The Q&A Archives: Care of Raspberries

Question: I don't know what to do with my raspberries. When do I prune them and what suggestions do you have to tie them up so they don't hang?

Answer: You can provide supports for your raspberries and tie them up by driving stakes into the ground every 6 feet and stringing wires from stake to stake.

Raspberry pruning techniques depend upon whether you have fall-bearing or summer-bearing plants. If you have fall-bearing raspberries, cut the canes that produced fruit down to the soil after the leaves turn yellow in the autumn. You don't need to save any canes because new fruiting canes will develop in the spring. If you have summer-bearing plants, prune in the early spring, cutting off any spindly canes and thinning the remaining ones to leave 2-4 of the largest, straightest cane per foot of row. Cut off any suckers that are sprouting outside the row. Then cut the remainng canes back to 4'-5'. Fruit will form on laterals that develop on the remaining canes. It's not a good idea to prune these types of raspberries during the summer, or you might inadvertantly cut off the wood that will produce your crop. Purple raspberries bear fruit on second-year canes, with most of their fruit on sideshoots. During the summer, cut the tip off each cane when it's about 2 1/2' - 4' high. This will force it to develop sturdy side branches. After harvest, cut the spent floricanes back to the ground.

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