How And When To Prune Raspberries

How And When To Prune Raspberries

Regular pruning raspberry bushes every year hang full of delicious red fruits and provide a bountiful harvest. However, if they are not pruned, the yields become smaller and smaller and the raspberry hedge turns into an impenetrable thicket in a few years. Here you can find out how to prune your raspberry bushes correctly and what you should pay particular attention to.

What matters when pruning: summer or autumn raspberries?


When is the ideal time to prune raspberry bushes and which of the plant’s canes need to be shortened or removed depends on the variety of raspberry planted. In general, there are two types of raspberry bushes, summer and autumn raspberries. In addition to these, for some time there have been so-called twotimer raspberries, which bear fruit twice a year. Therefore, before starting pruning, it is first necessary to find out which raspberry it is. If you accidentally cut off the wrong raspberry canes, the next year’s harvest will be missed. But how do I know what type of raspberry bush is growing in my garden?

What is the difference between summer and fall raspberry?


Newly purchased raspberry plants usually always have a label stating what type or variety the raspberry is. However, it often happens that the label is lost or you take over a new garden where raspberries may already be present. In this case, to find out the raspberry variety, it is best to pay attention to which canes the plant bears fruit.

Summer raspberries bear on the biennial canes.
Summer raspberries always bear on the two-year-old canes, the canes that grew the previous year. Biennial canes are easily identified by their woody bark. As the name implies, harvesting occurs in the summer through the end of July.

Autumn raspberries bear on one-year-old canes.
Autumn raspberries, on the other hand, form the fruit already on the one-year-old canes, which have sprouted in the same year. The raspberries are ripe only from August and can be harvested until autumn.

Cutting summer raspberries


For summer raspberries, only the biennial canes are cut about ground level. If pruning is done immediately after harvest, it is easier to distinguish between the one-year-old and two-year-old canes. The dark brown canes from which you harvested the raspberries in the summer are the two-year-old ones. These shoots are already woody and will not bear fruit the next year, so they must be cut off starting in July immediately after harvesting.

The one-year-old (this year’s) shoots, which are usually still light green, are left standing, as they will provide an abundant harvest next year. No more than 8 – 12 of the one-year-old young shoots should be retained per meter, so that enough air can still circulate between the shoots. Adequate ventilation prevents the spread of fungal diseases.

Prune autumn raspberries properly


Autumn raspberries are popular with many gardeners because pruning them is the easiest. With these raspberry bushes, the fruit already grows on the one-year-old (this year) young shoots. Then, after the harvest, all the canes of autumn raspberry are simply cut off near the ground in the fall. The ideal time for this is between October and November. With this method of pruning, the raspberries bear fruit abundantly in the fall.

However, autumn raspberries also produce fruit twice a year, in the fall and the next early summer, if the canes are simply left standing in October. Pruning is then done immediately after harvesting in the summer. However, with this method of cultivation, the yield in the fall is not as abundant.

Pruning twotimer raspberries


In nurseries are increasingly offered so-called twotimer raspberries, which bear raspberries twice a year. However, these varieties are classic autumn raspberries that naturally produce fruit several times a year. The difference is that these autumn raspberries are simply cultivated like summer raspberries. Therefore, in early summer after harvesting twotimer raspberry, as with the summer raspberry, only shorten the biennial canes and remove excess shoots.

Pruning weak and diseased shoots in the spring.


When the raspberries sprout in the spring, it should be checked whether there are too weak or diseased shoots in the bushes. The sickly canes must then be removed.

Raspberry pruning at a glance
Summer raspberry

  • shorten only the two-year-old brown shoots close to the ground
  • from July directly after harvest
  • leave approx. 8 – 12 of the one-year-old light green shoots per meter
  • in spring remove weak and diseased shoots

Autumn raspberry

  • simply shorten all shoots close to the ground
  • in October/November
  • remove weak and diseased shoots in spring

For a second harvest in early summer:
Leave all shoots in place in fall and prune only after harvest in early summer

Twotimer raspberry

  • remove only the two-year-old brown canes
  • in early summer after harvest
  • remove diseased or excess shoots

Tools for cutting raspberries


Do not bruise the canes of raspberry when pruning, otherwise the shoots will be more susceptible to infection and disease. Therefore, sharp pruning shears are used for pruning so that the canes are cut with a smooth cut. To avoid disease, the scissors should be cleaned and disinfected before use. Raspberry bushes are proven with thorns, which easily cause injuries to hands. So when pruning always wear protective gloves.

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