Pruning Red and Yellow Raspberries

What you’ll need

  • Pruning shears

step 1: Plant in Hedgerows

Plant new raspberries 2 to 3 feet apart in rows 6 to 10 feet apart. You will get more berries if you build a trellis and train the canes to it, but the trellis isn’t necessary. If you build a trellis, set posts 4 feet high and 20 feet apart with cross arms 18 inches long. Run wires along the ends of the cross arms to support the canes.

Let the canes grow the first year without pruning. Tie or prop them inside the wire trellis when they are tall enough.

step 2: Remove Spent Canes

Raspberry canes grow one year, fruit the next year, then die. During the summer, new canes grow in the hedgerow. Let them lie on the ground until the harvest is over and the bearing canes removed, then tie or prop them up inside the trellis wires.

As soon as the harvest ends, remove all the canes that bore fruit by cutting them off at ground level. For most raspberries, this is in June or July. Everbearing varieties bear a crop on the tips of canes in the fall, then another crop on the base of the same cane the next spring. Prune off the part of the cane that fruited after the harvest in the fall.

step 3: Spring Pruning

In early spring, before growth starts, thin the canes that grew the previous year by removing the weakest canes at ground level. Try to leave strong canes from 6 to 10 inches apart in the row.

Remove all canes growing outside the 18-inch hedgerow. Some people run a rototiller down the aisle at the edge of the row to remove these.

Prune back any cane tips that were killed by winter. If you aren’t using a trellis, cut the canes to 3 feet high so they can support themselves.

Spring-bearing raspberries produce a harvest in June and July. The canes of everbearing varieties that fruited at the tips last year will grow side branches which will fruit in the spring. Remove the canes after the harvest. Enjoy your berries!