Pruning Red Raspberries

raspberry-1There’s an unfounded rumor that raspberries are difficult to prune. This isn’t true if you understand the type of raspberry in your garden. Summer-bearing raspberries produce only one harvest per year while everbearing, or fall-bearing, raspberries can produce two harvests.

Raspberry Types

Summer-bearing raspberries plants bear fruit on one type of cane, a floricane. These large, thick canes grow fruiting lateral branches. Most of the purple and black raspberry varieties and some red varieties are summer-bearing plants.

Everbearing raspberries grow two types of fruiting canes, floricanes and primocanes. The floricanes are similar those of the summer-bearing raspberry. However, the primocane has no lateral branches. Instead, the fruit buds are located on the thick cane. Most red and yellow raspberry varieties are everbearing.

No matter what type of raspberry you grow, proper pruning improves production and the taste of the fruit, the appearance of your garden and makes it easier to harvest the delicious fruit.

Raspberry Pruning Tips

If you are growing summer-bearing raspberries, you will follow a cycle of pruning out the older floricanes, which already bore fruit. If you are growing ever-bearing raspberries, you will prune out floricanes and the top one-third of the primocanes where fruit developed in the fall. However, you can choose a second option for pruning everbearing raspberries. Simply cut the entire plant to the ground in early spring to produce berries from fall until the first frost. This sacrifices the summer harvest, but puts all plant energy into fruit production for fall harvest, creating a larger, more robust crop. It also protects the canes from any extreme winter conditions and reduces insect damage. Using row covers or greenhouses to maintain a warmer temperature easily extends the harvest season later into the fall.

To simplify the pruning process…

raspberry-chart

When you grow your own berries, you know exactly how they were grown, you save money, and best of all, they taste great, even with dirt under your fingernails!