Raspberries produce many small, sweet fruits every summer—for over a month! Come August, it’s critical to prune your berry shrubs to keep the berries coming! See our tips on growing, harvesting, and pruning raspberries.
Raspberries are a shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family, in the genus Rubus. One of the most popular berries in North America, one raspberry bush can produce several hundred berries per season!
Not only are raspberries perfect for picking and eating straight off the stem, but they’re also wondering in jams, pies and tarts, or smoothies and drinks. Plus, fresh raspberries are an excellent source of vitamin-C to support the immune system and helps fight infections.
There are two types of raspberries, both with their own specific requirements for growing:
- Summer-fruiting raspberries are more common, developing their fruit on last year’s growth. They bear one crop per season, in summertime (often June or July).
- Ever-bearing raspberries (also called fall-bearing or autumn-bearing) produce berries on new canes. they bear a fall crop and can also produce fruit the following summer.
A mix of both types of berries would be an ideal way to maximize the harvest period.
All raspberries are self-fertile, so you only need one bush to produce fruit. They’re best pollinated by bees, and will start producing fruit a year after planting.
Though raspberry bushes are naturally inclined to grow in cooler climates, the plants now come in many varieties suited to a range of planting zones.
The Importance of Pruning
All raspberries will need pruning annually! Raspberries are perennials, however it’s important to realize that their branches (or canes) which bear the fruit live for only two summers. During the first year, the new green cane (primocane) grows vegetatively. The cane develops a brown bark, is dormant in winter, and during the second growing season is called a floricane. The floricane produces fruit in early to mid summer and then dies. New primocanes are produced each year, so fruit production continues year after year. It’s your job to prune out those dead canes each year.
See more pruning advice below.