Grow Fruits

Why Are My Raspberries So Small? (Quick Answer Here)

Raspberries are considered one of the most common berry crops that are grown in summer cottages and suburban areas. Unfortunately, as with other garden crops, troubles can also happen with raspberries, one of which is: why are raspberries so small?

Some of the most common factors that impact the size of raspberries include overcrowding, nutrient deficiencies, pests, diseases and environmental factors such as soil type and quality, and cultural practices.

Reasons Raspberries are so Small:Main factorWhat to do
1. OvercrowdingLack of control by the gardener, incorrect or untimely pruning of raspberry bushes.Remove old diseased shoots and always maintain a distance between raspberry rows of 1 m.
Distance between raspberry bushes is recommended to be 30 – 40 cm.
2. Nutrients deficiencyLack of top dressing throughout the season.Fertilize raspberries with a complex NPK fertilizer (50 g of complex fertilizer per 10 liters of water).
Apply 20 g of superphosphate per 10 liters of water after the raspberry has ripened.
3. Diseases and pestLack of treatment against diseasesRaspberry bushes are sprayed with fungicides and insecticides. 
If the branches are damaged by gall midges, the shoots are cut at the root and burned.
4. Improper loosening of the soilDeep and frequent loosening of the soil near the raspberry bushes, damage to the roots.Scatter manure near the raspberries bushes, and reduce the loosening depth of the soil. 
Mulch the ground with dry grass.
5. Soil depletionGrowth of raspberries in one place for several years.
Small berries appear because raspberries have taken out all the useful elements from the soil. 
Constant top dressing may not help.
A raspberry bush transplant is required at least 1 time in 8 years.

1. Overcrowding

The most common reason raspberries remain small is because of overcrowding. This can happen when raspberry bushes grow as they please without any control from the grower. 

This berry shrub is unique in that it produces a large number of branches in a short period of time and spreads over a large region.

As a result, the shoots become thinner and weaker as they absorb less sunshine and nourishment. In this scenario, a pruner should be used to remove any fruit-bearing, weak, tiny raspberry canes (branches).

In this case, even the largest varieties of raspberries can be crushed. Raspberries should not be grown neglected and thickened. 

It is possible to help it produce large raspberries again by removing old and diseased shoots that have fruited, leaving a distance between rows of about 1 meter, and between bushes of 30-40 cm.

Typically, raspberry bushes are planted 50 cm apart, with no more than 8 vigorous and healthy branches remaining in the bush. The rows are separated by a spacing of no less than 1.5 meters.


Every year it is recommended to cut raspberries, removing old and damaged shoots, excess shoots.

If this is not done, the raspberries will turn into dense thickets, the young shoots will not have enough light, which is why they will not bear fruit well.

Old shoots and young shoots, located at a distance from the raspberry mother bush, take a lot of strength from the plant leading to small ripen raspberries.

To remedy the situation, use a garden pruner to remove the weakened shoots. After that, thin out the remaining healthy shoots. Try to make the row spacing 1 m each, and the width of the rows themselves of 35 cm each.

If you neglected pruning, then the reason for small raspberries lies, most likely, precisely in this. Be sure to thin out the raspberries next fall, and next year the berries will become noticeably larger.

Our tip!
The width of the raspberry bush should be no more than 40 cm, and the distance between the bushes should be at least 70 cm.
Then the raspberry bush is further cleared, leaving 6-7 of the largest branches on it.

2. Nutrients deficiency

Raspberry remain small due to the lack of nutrients in the soil. Raspberries require a range of important nutrients to develop and produce fruit, and when one or more of these elements is deficient, plant growth and fruit size are diminished.

A shortage of nitrogen, for example, might result in smaller leaves and less overall raspberry bush development, which can lead to smaller fruit.

Phosphorus is also necessary for fruit development and growth since it aids in the transmission of energy and nutrients to the growing fruit. If there is a phosphorus deficit, the raspberry may be smaller and of a worse quality.

Potassium is also important for fruit size and quality since it regulates water intake and affects fruit size and firmness.

