Skip to Content

Top Problems Growing Raspberries and How to Fix Them

Raspberries are delicious fruit that many people attempt to grow in their backyard. In the right environment, raspberries are simple and easy to raise. But they are prone to multiple problems that can cause difficulty with growing and producing fruit.

The top problems growing raspberries include changing leaf colors, insect infestations, fertilization issues, funguses, and diseases common to raspberries. Some common fixes include improving soil nutrition, ensuring the plants are getting adequate water, and spraying fungicide or pesticides.

By the time we’re done, you’ll be ready to grow raspberries full of juicy yummy taste. And they’ll be pretty to look at too. Put down the shovel, place your hand on the computer mouse, and take a few minutes to educate yourself on the problems you might face when growing raspberries. Your plants will thank you.

Raspberry Leaves Turning Brown

One of the most common problems gardeners experiences with growing raspberries is leaves that turn brown. This issue can have multiple causes, and the damage is usually reversible if caught in time.

But in severe cases, such as when the coloring is due to a disease, you might have to discard the entire plant. Here are a few common reasons why your raspberry leaves might be turning brown.

Nutrient Deficiency

When the edges of your raspberry leaves turn brown, likely, your plants aren’t getting the appropriate nutrition. Using an adequately balanced fertilizer can help turn your leaves back to a healthy green.

The only way to determine the exact issue your plants are having is to do a home test kit on the soil, which tells you which nutrients are in the dirt, such as the Sonkir Soil 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Tester

Raspberries do best in soil that has a pH balance between 5.5 to 6.5. The earth’s pH means how acidic or alkaline the soil is on a scale of 1 to 14, with seven being neutral. Below seven means the soil has more acid, above seven means there’s more alkaline. 

Too Much Fertilization

While you should be using fertilization for your raspberries, using too much can cause browning leaves, just as fast as not having enough nutrients. 

The best fertilizer balance for raspberry growth is 10-10-10 ratio (phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen), such as Southern Ag All-Purpose Granular Fertilizer. You will need 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kilograms) per 100 feet (30.4 meters). For a small garden, you’ll only need to use about two ounces.

If you’ve added too much food to your raspberries, you can reverse the problems by flushing the soil using water. Add ½ to 1 gallon of water over the top of your plant. Once drained, repeat the process an hour later. 

You can also transplant your flowers to a new container with fresh soil. 


A lack of water can also cause your raspberry leaves to turn brown and wilt. If your plant recovers its healthy look after watering, it could be that you’re not hydrating frequently enough or using enough water. 

Raspberries need one to two inches of water (2.54 to 5.08 centimeters) a week during the growing season and can require as much as four inches of water during harvest.

Raspberry Leaves With Orange Spots

Many botanists trying to grow raspberries may experience a problem with orange spots developing on the leaves. 

If your raspberry leaves are more orange than green, you may be dealing with a case of orange rust disease caused by a fungus called Arthuriomyces peckianus. 

This type of disease attacks the entire plant of black and purple raspberry species and blackberries. Red raspberries are immune.

Orange rust is highly active in the spring. The most obvious sign that you’re dealing with this disease is that the leaves’ underside will have yellowish-orange bumps.

This disease will cause stunted cane growth and thin spindly stalks. Infected plants also usually stop producing flowers or fruit. 

Despite the heavy toll orange rust takes on a raspberry plant, it will not kill it entirely. But there is no cure so that it won’t return to a healthy status. If you don’t destroy the infected plants, the disease can spread to your healthy crop. 

Raspberry Leaves Turning Yellow

If your raspberry leaves are starting to turn yellow, there’s a problem, such as a pH imbalance in the soil. Testing your soil and changing the amount of fertilizer or plant food you’re using can repair it.

Dehydration can also cause yellow leaves. You should water raspberry plants once a week if you’re experiencing dry weather. Make sure you soak the dirt enough that the water can penetrate at least ten inches (25.4 centimeters). 

Mulch is a great way to trap moisture and nutrients in the soil to keep your plants healthy. You can also use natural compost.

For natural fertilization, you can use 50 to 100 pounds (22.7 to 45.4 kilograms) of manure for every 100 feet (30.4 meters) of plants. 


Insects such as Aphids are another common cause of yellowing leaves. These creatures eat the sap from the raspberry leaves, causing them to curl inward and turn from green to yellow or brown. 

You can prevent aphids from attacking your raspberry plants by using pesticides, such as a natural solution that’s 16 portions water to one portion of Dawn dishwashing liquid. 

Transplant Shock

If you’ve recently transplanted your raspberries, the yellowing leaves may be due to transplant shock. Before you move your raspberries to a new location, soak the roots in water first. 

