Autumn fruiting, summer fruiting, mid-season raspberries. How to grow, when to prune?
Its just about coming to the end of bare-root planting season but just about time to plant some soft fruits. This time of year I’m more usually making sure all the pruning, tying-in, feeding & mulching has been completed.
- Autumn fruiting raspberries fruit on current season wood (known as primocane). Routinely cut all stems to the ground in February/March (before the stems have put on growth)
- Summer fruiting rasperries (floricane) fruit best on last years stems – so dont cut these down as you’ll loose your crop.
- Follow up with a good feed and mulch.
Thats the simple version. There are variations and intermediates that can confuse the situation (inevitably). Often when asked to tidy up a soft fruit bed, I find a the named variety of raspberry has been lost and different cultivars with different seasons of fruiting have either been inter-planted or have become jumbled up. The best approach is to cut to the ground any stems that have clearly flowered the previous year (the dried old flower parts should be obvious), leaving any healthy unflowered canes. It does mean your fruiting season may be a bit congested though. Autumn varieties will fruit on old canes, but earlier and with decreasing vigour. So if indoubt leave unflowered stems. You can stagger your autumn varieties, maybe pruning half of them biennually, producing a longer cropping season.
If, like myself you are a bit OCD, you would have clearly demarcated rows of early, mid and late varieties, each (summer) cane tied to its wire support, making harvesting as easy as apple pie. I’ve worked on too many soft ftuit beds where the summer raspberry crop is lost within a dense and shady canopy, where its more hunter gatherer than relaxing summer stroll, trug in hand.