Magnesium and calcium are also important elements for raspberry plants, and a lack of these nutrients might result in smaller berries and poor fruit quality.

Other micronutrients, including as iron, zinc, and boron, are also necessary for raspberry growth and fruit development, and shortages in these elements can affect fruit size and quality.

Does your raspberry leaves are turning yellow? If so, here are the causes and effective treatments you should do to fix this issue!


Even if you put compost, manure or humus in a planting pit or trench, it is recommended to fertilize the raspberries at least once during flowering.

Raspberries actively take nutrients from the soil, so they need to be fed regularly. The first fertilizers are applied in the spring. Superphosphate containing a complex of necessary elements is ideal.

During the flowering period, the raspberry bushes are watered with a solution of mineral fertilizers, which is prepared at the rate of 50 grams of fertilizer per bucket of water.

During fruiting, emphasis is placed on potash and nitrogen fertilizers. Nitrogen is applied before the formation of raspberries. You can use urea and ammonium nitrate, scattered between rows and buried in the soil.

For potash top dressing, potassium sulfate is used: 40 grams are dissolved in a bucket of water and watered with a planting solution.

Shortly before the raspberries ripen, apply a solution of potassium sulfate and superphosphate (20 g + 20 g + 10 l of water) under the bushes. 

Water the raspberries with the nutrient mixture after the next watering with clean water. About 10 liters of working solution should be used per 1 m².

3. Raspberry Diseases

If all kinds of diseases of this plant have accumulated in your raspberry, this will also affect the size of the raspberries. 

Raspberry plants can be affected by a variety of diseases, each with its own set of symptoms, such as diminished plant growth and smaller fruit.

Viruses, like Raspberry Mosaic Virus, can limit plant development and result in smaller fruit, as well as stunted growth, yellowing foliage, and lower yields.

The virus is transmitted by aphids. The disease leads to the death of the top, to the spotting of the plant and the complete loss of fruit quality. To prevent and combat the disease, complex insecticides treatment is needed.

Fungal diseases like botrytis and powdery mildew can also stunt plant development and result in smaller fruit, as well as defoliation and lower yields.

This often occurs when bushes are affected by stem gall midges and other pests, as well as in a number of fungal and viral diseases.

Fungal disease is also one the main factor why raspberry leaves are turning red. Discover in this article the other reasons and treatments for red leaves in raspberry.


At the first sign of damage, immediately treat the bushes with the right preparation. Also, do not neglect preventive treatments of bushes at the beginning of the season.

If the raspberry has become small, it is necessary to inspect the plant, remove all damaged shoots and burn it. In autumn, raspberries should be treated with modern fungicides and insecticidal preparations.

 In the spring, before the buds open, treat the raspberries with 1% Bordeaux liquid . 

To avoid diseases, it is recommended to carry out preventive measures by spraying raspberry bushes. If the shoots are infected with gall midge, then they must be cut and burned.

If the raspberries were very sick last summer, repeat the above treatment before flowering and after harvest. Throughout the season, periodically inspect the bushes, remove and burn all diseased and pest-infested shoots.

During fruiting, spraying raspberries with any chemicals is not recommended.

4. Improper loosening of the soil

The problem may lie in frequent improper loosening of the soil around the bushes. In this case, the raspberry roots are often injured, which will inevitably affect both the yield and the size of individual berries. 

Raspberry roots are located shallowly, so you should not loosen the soil deeper than 3 cm. It is better to abandon this procedure altogether and mulch the surface under the raspberry plant with a 15 cm layer of hay or straw.

Excessive loosening of the soil

Raspberries love to be cared for, but over-grooming raspberries can also cause the berries to shrink. This applies to the deep loosening of the soil around raspberry bushes. 

As a result of this procedure, raspberry roots will be constantly damaged and will not have time to recover. This will lead to weak shoots and small raspberries.


If this happens to your raspberries, then try applying manure, and significantly reduce the loosening depth. And to keep the soil loose and moist for a long time, mulch it with straw or hay.

