One of the most popular shrubby fruit plants in North America is raspberry. Growing raspberries is an excellent way to enjoy its tasty fruit year after year. However, to get the most from your crops, it is essential to practice annual pruning. Pruning provides greater yields, helps control illnesses, and facilitates harvesting. This article will guide you on how to prune raspberries and when. Let’s find out!
Why Should You Prune Raspberries?
Pruning raspberry bushes amplify their overall health and vitality. When you prune raspberries, it will also increase its fruit production. Since this plant grows only foliage during its first year, and flowers and fruits in the next, eliminating dead sticks can lead to obtaining a maximum yield and berry size.
When to Prune Raspberries?
Raspberries are generally pruned twice a year: during late winter or early spring and during the summer growing season for maintenance.
Things You Will Need
Equipment / Tools
- Heavy gloves and eye protection
- Stepladder (optional)
- Support fencing or stakes
Steps on How to Prune Raspberries
Pruning Summer-Bearing Raspberries
Summer-bearing (floricane) raspberries will provide one large harvest, usually in late summer or early fall. These raspberries bear fruit on 2-year-old canes, the ones that sprouted the previous season. Summer-bearing raspberries can be further categorized as early season, mid-season, and late-season in terms of when they bear fruit. The harvest period lasts about four to five weeks.
- Cut All Canes Near Ground Level. In late winter or early spring, prune all canes (or stems) that bore fruit the previous year. They won’t fruit again. These canes will have grayish, peeling bark. Cut them off near ground level using loppers or bypass pruners.
- Remove Any Canes Growing Outside the 12- to 18-Inch Row Footprint of the Plant. Raspberries are much easier to tend and harvest if they are kept confined in well-defined rows. Don’t worry about pruning too much. Raspberries are very hardy and can bounce back from aggressive pruning.
- Remove Unsightly Canes – Remove any spindly or very short canes.
- Thin the Other Canes – Thinning the rest of the canes will allow for about four or five of the healthiest, tallest, and fattest canes left per foot along the entire length of the row.
- Tie Canes – Tie the canes to fencing or stakes for support.
- Prune Unwanted Canes – During the summer, prune any dead, broken, or diseased canes that you spot. Also, remove any canes that sprout up outside the designated row area.
Pruning Everbearing Raspberries
Everbearing raspberries usually have two harvests per season: one in mid-to-late summer and one during fall. The fall crop will seemingly be lighter and is produced on canes that developed during the current season. If you want these everbearing raspberries to yield two crops each year, prune them as you would do during summer-bearing raspberries. But if you choose to force one single large crop during fall, follow the following procedure.
- Prune the whole raspberry bush. Prune back the whole raspberry bush to ground level during early spring.
- Thin the canes. As the raspberry canes grow back during summer, thin them to approximately 6 inches apart. Keep the most vigorous canes, and remove the weak ones outside your designated row footprint. This technique will give you a more abundant harvest during the fall.
- Prune Rejected Canes. Throughout the summer season, prune any dead, broken, or damaged canes, as well as any cane that grows outside the row footprint.
Raspberries have dangerous thorns, so wear thick gloves and long sleeves when pruning.
Don’t forget always to use clean, sharp tools. Most canes that are crushed rather than cleanly severed can lead to insects and other disease-causing pathogens to invade your plant.
When pruning raspberries, the goal is to make sure that the plant can absorb light and air. To contain the plants in a row, keep the base within 12 to 18 inches footprint by pruning any canes that poke up outside the boundary. This will make the tops of the bushes arch nicely and will bear plenty of fruit. Get more gardening tips here!
Raspberry is among the most popular fruits you can see in the backyard or garden of most North American homes. It is known as a bramble fruit, which grows in dense, shrubby masses and can be almost impassable once they are fully mature. Even though it can be difficult and painful, pruning these plants is crucial. If left unpruned, they will grow into huge plants with low fruit production and great susceptibility to diseases, so it’s necessary to learn the proper ways of how to prune raspberries.