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Nov 18, 2010 12:23 PM

New Red Raspberry Canes/ summer fruiting: when to prune?

This is our first year of raspberry canes. All the books/websites talk about established beds of canes and ours are brand new: I remain confused.The plants look healthy despite a few nights of frost. They are about 12 inches high and the remaining few leaves are red and pretty.

Put 'em in in June and didn't expect to see fruit this year. We had just a few bright berry promises for future.

We live in a zone 6a, a micro-climate midst a lot of 4/5 zones, right on the ocean in Nova Scotia which basically shares the same conditions as coastal Maine.

So am I supposed to be pruning? now or the spring? and what goes and what stays....I assume you don't cut back the entire plant?

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  1. Summer bearing raspberries bear fruit on 2 year old canes, the canes that sprouted last season.

    Next spring cut out any canes that have died and cut the rest to chest level. Then pick out the fattest, healthiest looking canes and prune out any others, leaving about 6"-8" between the canes you want to keep. This is easiest if you've strung a wire trellis behind the plant. Tie the keepers to the trellis and prune out the rest. At the base of the plant, pull or cut out any suckers growing outside a roughly 12" radius around the plant. Seems extreme but will result in more bigger berries and bushier growth in the main plant. Also, will keep your raspberries in bounds. They love to spread and get out of hand. If at any time you see diseased canes, cut them out immediately any time of year.

    OTOH, everbearing raspberries are simple. You can get one big early fall crop by simply cutting the canes to the ground in late fall after they've quit bearing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: morwen

      Very good post. I think I am inspired to prune a little harder this year to see if there is a difference. I usually just prune away the canes that come up where I do not want them to spread.

    2. Thank you, Morwen for this very complete and easy-to-understand explanation. I am 'saving' for spring garden chores/joys!