Preparing for spring, everbearing raspberries

The last couple of years spring came so late and winter lasted so long I didn’t really have a chance to prepare the garden.  This year the lack of snow and the relatively mild temperatures have given me the chance to do some early season prep work.  Let’s talk about raspberries.

There are many types of raspberries, and they need to be taken care of based on their type.

The type of raspberries I am used to working with are everbearing.  This type gives you two crops a year if properly pruned.  Each year the plant puts up new shoots that will flower and fruit late in the summer.  These are the primocaines.

They will produce fruit from late summer until the weather gets cold enough to make them go dormant.  This is a heavy crop of fruit, with large berries.  When winter comes, any berries that are still on the bush will remain until spring, unless birds or deer decide to eat them.

In the spring, it is best to prune the vines while they are still dormant.  The picture below gives a clear indication of where to prune.  The buds for this year can clearly be seen in the image below. They show up just below the end of the last fruiting branches from the fall.

late winter raspberry vine
The buds will start where the previous year’s berries left off.  Click on image for better details.

When the weather warms, they will grow into the new growth that will house the spring harvest that normally comes in June and into July.  These berries are usually smaller than the fall harvest.  After the June harvest, these vines will die and should be trimmed out if possible.  The canes that will continue to grow and those that are dead are clearly distinguishable when you know what you are looking for.  In the picture below, you can see dormant (brown) and dead (grey) vines.  Ideally the ones that are now grey would have been pruned in July, but if not then they should come out in spring.

Dead and dormant vines
You can see from the grey color which vines are dead and need pruned out. The dormant ones maintain their brown color.

To prune the dead vines, clip them close to the ground, and remove them from the patch so they don’t pass disease and pests to the next crop.

Cut the dead vines right at the base of the ground and remove the vines from the patch.

The increased air flow and sunlight from having properly pruned your berry patch will result in a delicious and healthy harvest.

bowl of berries
The better care you take, the better will be the result of your harvest.