How, why and when to Prune Raspberry Bushes.

Having a wander around my vegetable garden most evenings whilst watering my containers means that I keep an eye on what needs weeding, what needs spacing or tying to a support, if there are any pests that need taming and more importantly what needs harvesting. 

A few weeks back Lindsey talked about how and when to harvest crops and I’m still in full flow from my plot with rhubarb, potatoes, courgette, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad leaves and my runner beans are just starting. From this 20ft square vegetable plot we get several home gown additions to our family meals.

  • Truth is my raspberries and strawberries rarely make it to the house as I eat most of them myself whilst ‘gardening’. Oops!

My summer fruiting raspberries have now finished fruiting for this season and it is essential to prune raspberries to ensure I get fruit next year.

There are two types of Raspberry. Summer Fruiting technically known as Floricane and Autumn Fruiting technically known as Primocane with them needing different pruning techniques. 

Simply decide if your raspberries are summer or autumn fruiting based on harvest seasonality and follow the instructions below.


Summer fruiting.

Simply cut all stems which produced fruit this year to ground level. These tend to also be brown in colour (matured). 

Leave all new stems which are green in colour as these will continue to grow and mature for fruits next year. Technical term Floricane meaning many canes. Stems grown this year, produce fruit next year. 

Remove any weak looking new stems to ground level too.

I’d also give these plants some slow release fertiliser or a god water with a liquid feed to encourage strong growth.


Autumn Fruiting

At time of writing these wouldn’t have had their fruits yet. These will fruit in September to the frosts.

Autumn fruiting plants fruit on 1st year growth. Technically known as Primocane or Primary cane or ‘Pri’ in latin meaning 1st.

Once these plants have finished fruiting simply cut ALL stems to ground level in winter.

In spring give a slow release feed to encourage new growth.

They fruit later in the year partly because they have a lot of growing to do in the growing season.


Raspberry Beetle damaging your crop?

In previous years some of my fruits have had raspberry beetle. The adult beetles lay eggs in the flower and as the fruit develops the egg hatches. The larvae are 6-8mm long, grey brown in colour and they feed on the drupelets turning them brown. If you eat one of these fruits containing the larvae it leaves an awful taste in your mouth I’d say akin to a challenge on I’m a Celebrity!

The larvae drop to the soil and pupate in the soil from August and overwinter. 

If you regularly lightly rake the soil surface underneath the plant canopy this brings the larvae to the soil surface and the birds find them a delicious treat! 

I can safely say that this year my fruits have had no larvae so the birds must have done a good job!


Have a great weekend


James.



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