If you want higher yields, you should know how to prune raspberries in the Spring.
But pruning can be a tricky process. In fact, if you prune your plants the wrong way, this can only result in further issues.
When done correctly, it will not only improve your yield; it can also keep your fruit crop healthy and thriving.
So, how exactly should you prune your raspberries? And what are the key pointers to consider before you go ahead and prune? This post covers all of these topics and more, so keep reading!
How to Prune Raspberries in the Spring – Know Before You Start
There is no clear-cut way on how to prune raspberries in the Spring.
Even experts will have their own techniques on pruning, which leaves beginners baffled on how to get it done.
However, it is a fact that doing some pruning is always better than no pruning at all. If you leave your raspberries unpruned, they may end up being overgrown or in a tangled mess. Thus, this can do more harm than good to your crops.
It is important to note that pruning largely depends on the plant variety you have. This is why the best place to start is by understanding your raspberry’s bearing nature. The growth habit impacts the pruning system you need to implement.
The Right Time to Prune Raspberries
Although pruning techniques vary, there is one thing that’s certain:
The best time to prune raspberries is in Spring, specifically earlier during this season. Experts prune once new growth begins, as it is proven to offer the finest results.
If you have gold, purple, or red raspberries, be sure to begin the pruning process early Spring. However, black raspberries should be pruned earlier. This depends on how tall they have grown, which is the best determining factor to pruning this variety.
Expert Tips on How to Prune Raspberries in the Spring
Now that you know the whys and whens of pruning raspberries, let’s proceed to the most important and often ignored topic: How to prune raspberries in the Spring.
Here are key tips for you to keep in mind:
- For purple, red, and gold raspberries, you should prune the young growths until these are 4 – 5 feet in height. By doing so, this can prevent shading and overgrowth. Additionally, pruning at this stage will help boost fruit quality and enhance production.
- Completely remove all damaged, weak, skinny, and dead canes.
- Be sure to eliminate all thin canes and keep a maximum of 10 strong ones.
- Black raspberries need to be pruned earlier. Check if the new canes are at least 3 feet high. Then, you can prune the tips off to prevent vertical growth and encourage side branching.
- Prune the lateral branches of purple raspberries to 18 inches and 12 inches for black raspberries.
- Maintain a desirable height of 10 inches for the lateral branches by pruning them accordingly.
Check out this video to learn more about the steps on how to prune raspberries in the Spring correctly.
After pruning, be sure to destroy completely the pruned materials from your yard. This will help to control common diseases in raspberries including spur blight and anthracnose.
How to Prune Other Raspberry Plants
As mentioned earlier, pruning raspberries depends on the varieties. Pruning is not a one-size-fits-all technique.
If you have summer-bearing or Florican-bearing plants, you need to prune these until they have reached ground level. This is the preferable pruning method after harvesting in the summer as the canes tend to die.
By pruning them correctly, you are allowing these crops to thrive and become fruitful once more in the next season.
In the case of fall-bearing or Primocane-bearing raspberries, you will have to implement a different system. The fruits grow on the canes’ tips, which eventually ripen during Fall. In the second year, these crops will bear fruit once again. However, it will be on the bottom canes instead of the tips.
Although they have a unique fruit-bearing style, you can apply the same pruning method as with the other raspberry varieties.
How to Maximize Yields of Your Raspberries
Do you prefer to have one large crop in a season?
In this case, you need to cut every single cane until it reaches ground level. You need to do this right after you harvest in the Fall.
When you prune your raspberries this way, this will result in one large primocane the next Fall. However, there is a very important thing to note about this technique: It is not suitable for northern gardens predisposed to early Fall frosts. The same applies to those with a shorter growing season.
Thus, northern gardeners will have to treat their primocane crops as summer-bearing ones.
Quick Note on the One- and Two-Crop System
I would like to discuss quickly the two different pruning systems for fall-bearing red raspberry varieties.
The one-crop system is to be done in early Spring, preferably in March or the onset of April. Keep in mind that you cannot expect to harvest in the summer, though. Nevertheless, the late summer or early fall harvest should be a week or two earlier than usual.
With the two-crop system, this should ensure crops in summer and fall. It is best to do with your summer-bearing raspberries.
Wrapping It All Up
Raspberries are unique crops as they have their own growth and harvest characteristics. Although the crown and roots are typically perennial, their stems are biennial. During springtime, new canes emerge from their buds. Some varieties such as the red raspberries tend to produce new canes from buds found on the roots.
If you wish to boost the yield or ensure the proper growth of your crops, it is important to know how to prune raspberries in the Spring. I hope that these tips and tricks I shared with you have been helpful in maximizing your harvest each time for greater returns on your investment.