Raspberry Leaves Turning Red

If your raspberry leaves are taking on a red tint, you might be dealing with phytophthora root rot. This condition is caused by improper watering, meaning that your roots are getting too much water. 

This fungal disease causes stunted growth, damaged leaves, and small fruit. In addition to leaves that turn red, yellow, or purple, raspberry plants with this condition will wilt and die. 

You may not even know your plants are infected until too late. The symptoms present in late spring or summer and can suddenly go from ordinary to dead overnight. The best way to prevent this condition is to have a proper watering method. 

You should water raspberry plants once a week if you’re experiencing dry weather. Make sure you soak the dirt enough that the water can penetrate at least ten inches (25.4 centimeters) into the ground. 

Raspberries With Insects

Raspberries are a big attraction for many types of insects, including ants, aphids, beetles, and ladybugs. Some insects, such as ladybugs, won’t do any harm to your plants. Ladybugs can be an excellent deterrent to dangerous types of insects.

Raspberries With Ant Infestation

Many times, you might notice ants crawling all over your raspberry plants. Ants don’t do damage to the plants. They typically feast on rotted fruit that you won’t be able to harvest. But it can be irritating to see your lovely plants covered with small black crawling insects.

There is no harm in leaving the ants alone, as long as you wash the fruit before eating or storing. But if the sight of ants on your plants is too much, there are some methods you can use to get rid of them. 

First, it helps to remove any limbs that expand down to the ground. Ants use these to climb up the plant. You can spread chemicals like diatomaceous earth around your plants, which works as a repellent. 

If you prefer a natural barrier that won’t harm the ants but still keep them away, dig into your spice cabinet and find cinnamon, cayenne or black pepper, or chili powder. Planting odorous herbs like garlic, peppermint, pennyroyal, or rhubarb around your raspberry plants also prevent ants. 

Raspberries With Aphid Infestation

Aphids are small light green or yellow insects that affect raspberries, as well as loganberries. When your plants get infested during the springtime, you’ll see the curling of the leaves. 

These types of insects damage your plants by sucking nutrients from them. Without proper nutrition, your plants will be at risk of getting diseases, which can be transferred by Aphids.

It’s crucial to control aphid infestation so they can’t transfer infections between your crops. Or you could plant raspberry varieties that are resistant to Aphids, such as the purple-red Royalty. 

Raspberry Drooping

If you notice your raspberry plants are drooping, it’s essential to narrow down the cause. Start by identifying what part of the plant is sagging. 

If the early shoots start showing damage during the spring, it could be Raspberry cane maggots. You might also get swollen canes. Many plants can recover from maggots without using insecticides. 

When you have wilting around your new shoots in the summer, check to see if there are puncture rings around 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) below the tip. It could be a sign of Raspberry Cane Borer infestation, a type of beetle active in June. They lay eggs in the plant around the middle of summer.

Verticillium Wilt

Diseases can also cause your plants to droop. Verticillium Wilt is a severe condition that can attack black and red raspberries, although it’s more common in black raspberries and blackberries. 

Infected black raspberry plants will typically survive one to three years, whereas red raspberries may last longer, but they won’t be very productive. Once infected, raspberry plants become contagious, often affecting your other crops. 

The symptoms of Verticillium Wilt typically start showing from June to July and start with dull green lower leaves. They will then begin to turn yellow and fall off. You might also notice a blue or purple line in the soil that runs up the cane of blackberry bushes. 

Crown/Cane Gall

Both Crown Gall and Cane Gall can cause your raspberry plants to start drooping. You’ll know your plants have this condition if you notice small white tumors on the cane, crown, or root.

In advanced stages, the galls become brown or black and go from a spongy texture to a hard one. Plants infected with a severe case of either these conditions will have stunted growth and reduced fruit production.

Cane Blight

Cane blight is a fungal condition that affects red and black raspberries, as well as blackberries. Red raspberries are at higher risk of cane blight and suffer more damage when infected. 

To identify cane blight, examine your plants in late summer to early fall, paying close attention to the primocanes – first-year canes. This condition often affects damaged rods. 

It starts with cankers on the cane that can stretch up and down the stalk on all sides. When the infection spreads entirely around the stem, the plant usually dies. Cane blight also causes the raspberry leaves to wilt and fall off.

Fire Blight

Another type of cane blight disease is fire blight, which causes the tips of the cane to wilt and harden, often resembling a shepherd’s hook. 

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on June 12, 2020.

You might still have some fruit production while your plants are infected with fire blight, but the harvest is typically hard and dry rather than plumb, squishy and juicy. 

With this condition, the cane starts dying from the top, resulting in blackened leaf veins and petioles. You might also see canker spots on some of the infected cane stalks. 

