Summer fruiting raspberry bushes are small, but they produce large berries. They grow on trees and shrubs, so they need to be pruned regularly. For those who don’t want to cut down their own bush, there are many services available online where you can order pruners for your bush. You may also choose to buy them from a nursery or even at a garden center.
In this post we will share with you some of the best practices when it comes to pruning summer fruiting raspberry bushes.
What Are Prunes?
Prunes are small, green fruits that look like little grapes. They have a sweet taste and are very popular throughout Europe. In fact, they were once called “the grape of the Arabs.” They come in several different colors: red, yellow, white and purple.
The most common types of prunes are known as “black” and “red,” which are the two main kinds. Black prunes are the ones that make up most of what we eat today. Red prunes have been used for centuries in cooking, especially in soups and stews.
How Do I Know If My Berry Bush Is Summer Or Autumn?
Raspberries are categorized into two main types: summer and autumn. These terms don’t refer to the actual season when they come into bloom, but rather when they bear fruit. In other words, summer raspberries produce in the summer, and autumn raspberries produce in the fall (which is also known as “fall” or “harvest time”).
How do you know if your bush is a summer or autumn?
The answer is easy. Just look at its leaves!
Summer fruiting raspberry bushes grow leaves that are brighter in the summer and duller in the fall. As the name suggests, the leaves on autumn-fruiting bushes appear duller in the summer and brighter in the fall. (2)
When you know what type of berry bush you have, it’s easier to care for it properly.
How Do I Prune A Summer Fruiting Raspberry Bush?
When it comes to summer-fruiting raspberry bushes, there’s an easy rule of thumb: prune in the spring. (3)
During late winter or early spring, cut away dead canes, weak canes and crossing canes. Cut them down to ground level.
If you don’t have time or the equipment, hire someone else to do it for you. If you don’t prune properly, your summer raspberries bush won’t get enough sun and the berries won’t grow.
Do I Have To Prune My Summer Fruiting Raspberry Bush?
If you’re a first-time gardener, you may be wondering if you’ll have to prune your summer raspberries bushes every year. The answer is yes. Every spring, you’ll need to cut away dead, weak and crossing canes. This will keep the bush healthy and vigorous.
However, if you’re an experienced gardener, you may not need to prune at all. Some people feel that it works just as well to cut away only dead canes. The choice is up to you!
How Do I Know If A Cane Is Dead?
The short answer is: if it’s snapped in half and lying on the ground, then it’s dead.
The long answer is a little more complex. You see, raspberry canes don’t die suddenly. Like many living things, they weaken over time before finally giving up the ghost.
In the meantime, they often remain standing and green. They may even still have berries growing on them.
As a general rule of thumb, any cane that’s broken in half and lying on the ground is dead. Cut it away in the spring, at the point where it has broken. This will ensure your bush remains healthy.
How Do I Cut Away Crossing And Weak Canes?
When pruning away crossing and weak canes, follow the same steps as you would for dead canes. Look at the cane closely before deciding whether or not to cut it away.
Is it crossing other canes? Is it very weak and at risk of snapping if you pull it in the wrong direction?
If either of these things are true, cut it away. All healthy canes that grow in the spring should emerge from the ground without any other canes (or roots) growing out of them.
Can I Cut Away A Bent Or Crossing Cane Before Spring?
You might be tempted to cut away a bent or crossing cane before spring. For example, you might see a cane that’s growing towards another one, and you don’t want it to connect. You might see a weak cane that you’re concerned about.
However, don’t cut away any canes before springtime.
Because when you cut away a cane, you need to make sure that flower buds aren’t left behind. If they are, they’ll grow into bare roots. These bare roots can send out suckers that steal nutrients from the plant.
In addition, when you cut away a cane, a hormone is triggered that tells the plant to redirect nutrients to the remaining canes. This is why you should only cut canes in the springtime: by then, the plant knows it needs all the remaining resources it can get!
What’s The Best Way To Train My Raspberry Bush?
Raspberry bushes that are left to their own devices will grow in any which way. They’ll send out multiple canes, some of which will be strong and healthy while others will be weak and struggling to survive. As a gardener, it’s your job to intervene and direct the bush in the way that you want it to grow.
When you’re training your summer fruiting raspberries bush, there are two main methods that you can use: the cane method and the mound method.
The Cane Method
With this method, you only need to pay attention to the strongest canes and cut away all the rest. To use this method, cut away all the weak and crossing canes in the springtime. The remaining canes will be the ones that grow strong and healthy.
These canes will form a ‘V’ shape as they grow, with one cane growing up from each node. Train these canes upwards so that they’re more or less horizontal with the ground as they grow. This is the basic framework for your raspberry bush.
Once you’ve done that, pinch out the tips of the canes to encourage bushy growth. At the correct time of year (usually in early summer), prune away all the side shoots. This will force the plant’s energy into growing larger berries rather than lots of smaller ones.
The Mound Method
The mound method is a little different. With this one, you won’t cut away any canes in the springtime. Instead, you’ll let all of them grow.
The canes will begin to weave around each other as they grow, but you shouldn’t try to train them to do so.
The idea is that the canes will create a natural ‘mound’ shape as they grow. Once they’ve done that, you should clip off any other shoots that grow out from the mound. These shoots will try to create new canes and take energy away from the plant if you don’t remove them.
After a year or two, your raspberry bush should be a strong mound of canes. From then on, just keep removing any crossing or weak canes as you see them, and keep pruning away any side shoots. By this point, the bush should be self-supporting.
