The Q&A Archives: Pruning Raspberries

Question: I read your response to someone elses raspberry pruning question...but need more clarification....The red raspberries that we have developed their fruit in late spring (probably due to our rainy Seattle weather this year), and some of the fruit is still ripening although most of it has finished. Right now I can tell which ones are the new canes. How far back do I prune the old canes once they are done ripening the fruit and can I do it now (August), also, when do I prune back the new canes to 4-5 feet??

Answer: Sounds like yours are summer-bearing raspberries. In this case, cut the fruiting canes all the way down to the ground. They won't bear fruit again. (This may be where the confusion lies - fall bearing canes can be cut just below where they've finished fruiting and the remaining stem will produce a spring crop of berries, after which the entire cane is cut to the ground.) Prune the canes that are developing this summer back in the winter or very early summer, to force laterals, which will produce next year's crop of berries. Hope this clarifies things for you! If you're still not quite sure, there's an excellent explanation in the book "Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening". It even has line drawings! ISBN# 0-87596-599-7.

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