Before you start pruning fruit producing vines, trees and bushes you must know and understand it’s fruiting habits.
Blueberries: Optimum time to prune blueberries is in late winter to early spring after the chance of severe cold is over and before new growth has begun. At this time, it is easy to assess how much, if any, winter injury has occurred as well as how many fruit buds are present.
Fruit bud formation for blueberries occurs on new shoots the year before the fruit appears.
Raspberry: Pruning is an important part of proper raspberry plant care and maintenance, it is also a way to ensure and improve the development of the fruit crop.
It is preferable to do some pruning rather than no pruning.
If a raspberry plant is left unpruned, it may become tangled and overgrown and may be unfruitful as a result.
Pruning will vary depending on the raspberry varieties you plant. The best approach is to understand the bearing nature of the varieties you’re growing so you know how to prune when the time comes. Regardless of growth habit, some pruning should be done every spring to keep raspberry plants from becoming tangled and to improve their ability to bear.
Consider staking or trellis training your raspberry plants to keep them more upright.
Red, gold, and purple varieties of raspberries.
Once your raspberry plants have put on enough growth (which may not be until after their first year), prune in the early spring, just as new growth emerges.
Prune young canes back until they are around 4 to 5 feet tall. This will discourage overgrowth and shading and will improve fruit production and quality.
Completely prune back and remove all skinny, dead, damaged, diseased or otherwise weak canes. As your raspberry plants mature, it is recommended that you cut back the small, thin canes to leave only about 8 to 10 of the strongest ones.
Black raspberry plants have a slightly different growth habit, so pruning is slightly different.
When new shoots are 3 feet tall, prune off the tips. Tipping the canes stops the vertical growth and results in more vigorous side branching, where the fruit develops. These lateral branches should be pruned so that they are kept at about 10 inches long.
Pruning Floricane-Bearing Raspberry Plants also known as “summer-bearing” raspberries. These plants have the more typical fruiting habit, bearing one fruit crop on the lower part of their two-year-old canes . After fruitset and harvest in the summer, these canes will die back. You should prune them back to ground level in order for the one-year-old canes to thrive and become strong and fruitful second-year canes the next growing season.
Pruning Primocane-Bearing Raspberry Plants also called “everbearing” or “fall-bearing” raspberries. Primocane-bearing raspberry plants are unique in that they tend to bear fruit on the tips of their one-year-old canes, which ripens in fall in milder climates. In addition, as these primocanes become floricanes in their second year, they will fruit again, this time on the lower part of their canes the following summer. Other than that, these can be pruned and maintained in a similar fashion to typical raspberry plants.
If one large crop is desired, cut all canes back to ground level after the fall crop. This will result in a single, large primocane crop the following fall. Not recommended for northern gardens with short growing seasons and early fall frosts.
In areas with short growing seasons, a primocane-bearing variety’s fall crop may not ripen, so northern gardeners may prefer to treat primocane-bearing varieties as summer-bearing varieties and forego the fall crop.
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