The Q&A Archives: Pruning Raspberries

Question: My question is in regards to rasberry bushes, how far should they be cut back? I have one at my new house and I don't want to destroy it.

Answer: Raspberry, blackberry and their relatives are usually referred to as the brambles(Rubus). Brambles are woody biennials. The canes(branches) that is. The roots are perennial and because of that the roots will live for a VERY long time. Each cane sprouts from the roots and will grow to it's full height in a season. The following year it produces fruit and promptly dies. While that's happening, other canes are growing which will produce fruit the next year.

This tells you that you need to prune out all the OLD canes and leave the ones that grew during last summer since they will bear fruit this year. It is relatively easy to tell the old from the new canes. The old ones look gray and scraggily where the new ones look vigorous, reddish green and young. Also, remove any weak, spindly new canes at this time.

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