Do I Need To Provide Any Support?
Yes, it’s usually a good idea to give your raspberry bush some sort of support as it grows. If you’re using the cane or mound methods, you can use a trellis to train your raspberry bush to grow upwards.
Alternatively, you can plant your raspberries in a raised bed and train the canes to grow along the edges of the bed. This will give the canes some support as they grow.
If you’re not using any sort of support, your raspberries will probably still be fine. They just might not grow quite as large as they would with some support.
When Should I Start Training My Raspberries?
Whenever you’re ready! You don’t need to do anything right away. In fact, it might be better if you wait until the beginning of springtime to start training your raspberries so you don’t risk damaging any new shoots.
It’s best to wait until then because raspberry canes can be a little fragile at first. They can even break off if you’re not careful when you’re cutting away crossing or weak canes.
How Can I Tell Which Canes Are Weak Or Crossing?
This is fairly easy to tell. The canes that grew last year are white and brittle compared to the green, strong canes. These can be cut away as soon as you see them.
The crossing canes are brown or discolored compared to the others. They’re also at awkward angles compared to the rest of the canes. These can also be removed.
Should I Prune My Raspberries In The Summer?
Yes, it’s important to keep your raspberry bush well pruned or it will stop producing as many fruit each year. Each cane should have seven or eight stems coming out from it. Cut away any smaller ones and any brown or discolored ones near the base of the cane.
You don’t want to cut too many canes at once though, so make sure that you leave at least two or three smaller ones behind. Just keep removing any weak or crossing ones each year until your raspberries bush is strong and healthy.
My Raspberries Have Different Shapes And Colours Of Berries.
What Do I Do?
Don’t worry about this! The different canes on your raspberries will vary in shape, color and size of the berries. This is completely normal and doesn’t mean that anything is wrong with your bush.
The only time this wouldn’t be normal is if all the canes had the exact same shape and color of berries. If this is the case, you should cut out those canes as well to make sure they don’t sap energy from the rest of your bush.
How Many Raspberries Should I Expect To Get Each Year?
This varies depending on the type of raspberry you have, the weather and your location. You can expect to get at least a handful each year from each cane though.
In some cases, particularly if you keep your raspberry well-pruned and healthy, you could get more than a handful! Just make sure that you remove any crossing or weak canes each year and keep the bush healthy.
How Should I Store My Raspberries?
You can keep your raspberries in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze them so that you have them available all year long. Just remember to leave space around the raspberries so that they’re not squashed when you put the lid on.
How Long Will My Raspberries Last Once I’ve Picked Them?
Your raspberries will only last a few days once you pick them. It’s best to eat them as soon as possible, but it’s also very easy to preserve them so that you have them available all year long.
Is It Possible To Preserve My Raspberries So That I Can Store Them All Year?
Yes, you can do this fairly easily. You can either dry, freeze or can your raspberries so that you can enjoy them all year.
To dry your raspberries, you simply need to spread them out on a tray and leave them in a cool, dark place. Make sure there is good airflow around the tray so that they don’t get moldy. It’s best to turn the raspberries over every now and then so that they dry evenly.
Once they are dry, they’ll keep in an airtight container for around a year.
You can also freeze your raspberries, but you’ll need to puree them before you do this. Simply place the raspberries in a saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly. Keep doing this for around five minutes, making sure to keep the raspberries moving so that you don’t burn them.
Once your raspberries have softened, you can add a little water to the saucepan (around half a cup of water for every two cups of raspberries) and heat it through for around ten minutes.
Let the mixture cool before you place it in the freezer. This will help to prevent large ice crystals from forming in your freezer and ruining your raspberries. Freezing your raspberries in an airtight container means that they’ll keep for around a year.
Finally, you can can your raspberries. You will need a pressure canner for this to make sure that your raspberries are safe to eat. Place the raspberries in a pan and simmer them until they’re soft.
Strain them and then add sugar to your saucepan until it’s sweetened to your taste. (You’ll need around four cups of sugar for every four cups of raspberries) Boil this mixture until it becomes quite thick.
Follow the instructions from your pressure canner and process your raspberries for around twenty minutes once the gauge hits eleven pounds.
You’ll need to store your raspberries in sterile jars once they’ve been canned. You should also try to use them within a year.
If you need any help with storing or preserving your raspberries, you can post your questions on our forums where you can receive help and advice from other members.
Sources & references used in this article:
Scheduling primocane-fruiting raspberries (Rubus idaeus L.) for year-round production in greenhouses by chilling and Summer-pruning of canes by A Dale, S Pirgozliev, EM King… – The Journal of …, 2005 – Taylor & Francis
Pruning Date and Cane Density Affect Primocane Development and Yield ofAutumn Bliss’ Red Raspberry by PB Oliveira, CM Oliveira, AA Monteiro – HortScience, 2004 – journals.ashs.org
SUMMER-PRUNING INTENSITY AFFECTS ON OFF-SEASON PRODUCTION OF PRIMOCANE-FRUITING RED RASPBERRIES. by PB Oliveira, CM Oliveira, AA Monteiro… – … Symposium on Rubus …, 1998 – actahort.org
Off-season production of primocane-fruiting red raspberry using summer pruning and polyethylene tunnels by PB Oliveira, CM Oliveira, L Lopes-da-Fonseca… – …, 1996 – journals.ashs.org