Raspberry Plant: Pruning

Raspberries: How to Prune

Is there anything as delicious as the rich, tart-sweet taste of fresh raspberries? They're so good fresh on ice cream, cereal, salads, in pies and jams, and a wide assortment of other mouth watering dishes.

The good news for us is that raspberries are easy to grow in our area of Oregon. So, with a minimal amount of care you'll be enjoying berries from your home garden for years to come.

The Right Place

When selecting a place in your yard for raspberries just remember two key conditions for the best success. These plants want full sun and soil that drains well.

Also, most raspberry plants will grow and produce better if they are grown with the support of a trellis. Raspberry canes can get fairly tall, 3-4', so plan accordingly.

Planting Raspberries

February to April, when the plants are dormant, is the best time to plant raspberries. At Young's our bare root raspberries arrive at the end of January. Planting bare root canes is the way to go. They have good, healthy root systems that haven't been pruned to fit into a bag, and they are more economical since you aren't paying for the pot as well.

To avoid any unnecessary stress on the plants, transplant bare root canes as soon as possible after purchasing and during cool weather. As temperatures begin to warm up, plant early in the evening, or on a cloudy day. When things are really warm, late spring or summer, planting bare root isn't a good idea. However, you can still plant potted berries.

  1. Dig a hole that is about 1' wide and deep.
  2. Mix the soil from the hole with some planting compost (only UP TO 50%). This will help improve drainage. If you have heavy clay soil you'll want to amend a larger hole.
  3. Use a transplant food in the bottom of the hole to keep your plant healthy and growing well.
  4. Put your raspberry plant in the hole and back-fill. Since you've added some material with the planting compost it should create a slight mound. This will help prevent water from collecting at the plant crown.
  5. Space additional raspberries 2-3' apart.
  6. After transplanting water each plant thoroughly, even if it's raining.

Growing Raspberries

Pruning Raspberries

Raspberries need plenty of nutrients, especially nitrogen, to produce well. After you plant in the spring you'll fertilize them in June. After that feed them every March and June with a good berry food.

Raspberries like moisture. Water them consistently. The best way to water is with a drip system that will get the water right where it needs to go.

Raspberry plants don't like to compete with weeds. To cut down on the weeds you can mulch around your plants. This will also help hold in moisture during the summer.

Your plants will begin to produce fruit in their second season. The berry harvests will become larger as your plants become more established.

Pruning Raspberries

There are two types of raspberries: single crop and everbearing. Single crop, or summer bearing varieties like Tulameen produce one large crop per season. Everbearing, or fall bearing varieties like Caroline, Heritage & Fall Gold produce two smaller crops in the summer and fall with exact times depending on the variety. These different types are pruned differently.

With all raspberries you will want to cut away any shoots that stray from your designated raspberry area, or any canes that are damaged.

Single Crop

These are especially easy to prune. They produce on two year old canes. These are thicker canes with brown stems. Once an individual cane has produced it will not have berries again.

  1. In late winter/early spring cut out any dead canes (they will look gray with peeling bark and remnants of little lateral fruiting branches).
  2. At the same time, thin the canes to leave the thickest, healthiest canes at 3-4" apart. These are the canes that will produce fruit in the summer.
Raspberry Cane Dead Peeling Fruited Raspberry Cane Lateral Branches on Dead Cane
Gray Peeling Bark on Dead Cane Fruited Canes Lateral Branches on Dead Raspberry



These varieties produce berries on a mixture on one and two year old canes. There are two different ways to prune them.

Prune for One Crop (total crop yield is typically larger)

  1. In late winter cut ALL canes back to ground level. This eliminates the summer crop, but produces a larger, earlier fall crop.
  2. In early summer thin the canes so the strongest canes are 3-4" apart.

Prune for Two Crops

  1. In late winter cut out any of the completely dead canes. These will be the thicker, rigid canes.
  2. At the same time trim the rest of the canes down to about 18" tall. This will remove the fruited portion of the canes.
  3. In early summer, after your first harvest, thin the canes.
Before Pruning Raspberries After Pruning Raspberries
Before Pruning Everbearing Raspberries After Pruning Everbearing Raspberries


When you prune, make the cut just above a bud at a slight angle. cutting too far from a bud, or too close at a sharp angle can lead to bud problems.

Raspberry Prune Too Far

Raspberry cane cut too far from the bud.

Raspberry Prune Too Steep

Raspberry cane cut too sharp, too close to a bud.

Raspberry Prune Correctly

Raspberry cane cut just right: near a bud and at a slight angle.