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.
How To Prune Summer Fruiting Raspberries
- 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.
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.