There are 2 types of raspberry plants:
1. Summer Bearing raspberries (floricane) have 1 large harvest, usually late summer or early fall. They fruit on canes that are 2 years old, the canes that sprouted last season. There are early season, mid-season and late season varieties, if you want to extend your raspberry season. Each harvest period lasts about 4 -5 weeks.
2. Everbearing Raspberries (primocane) aren’t really everbearing. They have 2 harvests per season; one in mid-late summer and one in the fall. The canes will fruit ther first year of growth in the fall, although it will probably be a light crop. They will fruit again the following summer and then they need to be removed.
How to Prune Summer Bearing Raspberries
❧ Right about now, in last March / early April, prune out all spindly, short, damaged or diseased canes, as well as any canes that have popped up outside of your row. Cut them right down to the ground.
❧ If some otherwise healthy canes have dead tips from winter damage, prune them back to green wood.
❧ Next, prune out all canes that fruited last year. They will have will have grayish, peeling bark.
❧ Then you want to select the most vigorous canes. These should be at least 1/4 inch thick at your thigh level. Prune out everything that doesn’t measure up.
❧ And finally, once you’ve pruned out everything else, thin these thick canes so that they are spaced about 6 inches apart.
❧ Finally cut the remaining canes back by about 1/4 their length.
❧ Next fall, you can prune out all the canes that bore fruit during the summer, those with the grayish, peeling bark. You’ll be that much ahead next spring.
How to Prune Everbearing Raspberries
Everbearing raspberries are the ones that can produce 2 crops, the first in the fall and a second crop the following summer. The fall crop will be on the upper portions of the canes and the summer will be on lower portion.
❧ Do the same early spring maintenance pruning as you would for summer bearing raspberries, removing the weak, dead and diseased canes.
❧ Then remove about 1/3 of the top portions of the canes, since the summer crop will be on the lower portions of the canes. The fall crop will come on canes that will sprout later in the spring.
Want to make it even easier on yourself?
Get out there right now and prune ALL the canes down to the ground. You’ll only get 1 crop, in late summer or early fall, but it will be larger. It will also be earlier in the fall than the plants would normally fruit. Which is good if you live in a colder area with a short growing season, because many fall bearing raspberries bear so late in the fall that it is too late for them to ripen in short season climates.
That’s what I do.