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Question about pruning raspberry plants  RSS feed

 
Elissa Teal
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Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Hi! I'm in the Midwest USA (zone 6b; just west of Lake Erie) and I have productive wild raspberry plants on my property. I have a question about pruning them. My plan was to prune or "mow" them down in the fall but that didn't happen. So, now I plan to do it in spring. Is that a good idea? If so, when in spring should I do it? And, lastly, how far down should I prune them?

TIA.
 
William Whitson
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Location: Washington coast
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You won't get a crop next year if you do that, unless they happen to be primocane fruiting varieties. Better to go through with some shears and cut out just the canes that fruited this year.

If you don't care about getting a crop, then you can mow them to the ground any time. New growth will come up from below ground, so mowing height doesn't matter much, but some stubble helps you to know where they are.
 
Elissa Teal
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Thanks, Bill. I was wondering if I would lose a crop this year if I did that. I think that I will mow only half of the canes down and hopefully figure out a system to better manage the canes.
 
Craig Dobbson
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I just thin out the canes that have already produced fruit along with any scrawny looking canes. Cut em right off near the ground. I cut the first year growth to a height of about 5 feet to make next year's harvest easier. The canes I have here will grow 10 feet long and spread all over the ground if left unchecked. This is a good trait when you want to spread them or root new plants. Just bend the tip towards the ground and add a weight. Once the cane touches the ground pin it down against the soil and throw some mulch on it. In a few weeks it's rooted and ready to transplant. Good luck.
 
Jeff Wesolowski
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If you mow them all down, you won't have a summer crop. If you leave fresh growth that came up late, you will get a summer pickin from em, and I think summer ones are sweeter than fall ones too. Remember to rotate, raspberries for me tend to get diseased if not rotated every couple of years. Ya want to join me in a spring permaculture class this spring at Owens? jeff
 
John Merrifield
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Location: West Virginia 6a Avgerage Rainfall 54" est. Average snowfall 36"
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Does the same apply to wild blackberries?
 
Craig Dobbson
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yup
 
Elissa Teal
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Jeff Wesolowski wrote:If you mow them all down, you won't have a summer crop. If you leave fresh growth that came up late, you will get a summer pickin from em, and I think summer ones are sweeter than fall ones too. Remember to rotate, raspberries for me tend to get diseased if not rotated every couple of years. Ya want to join me in a spring permaculture class this spring at Owens? jeff


Hey Jeff! How awesome to find a nearby permie! What's the class called? Also, what do you mean by rotating the raspberries?
 
Elissa Teal
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I just thin out the canes that have already produced fruit along with any scrawny looking canes. Cut em right off near the ground. I cut the first year growth to a height of about 5 feet to make next year's harvest easier. The canes I have here will grow 10 feet long and spread all over the ground if left unchecked. This is a good trait when you want to spread them or root new plants. Just bend the tip towards the ground and add a weight. Once the cane touches the ground pin it down against the soil and throw some mulch on it. In a few weeks it's rooted and ready to transplant. Good luck.


Thanks, Craig! I actually did prune out the scrawny ones last spring and we had a bumper crop last year. I did it without knowing if that was right or not -- I just needed to get them under control and I didn't want to mow it all down at the time because I wanted raspberries that summer
 
Craig Dobbson
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Elissa Teal wrote:
Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I just thin out the canes that have already produced fruit along with any scrawny looking canes. Cut em right off near the ground. I cut the first year growth to a height of about 5 feet to make next year's harvest easier. The canes I have here will grow 10 feet long and spread all over the ground if left unchecked. This is a good trait when you want to spread them or root new plants. Just bend the tip towards the ground and add a weight. Once the cane touches the ground pin it down against the soil and throw some mulch on it. In a few weeks it's rooted and ready to transplant. Good luck.


Thanks, Craig! I actually did prune out the scrawny ones last spring and we had a bumper crop last year. I did it without knowing if that was right or not -- I just needed to get them under control and I didn't want to mow it all down at the time because I wanted raspberries that summer



That's how I figured it out too. Funny how we often come to the best solution by what seems like instinct.
 
Jeff Wesolowski
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Hi Elissa, by putting them in a different spot I mean every three or four years put them in soil that hasn't grow raspberries for a long time. They do get diseased and rotating does help. Brad Miller is doing a class, practical permaculture through Owens comm college in march and april in arrowhead park. class should be on their website. I will likely be taking it. There is an active permaculture group in ann arbor area that is very good too, and I have gone to one of their meeting and met with one of the leaders of the group, jesse tack who help me planning my site. take care jeff
 
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