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Pruning Raspberries

Updated: Apr 12

Admittedly, I am a bit late to prune my raspberries this year but I did get it done this past week. I prefer to wait until all chance of a hard frost has passed and until I can see new shoots emerging. These new shoots alert me which canes are alive and when ones are dead.

1. Step one: Prune away all dead canes right to ground level. Use sharp pruners to make sharp, precise cuts. You will know canes are dead when they snap under very slight pressure. You can also cut the cane's tip to see if you find green material.

A wild stand of raspberry canes.

Canes cut to the ground, extreme pruning. (Photos: Jane B.)

2. Step two: Prune away all other damaged, broken, or diseased canes. You can remove up to 1/3-1/2 of all your raspberry canes to the ground level when in doubt. If you are not sure if what type of raspberry you have, be cautious and remove only 1/3 of older canes and spent, dried, fruiting tips. When making pruning cuts above ground, be sure to cut at a bud node and with a 45-degree angle. (See image below) For canes that are alive and doing well, prune to your desired wire support.

3. Step three: Clean up all plant debris and make sure to have sturdy support for your raspberry canes. If you want to be creative you can tie the canes into a decorative form. (Photo: WSU)

Raspberry canes tied at the base then bent and tied to support wire.

Discard all prunings, especially if they show signs of pests or disease.

Provide sturdy support for your raspberries. Make sure you leave enough room to harvest from all sides.

4. Step four: Dig out all raspberry runners and keep your berry patch within its boundaries.

By following these four steps, you should have a well-pruned, well-supported, and well-controlled raspberry patch.

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