How to Prune Red Raspberries
Taking care of red raspberries is a small chore but worth it to be blessed with an abundance of juicy fruit. Without it, your berries might just go to the birds. That, or they will stop producing fruit. On the bright side, pruning red raspberries only has to be done once or twice a year. This simple task encourages new growth, promotes fruit production, reduces the potential for disease and makes it easier to pick the fruit. Neglecting your patch allows canes to grow too dense, which inhibits fruit from growing.
Understand raspberries.Knowing how raspberries grow and produce fruit may help you yield a more plentiful crop each year. For most varieties, the canes tend to produce on an every-other-year schedule. In its first year, the cane will focus on growing. The second year is when the mature cane yields fruit. So, if your version of pruning is to mow everything down to a few inches off the ground every fall, you could be hurting, not helping, your berry production. After the cane produces fruit, the cane dies. The plant produces a new cane for every cane that dies.
Prepare your raspberry patch for the growing season.To help make sure you get a good crop of raspberries, inspect the patch in the spring--late March or early April--for most areas. Since all cane in the patch compete for food and light, thinning out raspberry patches by removing the dead and weak canes will allow the other canes to grow strong and give them enough space to produce a bountiful crop.
Eliminate damaged areas.Prune any canes that are dead or damaged to the ground. Some canes will have tips that deaden over the winter. Trim these canes back to the green growth. Do not worry about cutting out too many. Raspberries flourish when the canes are about 6 inches (15.2 cm) apart.
Prune after harvesting too.When the fruit crop is done, pull out your trimmers and head to the raspberry patch. Cut out the canes that have just finished producing. Leave the other canes, especially for everbearing varieties that will produce fruit on those canes in the fall.
Remove the pruned canes.Do not leave the pruned canes in the raspberry patch as this could encourage disease. Instead, take the waste canes to the trash, burn pile or compost pile.
Treat different raspberry varieties differently.Red raspberries need different pruning care and attention than black or yellow raspberries. You will also need to consider if the variety of red raspberry you have is a spring bearer or an ever bearer, which produces 2 crops per year: one in the spring and one in the fall.
Recognize signs of poor pruning.Aside from an obvious unkempt appearance, there are a few other ways to tell if you need to alter your raspberry pruning technique. If your canes produce no or very little fruit or if the berry size of your crop is small, you need to thin more canes out of the patch. Further pruning is also necessary if you have a hard time harvesting your berries. Your patch needs more attention too, if it seems to be plagued by disease.
QuestionI planted raspberries last year when they were second-year plants. They became very long, but yesterday, I accidentally cut them down to 6 inches. Can they grow back?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn my experience, raspberries can grow back from that height, especially everbearing red raspberries. Remember to fertilize them in spring and prune them regularly to get rid of dead and weak canes.Thanks!
QuestionWhat nutrients do they need most?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn the spring, they need nitrogen. Do not fertilize in the fall, and mulch in the winter.Thanks!
QuestionGot red raspberries off Craigslist last fall, tall canes with leaves. Tall canes are bare, but new growth at bottom. Trim old canes?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, and after trimming, cut the cane into small pieces and throw in a compost pile. After a year or so it sold be brown and dirt-like. Throw some on the new cane.Thanks!
QuestionI didn't know to thin out my raspberry plants, so now they are overcrowded and hardly producing fruit. Can I thin some out in middle of the summer?Top AnswererIt's too late to improve fruit production for the current year (unless it's an ever-bearing variety). You can actually thin the vines any time of year, but late winter is best.Thanks!
QuestionI bought new plants (have list the card that has name and care) last year and planted. They have jumped to almost 6' high. I want to know if these can be cut 2' to lower them?Top AnswererYes, it's pretty hard to kill a raspberry plant. Cut them to any size you want in late winter. If the roots are healthy, the canes should be fine.Thanks!
QuestionMy two-year-old plant is huge, but did not have any berries this year. Last year it did not grow very much, this year it's huge. Do I prune it now? We live in Denver, Colorado.Top AnswererYou can actually prune it any time, but late winter is best.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need to place mulch around the plants during the winter months?Top AnswererIt's a good idea if the soil will freeze.Thanks!
QuestionWhen can I shift my raspberry plants to a new site?Top AnswererLate winter is the best time. Avoid damaging the root system. Dig up a root ball at least 6 inches in diameter. Keep the roots damp if you have to store the plant for any length of time.Thanks!
Video: How Do I Prune Raspberries?
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