Pruning Raspberries

Raspberry Patch

Pruning raspberries is essential because fruit is only produced on new raspberry canes. The old growth must be removed from your raspberry patch each year.

To learn how to plant, trellis, and harvest your raspberries see Growing Raspberries.

There are two types of raspberries:
an Ever bearer and a June Bearer.

Ever Bearers

Our favorite type of raspberry is the ever bearer / primocane. These raspberries bear fruit in the summer on canes that grow up in the spring.

It’s much easier to grow ever bearers than June bearers. After the first freeze in the fall of the year, cut off all the canes at ground level. Easy Pruning!

Use a wood chipper to chop up the old raspberry canes. Add the chips back into the garden soil. The organic matter helps improve the soil. See Types of Soil.

Ever Bearer Raspberries July 15

The chance of the raspberries getting cane borer is reduced when you cut off all the canes.

If you want a June and August crop of raspberries, you can do it with some extra work.

After it freezes in the fall, prune the tops off the canes that bore fruit during the summer. Prune these canes
3 ½ feet high. Next year, fruit will grow on the lower part of the cane.

These short canes will produce berries in June. In August, the new canes that grow from the roots will produce berries at the top of the cane. They will continue to produce fruit until it freezes.

When pruning raspberries this way, remember to prune out the short canes that bore fruit in June.

Pruned Raspberries

Most people don’t bother with getting this double crop because:

  • The raspberry plants produce two small crops instead of one large crop.
  • There's a lot more work when pruning raspberries this way. It's easier to cut off all the ever bearing canes each fall.

I’ve always grown the Heritage variety, and they’ve done well. Some of the newer varieties of raspberries are the Caroline and Autumn Bliss.

For the Utah mountain area, the Autumn Bliss is highly recommended because the raspberries will start producing fruit up to three week earlier than the other varieties.

When do the raspberries start producing fruit (Central Utah)?

  • Autumn Bliss - mid July and continues until late fall
  • Heritage - first part of August until first frost (slows down before frost comes)
  • Caroline - mid to late August until first frost (going strong when first frost comes)

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June Bearers

In the western states the June Bearers start producing raspberries in late June and early July. They produce berries on last year’s new growth.

You can prune your June bearing raspberries in the fall, winter, or spring. After the first fall freeze, remove the canes that produced berries the previous summer.

Remove the small, spindly raspberry canes. Leave 5 – 6 strong canes for each plant. Top these healthy canes off about 5 feet tall.

Check with your county agent to see which June bearing raspberry plants grow well in your area. These are some June bearing varieties that you might choose from: Canby, Encore, Meeker, Prelude, Newburgh, Tulameen.

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