keep the plants from growing in the wrong direction.
I put down thick tarp for my pathway and piled wood chips on top. I held down the edges with bricks and overlapped the tarp and the concrete ditch edge. This semi permanent pathway has successfully kept down the raspberries for a few years now. Everything has stayed fairly compacted and has spread in the direction that I have encouraged them to spread.
The important thing to remember when placing your permanent pathway is that you really do need to allow your raspberries a few feet to spread or you will never stop fighting them. My pathway is about 3 feet wide, then the space where I am allowing my raspberries to spread is about 4-5 feet wide. On the other side I have placed a temporary weed barrier that the raspberry plants will grow through. You can read about my free and organic weed control that I use if you CLICK HERE.
By using these three secrets, my patch has stayed right where I want it to stay for three years. It’s perfect for the kids to pick out of because we have a clear pathway for them to walk along. My patch looks nice and well kept because everything is in a compact row instead of a huge mass of raspberry shoots all over. I am confident my raspberries will do well staying where I want them for at least a few years more. If they ever venture all the way underneath the ditch to the grass on the other side then maybe that means it’s time to move the patch anyway!
I love to grow raspberries and have written quite a bit about them. So if you enjoyed this article, then be sure to check out the 3 biggest factors in how big and juicy your raspberry fruit gets. How much water, when to compost, and how to prune make all the difference in the size of your berries!
And while your at it, subscribe to The Real Farmhouse so you can get my list of what garden fruits and veggies save me the most money and the least. Then you will know what to plant in your garden for maximum profit!
Do you have any secrets for how to keep your raspberries put? Let’s here ’em!