Easy Tips for Pruning Raspberry Bushes
It’s officially Spring! There is so much work to do in the yard, but one of the areas we really wanted to focus on before it got too far along in the season was prepping our berry patch. This will be our third year with the raspberry bush, second year with the blackberry, and our first time really getting serious about late winter/early spring trimming and prep.
First, let’s talk pruning. Take a look at your berry plant and identify any old growth shoots that look woody/dead. Those can be clipped back as they will no longer produce any berries. Next, take a look at any shoots that are short, weak, and spindly. These underperformers will be crowded out by your healthy canes once they leaf out, so best to trim those back too; allowing more of the plant’s energy to feed the healthy canes. Strong, healthy canes mean more berries! Finally, check for any damaged canes. Winters can be brutal in New England, and we had quite a few windy storms as well. Any canes that are damaged/broken can be clipped back a bit, as the broken ends won’t survive or thrive.
Flashback to April 2020 when a giant pine tree crushed our berry patch. This raspberry plant has been through a lot already!
Now that you’ve given your raspberry bush a haircut, it’s time to clear out any leaves/debris from around the berry patch. Be on the lookout for any new growth that pops up out of the soil so you don’t step on them. Raspberries spread by sending runners underground and those pop up all over the place around your berry patch. Given how much our raspberry spread out, we will need to move several nearby strawberry plants, and even extend the fenced in area a bit, to allow more space. I used my smaller metal rake for clearing out leaves, pine needles, and small twigs/pinecones. Sometimes you’ll have to remove some of the debris by hand to avoid damaging the new growth.
We also have two planters full of BrazelBerry plants. These are container friendly raspberries that don’t have thorns. One of these plants my mom scored for $1.00 on clearance which was a great find as the they are $30.00 full price! We’ve had these for 4ish years now, and truthfully neglected any yearly upkeep. This season, however, we pruned and cleaned up these planters, and might even plant them in the ground at some point. When we purchased the original plant, we were told you can split off and propagate one plant in the fall to make more BrazelBerries. We can also plant it in the ground, and it will continue to spread just like a regular raspberry would.
Finally, we also provide organic fertilizer and compost to our berry patch and BrazelBerries to keep them well fed. This is especially important for the container pots as the soil becomes more easily depleted.
Do you have a berry patch at home? Whether you grow berries in a container or in right in the ground, it’s best to keep up with pruning to improve your berry yield year after year.
Check out my full how-to from my YouTube Channel: