The key to planting raspberry canes is to consider some fairly obvious characteristics which apply to all our raspberry plants:
1. Raspberries fruit very heavily
2. Their fruit has an extremely high water content
2. They completely replace their fruiting wood every year
3. They are very shallow rooted
4. a good raspberry bed can have a life of over 20 years.
From the above, it follows that a raspberry bed needs thorough preparation.
1. Because they are shallow rooted, raspberries cannot tolerate competition from grass and other weeds. So all weeds need to be killed or removed as part of your preparation.
2. As raspberries bear such large crops and have to renew the fruiting wood annually, the soil in the bed needs to be rich and water retentive. Incorporate masses of well-rotted manure or garden compost (except on heavy clay 0 see below) and use rootgrow when planting to get the plants off to a good start.
3. Leave plenty of room between rows; raspberry roots grow very close to the surface and walking close to the plants when weeding or harvesting damages them.
4. DO NOT PLANT TOO DEEP. 95% of newly planted raspberry deaths occur because planting was too deep. Just cover the roots with soil, keep them well watered and they will sort themselves out.
5. Mulch your raspberries with well-rotted manure or compost every spring to keep the soil fertile and to improve its structure.
6. Plant your raspberry plants 60cms apart.
7. On heavy clay, clear the ground of weeds, but do NOT improve it before planting. Make a hole, for each plant, put the cane in it and then replace the clay that came out of the hole as best you can around the raspberry roots. Don't be too vigorous as they are fragile).