How To Prune Raspberries


For hearty crops of big berries – get pruning this winter! Pruning makes the wickedest difference to harvest and health. And unless your berry patch is scary wild, its a quick job on a sunny winters day.

For Red Raspberries That Fruit In Summer

Year 1 The new canes that shoot away in spring are green and fresh – these are called primocanes. Through the summer they develop fruit buds along the cane. By winter the leaves have fallen and the bark is smooth and brown.
Year 2 The buds on the canes shoot out little branches for the berries to grow on. These second year canes are called floricanes. By winter the leaves have fallen and the bark is light brown, coarse and peeling. The productive life of this cane is over.

For Red Raspberries That Fruit In Autumn

Year 1 The new canes that shoot away in spring are green and fresh – these are called primocanes. Through the summer they develop fruit buds along the cane and shoot out little branches which grow berries in Autumn. By winter the leaves have fallen. The productive life of this cane is over.

Autumn fruiting raspberries are the simplest of all to prune, because they fruit on primocanes – the new wood. Simply chop all the canes at ground level every winter. Too easy

Prune In Winter

Wait until mid winter to prune. This gives the canes the opportunity to return all those crown and root strengthening carbohydrates.

Primocane floricane
Primocane (left) and Floricane

How To Prune Summer Fruiting Raspberries

before pruning
Before Pruning
  • Remove The Floricanes
    Cut all the spent floricanes off at ground level. They stand out from the new canes with their light coloured, peeling bark and because they carry all the shoots where the berries have been. Its best to burn these – they are prickly and unfriendly to compost and may carry disease spores. Being dry and thin they make great kindling or bonfire starters!
  • Thin The Row Out.
    The aim of this is to create excellent airflow (fungus prevention), achieve good light penetration along the length of the cane for productive wood, easy to reach fruit, and less competition for nutrients. Each cane should stand in its own clear space.
    Remove all the thin, stunted, twisty canes – leaving behind the tallest and fattest.
    Remove any canes outside of your frame/ row.
  • Attach the canes to your frame/ trellis
    You can find out how to make a raspberry frame here.
    Use ties that are easy to take off. Tying up takes a bit of time, but makes picking easy, keeps the canes apart from each other for good airflow, stops the canes bending or blowing over under the weight of the crop and makes pruning easy – the tied canes are the ones you remove next winter.
after pruning
After Pruning

During the summer, while you harvest the berries from the floricanes, the primocanes shoot up, beginning the cycle anew.

For raspberries that fruit in both summer and autumn. Prune them as for summer fruiting raspberries.

  • If you still feel confused, just take it one cane at a time. All you gotta do is remove the floricanes (older peeling bark + stalks for berries + old berries). You’ll get your eye in! Don’t worry about it too much raspberries are bomb proof.
  • If your berry patch hasn’t been pruned for a while and the jungle of vines has you well and truly perplexed you can prune it all back to ground level, set up a cool as frame and begin again. If your berries are summer fruiters you’ll forfeit fruit next year, but you’ll be off! With a firm promise to prune ever year ever after.


  1. Ngaire McGrouther says

    Now that’s the Best Raspberry Pruning I’ve ever read – I’ve been out right now , and cut the Floricane canes out and now have an ‘eye’ for old and new canes . That’s wonderful to know now the right way to prune Raspberries which grow so well in the South Otago climate. Ngaire.

  2. Thabks for this very simple guide to pruning raspberries. This winter my canes will be ready for their first prune and though ive looked at other instructions online this is the best Ive come across. .

  3. Would you recommend growing raspberries in northwest Florida? Thanks. 🙂

  4. thanks for this great guide. Would you recommend topping the canes, my Raspberries get very tall and flop over making them hard to manage.

    • You can top them, but you’ll loose all that fruit! I like to bend them over to make an arch. Tying the top of the cane to the wire. The tip touches the next door cane.
      Hope this helps!

  5. This is one of the best raspberry pruning guides I’ve ever seen! I assume that you are discussing the pruning of summer fruiting raspberries. What do you do with autumn fruiting ones? My understanding is that they are treated differently – that they fruit on new growth canes, meaning that everything can be cut off.

    • Yes Karen, thats exactly right. Autumn only fruiters are the easiest of all – all the primocanes removed every winter. And thanks for bringing this up – I have infact amended my guide to include Autumn fruiter’s too (so remiss of me not to). best Kath

  6. THANKS…YES..I totally agree….great, clear instructions…I didn’t know the names of each cane name, so thanks for that also.
    What I have been doing for years now is bending that long new ‘whip’ I call it along my fence wire, all maybe almost 2 metres of it. I then have found that come Spring from each of the leaves shoots a short stem on which the flowers set, producing the pendulous delicious fruit. From maybe 20-30 canes I pick over 200 berries a day….yep, crazy….I DO count them daily. Tying the canes is imperative to getting heavy crops; otherwise they only fruit at the tip of the cane IF left ‘blowing in the breeze’….equally very few fruit. What do you think Kathy?

    • Thanks for that Sandy – yes I bend mine over as well – I never tip prune as so many suggest because of all that fruit at the top. Yes that’s the natural cycle on the floricanes comes little branches that produce the berries – nicely observed Sandy!
      Dont you feel a little bit smug seeing tiny $5 punnets of smushed raspberries in the shops when you have 100’s of your own for free – I do 🙂

  7. Hi thanks for this great explanation. I’m wanting to transplant our fantastic black raspberries to our new house. What is the best way to do this? Thanks

    • Hi Sally, Just dig them up and move them – raspberries are bomb proof! Also black raspberries are pruned differently – better look them up on you tube. best Kath

  8. Thanks so much! Do you have suggestions for keeping unruly raspberry runners (that end up growing in my paths!) under control? Just clip them off or do I need to dig them out? (By the way I asked you last year to share about how to grow carrots…I ended up following your instructions carefully and growing my best crop ever, still eating them and have a whole raised bed that I haven’t started munching into yet!)

    • Oh hurrah for home grown carrots!

      Keep those raspberries in check with a sharp spade. Go along the edge of the raspberry row and slice through the roots, pulling away the excess runners. I find it easier with runner mad varieties to keep on top of this job – little and often style. Good luck Sophie!

  9. Catherine Larsen says

    I’ve got Bush style raspberries edible garden brand. Mini me I think they’re called.
    They’re in pots do you apply the same method of pruning?

    • I have no idea sorry Catherine. New varieties coming out all the time – I stick with the old tried and true 🙂 Go online and ask the company is my advice.

  10. Conor Leahy says

    Thanks for this article – I have Raspberries that fruit in Summer and Autumn and this was the only article I could find that mentioned these species and put my mind to rest!

  11. Green fingers says

    Cut Autumn fruiting raspberries to 2/3 inches in February.
    Remove weeds & thin out canes as necessary..
    Dress ground with well rotted manure.
    Shoots will begin to show in the spring.
    No need to stake.
    A Good Variety,is ‘Autumn Bliss’