How to Prune Raspberry Plants

Written by otehlia cassidy
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Raspberries are easy to grow, and well worth the effort. Imagine picking fresh berries from your bushes for a summer breakfast, or freezing them to enjoy throughout the winter. Raspberries produce fruit on 2-year-old canes. They need regular pruning to keep them healthy and productive, and to keep them from spreading out of control. If pruned correctly, raspberry plants will continue to provide you with fresh, delicious fruit for many years.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Garden gloves
  • Shears

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Instructions

    Red Raspberries

  1. 1

    Start plants in the winter by planting canes about three feet apart. Remove all flowers the first year to allow the plant to grow a strong root system.

  2. 2

    Cut any dead suckers to ground level in early spring. From the second year on, cut to ground level any canes that bore fruit. These canes usually have peeling, greyish bark.

  3. 3

    Remove diseased or weak canes, and thin all other canes, leaving about four to five healthy canes per foot.

  4. 4

    Tie raspberries to a fence or stake with twine to promote air circulation.

  5. 5

    Prune any dead or diseased canes in the summer and pull up any canes that sprout outside of your designated rows. They will quickly take over given a chance.

    Black Raspberries

  1. 1

    Pinch off the tips of newly planted canes to promote lateral, branching growth for next year's flowers and fruit.

  2. 2

    Prune canes that bore fruit to ground level in the fall.

  3. 3

    Thin the canes in the spring, leaving about four to five healthy canes per foot. Tie the canes to a fence or stake to promote circulation.

Tips and warnings

  • Prune diseased canes as soon as possible and dispose of them to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Use heavy gloves to prevent scratching from thorns, or look for thornless varieties.

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