Raspberry pruning is important for several reasons. Pruning keeps the plants orderly, as without pruning the canes can grow unmanageable. Pruning also keeps the plants healthy, allowing more air and light circulation, and it can even prevent a raspberry bush’s premature demise. Important tips for raspberry pruning include growing the plants on a trellis, which allows better and easier pruning, and timing the pruning correctly to allow a good crop.
Raspberry pruning should commence before the plants begin to bud, usually in the very early spring, but this task also can be performed late in winter. A gardener should cut out older canes that bore fruit the previous year. Doing so will not harm berry production because these canes are spent. The bark on canes that need to be pruned appears gray, and it may be peeling from the branches. Further pruning includes taking out all but the healthiest handful of canes, those that appear the strongest, to allow good air circulation.
These tips for raspberry pruning are generally for plants that produce fruit in late summer, and these are called summer bearing. Another type of raspberry, misleadingly called everbearing, can put out two crops a year. Everbearing raspberries can be pruned in a similar fashion. Raspberry pruning will benefit either variety by prompting new growth.
Planting raspberry plants for optimal health and crop yield usually requires the installation of a trellis. Growing plants on a trellis requires raspberry pruning outside a specified radius, usually outside of 12 to 18 inches (30.48 to 45.72 centimeters) from the row of raspberries. Trellises can be constructed in a “T” form, or in a “V” shape.
Caring for raspberry plants requires adequate amounts of water, usually between 1 and 2 inches (2.54 and 5.08 centimeters) per week. Mulch, up to 4 inches (10.16 centimeters), is beneficial for weed control and to retain moisture. An annual fertilizer in the spring is beneficial, with another application following about a month later. Grass should be kept away from the plants because it will vie with raspberries for food and water, making the raspberries work harder to survive.
The raspberry, a hardy plant, often grows wild in clearings and fields. They are so hardy, it becomes necessary to cut them back and prune them in the home garden. A home gardener can recognize the right time to pick the berry when its color is a jewel red, and the berry disengages easily from the stem. Berry lovers enjoy raspberries plain or in pies and jams.