How To Prune Raspberries – Full YouTube Tutorial

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In this tutorial, we will show you how to grow and prune raspberries so they will produce an abundant harvest. Raspberries are one of our favorite things to grow on the homestead.  They are hardy and easy to care for and produce a bountiful crop in the summer and fall.  Raspberries are a perennial, meaning they come back year after year without having to be re-planted.  They are a must have in any homestead garden.  We love to pick a few raspberries to eat for a snack while we’re working in the garden, or to have on our granola with some raw milk in the morning for breakfast.  We freeze a lot of raspberries every year to use in muffins, pancakes, cakes, or to make into jam or syrup.

bowl of raspberries

Types Of Raspberries

Red Raspberries

There are two types of red raspberries.  Summer bearing and everbearing (or fall-bearing).  Each of these types of raspberries come in many different varieties.  The two kinds we grow on our homestead are Killarney (summer bearing), and autumn britten (everbearing).  Our raspberry plants are several years old and have survived many harsh winters in our zone 4b Nebraska climate.  They have consistently produced fruit every year.  

Yellow Raspberries

Yellow raspberries have such a nice flavor and are so beautiful in fruit salads or served alongside the red raspberries.  They are everbearing, and are a nice addition to your raspberry patch. They can be grown the same way that everbearing red raspberries are grown. More info below.

Black Raspberries

Black raspberries are similar to blackberries accept they have a hole in the middle of them like raspberries. They can be grown similar to red raspberries, but they should be pruned slightly different. More info below.


When planting raspberries it’s important to choose your site carefully. Not only are raspberries a perennial plant, they are also really hard to kill.  So be sure to plant them somewhere you’re gonna be happy with them being for a long time.  You can purchase bare root plants from seed supply catalogs or potted plants from a nursery.  Since they are very easy to grow, I recommend that you just purchase the bare root plants. This will save you the money on the more expensive potted plants.  

Be sure to prepare the soil by breaking up the ground through tilling or turning it over with a shovel.  You should plant the raspberries about 2’ apart in a row, because as the raspberries grow, they will spread out and fill up the row.  If you’re planting more than one row, be sure to space them at least 8-10’ apart.  It’s a good idea to mulch them with some wood chips to help keep the grass and weeds out until the raspberries are established.

Summer Bearing Raspberries

Summer bearing or summer-fruiting raspberries bear fruit in June and into early July.  They are perennials, but their fruiting canes are biennial, meaning they only live for two years. They produce fruit on their second year canes, or wood that the plant grew the previous year. So when you plant summer raspberries, you won’t get a crop until their second year of growth.  In their first year of growth, the raspberry canes are called floricanes.  In their second year of growth, those floricanes become primocanes, or fruit bearing canes.   Each year the plants produce fruit on the primocanes, and produce a new growth of floricanes that will produce fruit the next year.  

early summer raspberries

After you harvest summer bearing raspberries in their second year of growth, you will need to prune them sometime during the following winter or before the next season.  Pruning is the process of keeping the strongest canes, and removing the old canes and smaller weaker canes from the row.  This makes harvest easier and allows the plants to put all of their energy into producing a bountiful crop.  The best time to prune raspberries is in late winter or early spring as the canes can help to protect the plants from any winter damage.  

Three Easy Steps To Pruning Raspberries

There are three easy steps to follow for pruning your raspberries.

  1.  Remove last year’s primocanes.  To prune summer-bearing raspberries, just cut out all the old dead canes at ground level.  The old dead wood is the primocanes that produced fruit the previous year.  They will be gray and the bark will be peeling and it will look dead.  You can check out my full video tutorial below to see exactly what the old dead wood looks like.  The new floricanes that grew the previous year will be a rich chocolate brown color and will look alive.  These are the canes that will produce the following year, so you will want to leave them in place.  
  2. Narrow the row and remove weak canes. The only time you will want to prune back the chocolate brown floricanes is if they are really short or thin, or if there are any of them growing outside the row.  If you find some thin canes that won’t produce good fruit, it is best to remove them so the plant can put all of it’s energy into the stronger canes.  Also, if there are any raspberries growing outside the row, you will want to cut them back or remove them completely.  You want to keep the base of your row to about 2’ wide so your raspberries are easy to harvest and stay contained.  If you don’t keep the base of the row to a maximum of 2’ wide, the raspberries will continue to spread and you won’t be able to reach the middle of your raspberry patch.  
  3. Attach Canes To A Trellis.  It is a good idea to have a permanent trellis set up for your summer bearing raspberries.  The easiest way to trellis them is to set two wooden posts at the end of your row, each at an angle so they are about 2’ apart at the bottom and 3-4’ apart at the top, so they form sort of a V shape.  You can run a wire along each side of the raspberry row about 3-4’ off the ground, and stretch it between the posts on the end.  It is nice if you can attach the wire to a turn buckle so you can easily tighten the wire if it loosens over time.  If your row is over 10’ long, you’ll want to support the wire every 10’ or so with a T post put in at an angle to match the end posts.  This will give you a sturdy support system so you can easily tie the newer canes to the wire with a small piece of twine.  This will keep the fruit bearing canes towards the outside of the row making them easier to harvest. It will also keep them from bending clear over to the ground with the weight of their fruit.  
pruning raspberries

