The Q&A Archives: Pruning Raspberries

Question: About 6 years ago I purchaced red raspberries from Burpee, they did great for about 3 years. More recently, at least the last two years, I have been getting a light crop of berries from June through September and definitely this year (1999) I am going to get two crops of berries. The first one is light. The second one is just starting to come on. These were definitely supposed to be once a year bearing berries.

Here's what I've been doing to prune these berries assuming they are once a year bearers; I cut them to the ground in the fall about 4 or 5 inches from the dirt. I'm now susspecting that I'm not cutting them low enough to the ground. What do you think?

I did search your library first. Got some other good info from there.

Answer: I think you have been pruning too hard for the once a year bearing type and thus causing a reduced (and split) yield . This type of raspberry is pruned based on the age of the canes. In late winter prune out all the canes that bore fruit the year before. Cut them off at the ground. In early spring, thin out the remaining canes to 3 or 4 per square foot. Leave only the best, most vigorous canes that are thick, have lots of fruiting nodes and have no signs of winter damage or insect damage. Finally, trim these good canes off at about four feet. Also, remember that the best fruit is produced when the plants are adequately fertilized and watered. Good luck with your raspberries!

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