Grow raspberries in a part of the landscape that has good air circulation, good drainage, and full sunlight. Good air movement helps foliage dry faster, thereby reducing disease problems. Any well-drained soil is satisfactory for growing raspberries.
Early spring (late March and April) is the best time to plant dormant, bare root raspberry plants in Iowa. If the planting of dormant, bare root stock must be delayed after purchase or arrival in the mail, moisten the packing material around the roots of the raspberry plants and store them in a cool location, such as cellar or garage.
Remove the dormant, bare root raspberry plants from storage when ready to plant. If the roots of the raspberry plants are dry, soak them in water for several hours before planting. The raspberry plants should be set slightly deeper into the soil than they were in the nursery. Plant red and yellow raspberries 2 inches deeper.
Dig a hole slightly larger than the spread of the plant's root system. Position the plant in the center of the hole, spread out its roots, then backfill with soil. Firm the soil around the roots as you backfill. Water each plant thoroughly, then prune back the canes, leaving a maximum of 2 or 3 inches above the soil.
Actively growing plants should be planted when the danger of frost is past. Harden actively growing plants outdoors for a few days before planting them in the garden. Initially, place the plants in a shady, protected site. Then gradually expose the plants to longer periods of direct sun. If possible, plant them into the garden on a cloudy day or in the evening. After planting, water each plant thoroughly.
Important Planting Amendments
While you should not add any fertilizer to the hole when you plant, a handful of compost is very helpful. In addition spray the roots with Actinovate, the biological fungicide that will help prevent any fungal disease problems for the newly planted berries. In addition we recommend spray the roots with Vegetable Thrive which adds root fungi and beneficial soil microbes to give the plant a superior start. We do not consider these amendments optional. If you are going to the trouble to buy plants and build a trellis why not give your raspberry plants the best start you can.