How should raspberry canes be pruned?

Garden Making

Red raspberry canes before pruning
Red raspberry canes before pruning
Red raspberry canes before pruning.

Ian in Summerstown, Ontario, asks:

I have raspberries that produce in July, then a second crop in September/ October. How would you suggest I prune the canes?

Garden Making reply:

Our suggestion is to read the factsheet on “Raspberries and Blackberries for Home Gardens” published online by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Here is a link to the factsheet:

The section on pruning suggests the following:

Red raspberries

Fruiting canes die when harvest is completed. Cut out and destroy these;. This prevents serious disease buildup since the sources of infection have been removed. Remove small and/or weak canes as well.

In spring, after the danger of winter kill is past, further pruning is needed to remove weak canes and dead tips of canes. Keep 15 canes per 40 inches (1 m) length of row. Remember to keep the rows narrow. Leave the strongest and most vigorous canes evenly spaced in the row. Shorten tall canes to 53 inches (135 cm) for convenient harvesting.

Fall-bearing raspberries

Fall-bearing raspberries are usually grown for just the fall crop. After fruiting, all canes are removed and destroyed. The next season, a new flush of primocanes appears and bears fruit in the fall. Thinning is not usually necessary.

If two crops are desired, then fall-bearing raspberries are treated like red raspberries. After harvest, prune and destroy the portion of the cane producing the fall crop.

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6 thoughts on “How should raspberry canes be pruned?”

  1. Any tips of pruning a small forest of old raspberry cane?? Please help!I have a large clump of old raspberry cane up at a cottage property probably 20th are old thick and probably about 200sq ft of thick.

    • I live in North Vancouver,BC. Berries grow like weeds on trails, parking lots, etc. eat them fresh while paying for parking. The nature takes care of itself, there’s no pruning.

  2. last year’s bumper crop was heart-breaking, because bees/wasps/etc. kept devouring the berries before I could get to them. What can be done to prevent or lessen this?

  3. Planted new raspberry plants this year. Doing well but no fruit this year. It’s all new growth. Quite tall already. Should I cut them back in the Fall or just leave them alone til next year ?

    • I cut them to about 3 ft. in late fall or very early spring. That’s all you need to do. Raspberries are so easy to grow and maintain and they are so rewarding. I freeze them and have some year-round.


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