There are two types of raspberries; June-bearing/Summer-bearing and Ever-bearing/ Fall-bearing. All raspberries benefit from annual pruning but when and how you prune is determined by the type of berries you are growing.
June-bearing/Summer-bearing Raspberries (e.g. Rubus ‘Boyne’ & ‘Latham’)
These raspberries bloom and produce fruit on two-year-old canes (stems). After fruiting the two-year-old stems die. First year stems are called primocanes and will be green in color. Second year stems, which will produce the fruit, are called floricanes and will be brown in color.
It is easiest to distinguish the fruiting from the non-fruiting canes during fruit bearing season, so immediately after harvest is the recommended time to cut the current year’s floricanes to the ground.
Then, in early spring, prune weak and damaged canes to the ground. Leave thicker, healthy canes in place no closer than 5”-6” apart to provide good air circulation and avoid overcrowding. Tip prune remaining canes back by several inches or down to live (green) tissue to keep them from becoming top heavy. Don’t tip prune too severely as most of the fruit production occurs on the ends of the canes.
Ever-bearing / Fall-bearing Raspberries (e.g. Rubus ‘Heritage’)
While technically these plants produce fruit on both first and second year stems the best harvest will be obtained by allowing them to fruit only on first year stems. This simplifies pruning as the best method is to simply cut all canes to the ground in late winter/early spring. This will produce a heavy crop of fruit on first year stems in Autumn.
Blackberries (e.g. Rubus ‘Darrow’)
Most blackberries, including the ‘Darrow’ variety that we carry, produce fruit on two-year-old stems (floricanes) so the pruning method is the same as for June/Summer bearing raspberries (above).
Check out the International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year list to see past and upcoming herbs.