Gardening Articles: Care :: Plant Care Techniques

How to Prune Brambles (page 3 of 3)

by Lee Reich

Three-Step Raspberry and Blackberry Pruning

Prune summerbearing red and yellow raspberries such as 'Canby', 'Latham', 'Titan', and 'Tulameen' like this:

1. After harvest and before new growth begins, identify and remove 2-year-old canes that have fruited.

2. Thin out 1-year-old canes growing beyond a 1-foot-wide row, and thin remaining canes to about 6 inches apart. Selectively remove those that are small, diseased, or broken.

3. The last step is to shorten remaining canes. If too long, they'll flop in the wind; too short, and you get less fruit. Tailor their length to your training system, leaving canes from 4 to 7 feet long.

Prune everbearing red and yellow raspberries such as 'Fall Gold' and 'Heritage' the same as summerbearing types until this third step. Everbearing raspberries fruit again in summer farther down their canes. Instead of shortening the canes to a convenient trellis height, shorten them to just below where they stopped fruiting the previous fall.

Prune summerbearing black and purple raspberries such as 'Bristol', 'Jewel', and 'Royalty', and upright blackberries such as 'Illini Hardy' and 'Navaho' like this:

1. In summer, pinch out the top 2 inches of growing canes that are approximately 18 to 36 inches tall. This stimulates growth of side branches that produce fruit the next season. Height is a matter of neatness and manageability. Pinch lower if you have no trellis, higher for trellis-trained plants.

2. Anytime after harvest and before spring growth, remove the canes that have produced berries, and remove excess 1-year-old canes.

3. Just before growth resumes in spring, remove damaged, diseased, or spindly canes. Shorten side branches (forced by summer's pinching) to between 4 and 18 inches. Leave the thickest ones longest.

The Fruiting Habit of Red or Yellow Everbearing Raspberries

1. In the canes' first summer and first fall, fruits grow at the tops of new shoots.

2. Early in the second season, fruits are borne low on last year's canes. But new canes are growing that will bear fruit in the fall.

3. Late in the second season, last year's canes are dead, and fruits come at the tops of new canes.

Lee Reich is a garden consultant and writer

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