Mulch not only keeps the soil from drying out, but it also saturates it with organic substances as it decomposes. Throughout the season, the mulch layer must be replenished on a regular basis.

Because this crop has a shallow root system, the shovel should not be sunk more than 3-5 cm into the soil after watering.

5. Small Raspberry due to Soil depletion

The depletion of the soil area where this bush has been grown for many years is frequently the cause of why raspberries remain small in size and don’t grow.

Very rarely, gardeners change the location of their raspberries and this is their mistake.

After all, the soil cannot constantly feed plants with the same nutrients that they take from the soil, especially with improper agricultural practices.

But raspberries are demanding in terms of mineral and organic nutrients.

Even if the soil was well fertilized with fertilizers at the time of planting the shrub, a raspberry will last only a couple of years, after which it will begin to starve. This will also affect the size of the raspberries.

It is recommended to transplant raspberry bushes approximately once every 8 years.

Organic fertilizers must be applied at least once every two years. Raspberries respond well to manure, but it can be replaced with compost, humus or peat.

If the raspberry bush has been growing in one place for more than 6 years, it is advisable to feed it with organic matter annually.

It is necessary to bring fresh manure into the raspberry bush every 2-3 years for shallow autumn digging.


Several times during the season, raspberries are recommended to be fed with mineral fertilizers. During the flowering period, watering with a solution of complex fertilizers (40 g per bucket of 10 liters of water) is recommended. 

When the first raspberries ripen, raspberries are fed with superphosphate and potassium sulfate. Each type of fertilizer per 10 liters of water takes 20 g.

It is important to know that overfeeding raspberries with mineral fertilizers, especially those containing nitrogen, is also dangerous: it can give all its strength to the formation of a green mass, and the berry will grow small.

If the problem cannot be solved by fertilizing, you can try transplanting the raspberries to a new place.

What to do if the raspberries become small

  1. Thin out thickets, eliminating thickening. It is necessary to make sure that light and fresh air penetrates deep into the raspberries.
  2. Water the raspberries as often as possible, especially in hot weather. It is undesirable to allow the soil to completely dry out.
  3. Feed with wood ash. First, you should mix a 3L jar filled with dry ash with 10L of water. Leave for a day, and then pour abundantly with the prepared planting agent. It is advisable to do this every 1-2 weeks. It also does not hurt to make compost, and mulch on top with grass or straw.
  4. Pick berries in a timely manner, without leaving overripe fruits on the bush, which will begin to rot and attract harmful insects.
  5. Inspect plantings for pests and diseases. After waiting for the end of fruiting, treat the raspberries with a complex preparation, twice with an interval of 2 weeks.


Raspberries can remain small for various reasons. Usually the problem lies in improper care or even its complete absence. Raspberries need annual fertilization, pruning, and mulching of the soil. 

In dry weather, it must be watered. If raspberries have become small, despite proper care, diseases and pests may be to blame. Having examined the raspberries, you will almost certainly find the reason and will be able to take adequate measures to eliminate it.

Of course, with proper agricultural practices (regular pruning, balanced nutrition and timely spraying), bushes in one place can grow and bear fruit well for many years in a row. But if there are omissions in agricultural practices, then the raspberry should be moved to a new place every 6-8 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What berries are considered small?

Raspberries can produce berries of different weight and size. Fruit parameters depend on the characteristics of the variety. The mass of berries varies from 3 to 15 g, the length is 1 – 3 cm.

What is the size of the berries for remontant varieties of raspberries?

As a rule, remontant varieties of raspberries have increased endurance. Raspberries give a harvest within a few months, and the fruits are quite large and tasty. For example, the fruits of the Zeva, Nugget and Aurora variety grow up to 11 g.

Why are raspberries shrinking?

Raspberries become small over the years from insufficient care.

Andreea Tapu

Andreea TAPU is a passionate gardener with over 5 years of experience in cultivating a wide variety of plants and flowers in her garden. As the author and creator of, she is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others, providing practical tips and advice to help gardeners of all levels achieve success and enjoyment in their gardening pursuits.