Raspberry Leaves Turning Black

If your raspberry leaves are turning black, you could be looking at a case of frost damage, depending on the time of year and your location. Check your weather forecast to see if you’ve had low nightly temperatures or frost advisories. 

But black leaves can also be caused by disease. Examine the canes to see if you notice any damage. If there are black streaks, galls, or tumors, your plants could be infected and will need to be destroyed, so they don’t contaminate your entire crop. 

If the tips of the cane are starting to turn black and the leaves, you could be looking at a Mosaic case, which affects purple and black raspberries. This condition causes poor fruit harvest, thick curled discolored leaves, and twirled dying cane.

Raspberry Leaves With Yellow Spots

If you have yellow spots on your raspberries, there could be multiple causes. Let’s review the different reasons that could turn your leaves yellow. 

Late Leaf Rust

Late leaf rust is a common infection that targets red raspberries, caused by a fungus called Pucciniastrum americanum. 

Raspberry plants are at the most risk to catch late leaf rust during the fall when the weather gets damp and cold primarily because this disease is spread by water and wind. 

Symptoms of late leaf rust disease include yellow or white spots, blisters, or streaks on the top or bottom of the leaves. The leaves may curl up and turn brown at the edges. 

And the leaves are also usually deformed and may shed earlier than expected. You might even start to notice orange or yellow patches on your raspberry fruits during harvest. 

Raspberries Not Growing

If your raspberries have stunted growth without producing flower or healthy berries, you most likely have a vitamin deficiency in your soil. 

This can frequently happen if you plant your raspberries in the same soil that used to have tomatoes, eggplants, or peppers. These types of plants can infect the dirt, which can, in turn, affect your plants. 

You also want to make sure your plants are getting the proper sunlight. Raspberries need six to eight hours of full sun in a well-drained, highly nutrient-rich area. Using mulch or appropriate fertilizer can make your plants grow healthier. 

The best fertilizer balance for raspberry growth is 10-10-10 ratio (phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen). You will need 4 to 5 pounds (1.8 to 2.3 kilograms) per 100 feet (30.4 meters). 

For a small garden, you’ll only need to use about two ounces. We like Southern Ag All-Purpose Granular Fertilizer

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on June 12, 2020.

Another option is a blend of rock phosphate, langbeinite, and cottonseed meal mixed to a 10-3-10 ratio.

Raspberry Leaves Turning White

White leaves could mean multiple issues. For one, you could have a problem leafhoppers – small insects with wings. Examine the underside of your leaves to see if there are any of these little creatures. These insects can cause the leaves to turn white or mottled colors.

Another issue of gray leaves is that your plants have developed powdery mildew, which typically happens when you’ve had a lot of wet weather or overwatered your plants. 

To repair the damage, you can remove the moldy patches using pruning shears or scissors. But if there’s too much damage, you may have to scrap the plants and start over. 

However, gray mold is a common but serious disease that causes rotten fruit. It can also lead to blossom blight. You’ll notice mold on flowers at first, but the condition can spread to the leaves and cane if not treated. 

If your fruit is showing signs of bleaching – white spots – it could be because your plants are getting too much sunlight. Sunscald will not harm the berries but does change their appearance. 

Raspberry Plant Fungus

Raspberries can be infected by multiple fungi, making this one of the most common problems you’ll face with growing raspberries. Depending on the type of fungus, you might have to destroy your crop instead of healing it. 

The most common fungal diseases that affect raspberries are cane blight, spur blight, gray mold, and anthracnose. 

When your plants are infected with anthracnose, you’ll notice small purple spots on the cane with about ⅛” diameters. You may have small fruit that takes longer to ripen. And the leaves will have holes in them. 

Spur blight results in purple to brown lesions on the canes during summer months. Areas infected are usually the individual buds, which might not grow properly. This condition is more common if you have a wet spring season.

Many fungus diseases are caused by too much moisture. To avoid the risk of fungus or disease attacking your raspberries, try to keep the water off the leaves and blooms. Overhead watering is not an excellent route to go. 

Instead, consider investing in a soaker hose like the Teknor Apex or set up a drip irrigation system (requires some DIY handiwork and plumbing).

Final Thoughts

We’ve covered all the problems you may experience when trying to grow raspberries, from leaves changing various colors to the different diseases and funguses that can infect your crop. No matter what situation you face with your raspberry growing, you’re now equipped to deal with it. Happy growing!

Related Articles

Top Problems Growing Zucchini and How to Fix Them

Top Common Problems Growing Brussels Sprouts and How to Fix It

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on June 12, 2020.

Top Problems Growing Kale and How to Fix It