Pruning Raspberries and Blackberries

Pruning Raspberries and Blackberries

Cane berries are wonderful to grow in your edible landscape

They make a great hedge and give you sweet tasty berries as well. But to grow cane berries that produce abundant yields, they should be pruned every year. The method of pruning will depend on the type of berry you have and the region that you grow in.

Raspberries–Summer-Bearing Reds

Summer pruning

Not much pruning is needed except for removing the floricanes after they have produced berries. You can also prune out any suckers that are coming up outside your desired growing space.

Dormant pruning

This is done when the plants are fully dormant, anywhere from November to March (in northern regions). Remove any dead or damaged canes. Remove canes so your bed width is no more than 18” and thin canes within the bed to about one cane every 6” (keeping the most robust canes).

Raspberries–Fall-Bearing Reds

Summer pruning

The difference between summer-bearing and fall-bearing raspberries is that fall-bearing produces fruit on the first year canes or primocanes. So no summer pruning is needed.

Dormant pruning

Prune all of the canes to the ground. This will give you big yields in fall. There is another way to prune that will give you a small summer crop and also a small fall crop. This method is easy, just leave the fruited canes until the following summer. They will fruit below the previous years fruit and yield early to midsummer. It is up to you on how to prune them.

Black Raspberries

Summer pruning

Remove spent floricanes and also tip prune the primocanes to about 3-4 feet.

Dormant pruning

Remove damaged and dead canes. Cut back lateral branches to about 6”. Thin out canes to 5-10 per plant, keeping only the biggest canes for next year.

Erect Blackberries

Summer pruning

Tip prune the primocanes to 4 feet. Remove the floricanes after fruiting.

Dormant pruning

Cut back laterals to about 12-18 inches. Thin out canes to about 10 inches apart.

Semi-Erect Blackberries

Summer pruning

Tip prune the primocanes to about 5 feet and tie up canes to the support structure (trellis or fence). Remove the spent floricanes after fruiting.

Dormant pruning

Thin out canes to 5-8 per plant. Remove laterals that are growing lower than 3 feet and shorten the remaining laterals to 12-18 inches.

Trailing Blackberries

Summer pruning/care

Do not prune the primocanes. If you live in a very cold region you can leave the canes on the ground. This will help reduce winter injury. The disadvantage is when these are lifted and tied in the spring the canes will be more brittle and may break. If you live in a milder winter region, lift the new canes and tie them to a trellis or fence. Thin to 6-10 canes, removing any weak or damaged canes.

Dormant pruning/care

If you live in a harsh winter region, you should cover your trailing canes with mulch to prevent winter injury. When spring arrives the canes can be lifted and secured to your support structure.

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Thank you for your explanation

Bob Miller

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