DIY Raspberry Cane Garden Edging
Use pruned raspberry canes to create attractive woven garden edging using the wattle weaving technique. This easy project is great for vegetable garden beds and for decorative borders.
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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.
While the edging looks great, it has a purpose too. Namely, keeping the compost mulch inside the raspberry bed out of the paths. Raspberry cane edging can last several years and at the end of that time, simply replace the old garden edging with newly pruned raspberry canes. It’s a project that doesn’t take long, is attractive, and is pretty much free! It’s such a good feeling to transform ‘waste’ into useful things.
Discarded Raspberry Canes
There are only two materials that I used to create my woven ‘wattle’ raspberry cane edging: a bundle of raspberry canes, and three old bamboo canes. I also use the support from larger wooden stakes from the raspberry trellis 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 when spent and get rid of them. Either in the compost, green-waste, or in many cases by burning them. Using them for something attractive and functional in the garden is a better idea. Since my garden is on a slope, they help to keep the compost from eroding out of my raspberry bed. They also look great and I’ve had quite a few people contact me with photos of theirs. Everyone seems so excited by how simple it is to transform discarded raspberry canes into something so lovely and practical.
Pruning Raspberry Canes
The first step is to prune 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.
Prune autumn-fruiting raspberries in winter when the plants are dormant. Summer-fruiting tends to happen mainly at the end of summer. Either way, the canes should still be alive even though they may 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 of about 50 pruned raspberry canes.
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. If you don’t have bamboo, you can use another sturdy stick like hazel or even pieces of kindling.
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.
DIY Raspberry Cane Garden Edging
- Secateurs (or a hacksaw)
- Hammer (optional)
- 1 Bundle of pruned raspberry canes About 50-60 canes
- 10 Bamboo stakes (18" long) Cut down from three long bamboo canes
- If creating raspberry cane edging with a straight line, push a bamboo cane at either end of the area you wish your edging to be. Run a string from both, and use this guide to place your remaining bamboo canes. Push them into the ground about four inches (10 cm) deep. Canes should be spaced about 12-18" (30-45 cm) apart.
- Once the bamboo canes are in, begin weaving in the raspberry canes. Begin from one end and weave one cane in and around the bamboo stakes and push it all the way to the ground. Take a second cane and weave it along the same stakes but in the opposite direction — the video included in this piece 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.
- 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.
Discarded Raspberry Canes as a Garden Resource
In this project, I show how I’ve used discarded raspberry canes to create wattle edging around my raspberry bed. You can use this idea to create garden edging anywhere though! If you don’t have raspberry canes, you could also use trimmed grapevine, thornless blackberry canes, willow, hazel, or any other flexible material. Have fun and be pleased with yourself for creating something for nothing and saving a garden resource from being wasted. For more creative garden inspiration, check out these other ideas:
- 30+ Garden Projects using Sticks & Twigs
- Quick and easy DIY Raspberry Trellis
- Create Free Wood Chip Garden Paths
- DIY Willow Garden Obelisk for Climbing Plants
Do you have rabbits at your allotment? If so, have they left the cane edging alone? The first year I planted fall fruiting raspberries, I left the canes to see what type of harvest they would provide the following spring. Well, we have an abundance of bunnies and they ate the old canes as a winter snack! I wonder if they would go after the canes once they are formed into edging?
I think this is a wonderful way to put old canes to use, so I will give it a try and see what happens, but I would like to hear your thoughts and experience with this. Thanks!
I do have rabbits but there’s so much else for them to eat that they leave the canes alone — both dead (wattle edging) and live standing ones. The bunnies in your garden must be pretty desperate to eat them! You must have harsh winters in your area?
Ah, that is a very good point. Winters here are not harsh but not mild either. The temps can drop dramatically with a snow & ice storms and then quickly be gone a few days later with warm sun (foothills of the Appalachian Mnts. in Southeastern USA). I think your first point was spot on. In terms of delicious winter food, the raspberry canes were a special treat compared to what else is around. I am trying a crop of red clover for ground cover in a few beds this fall & winter so hopefully they will be drawn to that instead, I don’t mind if they snack on that :)
Absolutely love this video and I have just started making a woven edging for the first bed in our allotment today using cut raspberry canes. Your video was really informative and easy to follow. Thank you!!
Brilliant, and so pleased to hear it!
I assume that there are no sharp needles/prickers on your vines? All my raspberries and blackberries have painful prickers. I would have to remove them first before I wove them, I guess.
Some of my canes do have tiny thorns, as yours do. I think leaving the canes out in the weather helps break some of them down but I wear garden gloves when weaving too.
I just started out as a new Allotmenteer in June 2018.
here is my Youtube Channel documenting my progress from day 1 if you are interested. I wish you all the best of luck on your allotment journey. All my Organic Love from Nathan at Allotment 5W.
hello, i am new here, and i love your blog and info. i was looking for a book on all these garden projects cos i find looking at the screen tiring. you do not know a good book about using twigs and branches and other objects, i cannot find any apart from jim long. thanks for so much info. xxx
Loving your blog. After a three-year wait, I’ve just inherited a large plot awash with raspberry canes and tangled strawberry beds. Will be taking your advice and heading up there with a few bags of manure and black plastic sheeting. Can’t wait to have a go at making this edging – thank you :)
Good luck with your new plot Lisa! It sounds like you’ll have plenty of material to make raspberry cane garden edging :)
Great idea, I moved into a house which had two raspberry bushes which had not been looked after for over 5 years. I am committed to re-using material and for example, I grew nasturium and mint in lawn grass cuttings. For this, I used old fish crates which I found in the garden but you have given me an idea to create a mini raised bed made from raspberry canes.
It works with grapevine, too. I weave the trimmed vines through my wire farm fence. It’s beautiful, and it’s a very meditative activity as well.
I never thought to do this with light materials. I made a fence at the front of my woods using downed and trimmed branches in much the same way. Great idea!
What a brilliant idea. I might even give it a go using some new raspberry canes as the uprights, then it will be a living edging.
The only issue with trying this is keeping them all in a straight line. If you could manage that then you just prune them when they’re finished fruiting!
Great idea to use just what you happen to have around! I tried the same with Eucalyptus branches when I lived in Portugal. That became a far more coarse edge/fence though since it’s less flexible. Still, I got rid of material that else would have just ended up on the compost heap.
Exactly! Think of how we bring so many materials into our garden when we have things at hand that we can use. Even if your Eucalyptus fence was coarse, you reduced garden waste and saved money. Well done!
This is beautiful! What a great way for reuse in the garden. I’ve seen this done with willow, but not raspberry!
Thanks Melissa! Me too regarding seeing it with willow before — but ‘why not use what you have?’ is what I was thinking :D