I don’t have the trellis for my raspberries completed yet, and I’ve still harvested hundred of pounds of raspberries off of my 100’ long row.  They are more difficult to harvest when they are not supported by a trellis, but they still produce a lot of fruit.


And that’s it until it’s time to harvest!  As the weather starts to warm up, the canes will start to produce leaves and eventually fruit.  The plants will also also start growing new shoots that will produce fruit the following summer.  These new canes will grow up in the middle of the canes that are producing fruit this year. Especially if you’ve tied the primocanes to the outside of the row on the trellis wires. I recommend harvesting raspberries everyday or every other day for best fruit quality. This also encourages the plants to continue producing fruit, and will give you a better harvest.

early summer harvest

Everbearing Or Fall-Bearing Raspberries

Everbearing or fall bearing raspberries produce fruit in the late summer and early fall on their first year canes, or floracanes.  I like to grow both summer bearing and everbearing varieties because I like to have a steady supply of fresh fruit for my family all summer long.  

fall raspberries

How To Prune Everbearing Raspberries

There is only one simple step involved in pruning everbearing raspberries. In the late winter or early spring, cut back all the canes within 6” of the ground.  As the weather starts to warm up, new floracanes will grow nice and tall and by fall they will produce a large crop.  If you don’t prune everbearing raspberries back to the ground, they will sometimes produce a small summer crop, and a small fall crop on the old canes.  It is much better to prune them back, so you get a larger harvest in the fall.  

Season Length

Everbearing raspberries usually produce fruit until it frosts.  For us that is usually the middle to the end of September.  If you live in an area with a shorter growing season, be sure to pick raspberry varieties that produce in August and early September.  Otherwise you run the risk of losing your raspberry fruit to frost.  

Cane Tipping Or Summer Pruning

As the new floracanes grow in early summer and get to be about 2-3’ tall, it is a good idea to prune them back 3-4” from their tips.  This will encourage them to grow more lateral branches which will  give you more fruit.

bushes of raspberries

How To Propogate Raspberries

To propagate red or yellow raspberries, you can just dig up some of the plants that start to grow outside of the main row, and transplant to wherever you want to start a new raspberry patch.  

If you are growing black raspberries, keep in mind that the canes like to grow a lot longer than red raspberries. If the tips of the canes touch the soil, they will actually start to grow roots.  This makes them easy to propagate but also means they can quickly get out of hand start growing all over.  It is best to only let the canes grow to about 4’ long. Then prune them back so they can’t touch the ground and start to root.  This also encourages more fruit production because the canes will branch out.


The only real pest that really bothers raspberries is the spotted wing drosophila (SWD).  It is a small fruit fly that originated in Asia.  It lays it’s eggs in the raspberry fruit, which shortens the life of the fruit.  You can spray for SWD, set out traps, and do a variety of other things to help control them.  

All commercial growers, even the organic growers, have had to take drastic measures to control this little fruit fly including spraying.  My family isn’t bothered by them, as the larvae is usually so tiny you can’t even see them.  It does make the fruit spoil more quickly, but we try to keep our raspberries picked daily. We also put them right into the freezer for jam or eat them immediately once we start seeing signs of SWD.  The good news is that SWD aren’t active above temperatures of 90 degrees.  They can also re-produce several times in a season.  This means that the everbearing raspberries that produce in the fall are more susceptible to damage from SWD.  More info on SWD here.

fresh picked raspberries

The Joy Of Growing Raspberries

I hope you decide to add raspberries to your garden or homestead.  They really are so simple and easy to grow and can be eaten so many ways.  Our absolute favorite way to eat them is made into some old-fashioned jam made without pectin.  We also like to use that jam to make pop tarts or thumb print cookies.  There is such a satisfaction that is found when you plant something, and then get to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  God made such wonderful fruits and vegetables for us to enjoy, and raspberries are one of the best!

Raspberry Pruning Video

If you’d like to know more about growing grapes, we have a full pruning and trellising tutorial for grapes. You can find it here.

If you have any questions on growing raspberries, please reach out to us on Instagram or Facebook @wagonwheelhomestead21. If you plan to grow raspberries, let us know in the comments below.

Thank you for following along with our blog, as we teach you how to grow a simple, sustainable life.

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pruning raspberries & a bowl of raspberries

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