A few summers ago, I planted some everbearing raspberries in my backyard. It took a year or two, but the canes are now consistently putting out a bumper crop every summer and fall. Woohoo! But the backyard is pretty small and bramble patches aren’t good for optimizing crop size anyway, so this winter I decided it was time for a first pruning.
The tricky thing about everbearing raspberries is that, unlike summer-bearing raspberries that produce one big crop in late summer, these bushes give two smaller crops per year. You can pretty much prune summer-bearing raspberries all the way to the ground in the winter, but if you want both crops from the everbearing, you have to know which canes to cut to the ground and which to prune back carefully and by how much.
Armed with the internet, I set to work on my tiny patch. Here’s what I found out:
In late winter/early-ass spring, look for the canes with gray, peeling bark. These guys won’t ever fruit again. Cut them all the way to the ground so they don’t take up space. You’ll easily be able to see the difference between these dead canes and the smooth, reddish bark of the ones that will fruit again in the summer.
Once you’ve got rid of all the obviously spent canes, it’s time to eyeball the smooth canes that remain. Cut any to the ground that look small and weak or are simply too close to a much healthier cane. Thinning the canes this way ensures that the remaining canes get all the plant’s love. Hello, enormous raspberries.
But you’re still not done! After you’ve thinned the weak ones from the herd (horticulture is brutal), it’s time to prune off the very tops of the remaining canes. You can usually tell where the cane has fruited the year before. You might even be able to tell that the cane looks a bit shriveled toward the top but then looks young and healthy further down. Lop the fruited, shriveled part off — in my case, this was just a few inches each.
Do you Homies have any other raspberry knowledge? Maintenance tips, trellis plans, family-secret recipes? I want to know ’em all.