Different Cuts For Different Types
Pruning Raspberries is a rather simple but necessary garden chore.
It may not be one of the more pleasant jobs in the garden but the damage that the thorny Raspberry canes can do to your hands can be easily mitigated. A good pair of gloves, a long sleeved shirt and some long handled pruners can make pruning raspberries a fairly painless and easily accomplished task. Raspberry canes are one of the few things that I do not throw into my compost, mostly because they are very slow to compost and next year my compost would be filled with a mass of thorny unpleasant sticks.
Are They All The Same? No. There are two main types of raspberries and the pruning of each is quite different. The main type are the June/July bearing canes that produce one large crop each year in the early summer. The other type is the fall bearing cane that produces a smaller crop over an extended period from late August until the hard frost. These two types are pruned in very different manners and once you understand their life cycle, then pruning raspberries will make sense. The June bearing type produce fruit on last years canes and the autumn bearing types produce on the current years canes.
What Do We Do? For the June bearing types we must remove the older canes once they have finished fruiting. Some time in late summer you can cut these off at the ground and discard them. The old canes will be brown and flaky and the new ones will be green and smooth. Colour coded pruning; what could be easier. You should also remove and small spindly green canes leaving just the fat healthy ones to produce next year’s fruit. Raspberries don’t always understand where they are to grow and you may have to rip out, root and all, any that have decided to migrate to other parts of your garden.
The Later Varieties? The autumn bearing types should be pruned to the ground in the early spring. That will allow the new canes to grow up and produce fruit in the same season. During the growing season you may want to thin these types by removing some of the weaker spindly canes. These types are slightly more prone to migrating around the garden and you may have to remove a few during the summer as they pop up where you least expect them.
That’s really all there is to maintaining a healthy productive raspberry patch. With colour coded canes and good gloves pruning raspberries is quick and easy to chore that guarantees delicious fruit in your cereal bowl through most of the summer.
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