The Q&A Archives: Newly planted raspberry bushes... what are my next steps?

Question: Hello there.. I live in Northern Ohio and I planted 6 Latham Raspberry bushes this spring. They are growing new leaves quite nicely and have even started producing some fruit. The fruit is not ready yet, but I can see it forming. Is there anything else I should do besides keep the bushes watered properly? I followed the directions on the tag from Home Depot as far as how to plant them and what products to use. My mom had mentioned pinching off the first fruits this year so it would grow better in the following years. Is this true? Thanks for your information! Smiling

Britt Hageman

Answer: The Latham Raspberry is a large, deep red berry that often measures 1" in diameter. It is a vigorous-grower and a tremendous-yielder of high quality berries so you've made a good choice. You don't need to remove the berries. Allow them to ripen and you'll have your first reward for planting raspberries. This is because fruit develops on two year old canes. After they've finished fruiting the canes will die, but new canes will emerge and they will produce fruit next year.

The crowns and roots of raspberry plants are perennial, but individual canes live two years. Each spring, the plants produce canes (suckers) from buds on the crown and on underground lateral stems. These canes grow vegetatively during the first season, overwinter, and produce fruit during the summer of the second year, while new canes emerge to provide a crop for the following year. Second-year canes die shortly after fruiting. Everbearing raspberries bear a crop on the tips of first-year canes in the fall, followed by a typical summer crop on the lower portion of the canes the second year.

It's easy to tell first-year canes from second-year canes. First-year canes have green stems, while second-year canes have a thin, brown bark covering them.

Perhaps your mom was thinking about strawberry plants - it's best to remove the fruit from first year plants so the plants can concentrate on building healthy root systems. Not so with raspberries.

Best wishes with your raspberries!

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