Use pruned raspberry canes to create attractive woven garden edging. This easy project is great for the vegetable garden or for decorative borders
Every gardener who grows raspberries goes through the same winter ritual: taking out the old wood. Whether you have autumn or summer fruiting varieties you’ll be left with a bundle of canes that generally gets burned or composted. It seems like such a waste, especially when you consider the other materials that we spend money on to bring into the garden. This winter I kept the canes until I came up with a good idea for how to use them. They lay in a stack for about a month before an idea struck me — they could be used to make raspberry cane garden edging.
There’s a short video below sharing how to make it but really, it’s very easy. Use any discarded raspberry canes for this project but if they have thorns make sure to wear gloves. The end product can last several years and since the canes are hollow, provide habitat for garden insects. At the end of that time, simply replace the old garden edging with newly pruned raspberry canes.
Materials needed for this project
- A bundle of pruned raspberry canes
- Bamboo cut into 18″ segments
- Tools: a hacksaw and a hammer
Discarded raspberry canes
There are only two materials that I used to create my woven ‘Wattle’ edging that you see in this project: a bundle of raspberry canes, and three old bamboo canes. I also use the support from larger wooden stakes that I have driven into the ground but these are optional. I’ve made this same raspberry cane garden edging in another area and the bamboo segments are enough to hold it in place.
Raspberry canes grow every year and normally gardeners cut them down in the winter and get rid of them. Using them for something attractive and functional in the garden is a far more clever idea. Since my garden is on a slope, they help to keep the compost from eroding out of my raspberry bed.
Pruning Raspberry Canes
The first step is pruning your raspberries. Autumn fruiting varieties (like mine) are generally cut down to the ground every year. I cut mine to about two inches from the ground. You prune all the canes because they fruit most productively on new wood. Summer fruiting varieties fruit on canes that grew the previous summer. For those types, you need to selectively prune out the canes that have already fruited.
You prune your raspberries in winter when the plants are dormant. The canes should still be alive even though they look withered and dead. Discard any that are soggy, brittle, or look diseased. In the photo below you can see how many canes I needed for the section of edging I made: it was a decent sized bundle.
Bamboo Cane Supports
When you cut raspberry canes they’re at first flexible and strong. Over time they will harden and lose their bendiness and strength so they need solid supports so that they remain in place. Bamboo canes fit the bill. Even when they’re old and beaten up they can still be strong.
The supports for the wattle edging are 18″ segments of bamboo cane that I cut with a hacksaw. Pressed 4 inches into the ground at 12-18″ apart they’ll be your edging’s support. I recommend that you run a piece of string along the area you want to build the edging. Use it as a guide to place your bamboo supports in a straight line.
Creating Raspberry Cane Garden Edging
Once the bamboo canes are in, begin weaving in the raspberry canes. Begin from one end and weave one cane in and around the pegs and push it all the way to the ground. Take a second cane and weave it along the same pegs but in the opposite direction — the video at the top of this post shows the process.
Once you have two canes woven in you move to the next section and weave canes in exactly the same manner in that space. All you’re doing is winding the canes in and out of the bamboo pegs and then making sure the cane that follows it is woven in the opposite way around. Simple.
Finishing the Raspberry Cane Edging
Once you’ve built up the edging to the desired height all you need to do is hammer in the bamboo pegs. More for aesthetic reasons than anything, you bang them in so that the tops are flush with each other and are just above the top of the raspberry canes. I used the back of my hatchet to do this in the video but most would probably use a hammer. The finished product is strong, attractive, and pretty much free! It’s such a good feeling to transform ‘waste’ into useful things.