The Q&A Archives: Pruning Black Raspberry Vines

Question: I bought a house this year that hasn't had the garden maintained for 2 years. Can you explain to me just how I should prune the black raspberry vines so that they will still fruit (and hopefully even better) next year? I've seen a lot of items on the Internet about pruning back the old wood - but quite frankly I don't know what is old and what is new. The vines all look alike to me.

Answer: Black raspberries are summer bearing types and should be pruned immediately after you've harvested the berries. Completely cut out any canes that produced berries. They will not develop new berries so cut them down to ground level. You can prune again in the spring, just as new growth begins. At this time (usually late March or early April) remove all weak canes, but leave the thickest, most robust canes alone. You can also cut back any tall canes (those over 5 feet) to 4.5 to 5 feet. After harvesting the berries, cut these canes down to ground level. I hope this clarifies things for you.

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