We have several different varieties on our homestead, so that we have raspberries all season long. Each variety needs to be pruned once a year, but the methods for pruning of Summer-Bearing Raspberries and Ever-Bearing/Fall-Bearing Raspberries are very different. The timing is important to get the most from your raspberry plants.
Tips: If you are planting two different varieties of raspberries, try to keep them in separate areas of your homestead.
Pruning raspberries lets in light and air. This helps reduce the risk of pests and disease spreading from old growth.
For Summer-Bearing Raspberries- Pruning takes place in late summer. This variety of raspberries produces fruit on last year’s canes.
After harvesting all the raspberries for the year, remove the old canes with pruning shears. Don’t remove the new green canes, because they are the ones that will be producing fruit next year.
Then, early in the spring, remove the weaker canes, so the stronger canes will produce more berries. You may want to thin the rows to about one-foot widths by shortening the canes to about 4 1/2 feet long or support them with a trellis, fence, or wire support system.
Ever-Bearing/Fall-Bearing Raspberries- Pruning takes place after the plant loses it’s fall leaves. Since these varieties of raspberries bear fruit on this year’s canes (during the summer and again in the fall), there are two ways to prune this type of raspberry.
My parents use the first, we use the second method, both work well.
-The first way is to mow the canes within two inches of the ground after harvesting the raspberries in the fall. This is what my parents have done for years (at least as long as I can remember). Plants should then be mulched for protection during the winter. This method will eliminate the summer crop, but it allows a larger crop level in the fall.
Note: This method can be rough on the lawnmower. Plus, it doesn’t make a very clean cut, may leave your raspberry plants a little shredded, and sometimes tears them from the ground, roots and all.
-The second method is to remove all the canes (with pruning shears) that bore fruit in the fall directly after the fall harvest, following the procedure for Summer-Bearing. New canes will then emerge in the spring.