Raspberry Pruning

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and took a few moments to reflect on the most important elements of life and said a prayer of thanksgiving for them.

Warmer temperatures early in the week allowed me to pick up three more garbage cans of free wood chips.  My mulched pathways were getting thin and needed to be replenished.  Our local electric company has a site where they offer free wood chips, if you load them yourself.

Two more areas mulched.  1) In the top of the picture 2) In the middle of picture - almost done

Two more areas mulched. 1) In the top of the picture 2) In the middle of picture – almost done

My raspberries suffered this summer from not being tied up and pruned.   It was difficult to harvest or walk around.

Black raspberries

Black raspberries

Red raspberries

Red raspberries

When working with raspberries I recommend thick leather gloves, long pants, and long shirt.  Their rasps grab and pull.  Grabbing a can is difficult if you do not have gloves on.  For pruning tools I use a hand shear and a large two handle shear that really works well on the thicker canes.

I start by cutting canes that look dead or wooden.  The wooden canes are not pliable or may even have a hollow wooden sound to them.

You can see a difference in canes.  The closer canes look more like a tree stem

You can see a difference in canes. The closer canes look more like a tree branch

Often the dead canes will come off when I tug on them.  However, I like to cut them with my shears so the cut is clean.  Jagged cuts leave more surface area for disease and insects.

Then I selectively cut to allow for the best sunlight access, air flow, and space on the trellis wires.

The black raspberries, long view.

The black raspberries, long view.

Black raspberries, side view

Black raspberries, side view

I was aggressive with the black raspberries.  They are fast growers and I have difficulty controlling them.  The “V” shape helps to get air flow in.  Inside the “V” is were new canes can grow and get plenty of light.

I tied each cane to the trellis wire with twist ties.  I get a roll of twist tie, that is about 25 feet long, from my local nursery.  I wrap each cane so it has enough room to grow thicker but does not get away from the wire.

The sun set before I was able to finish tying the red raspberries.  I hope to get out on a sunny day this week and finish.  I think both berries look better than they did when I started.  I hope they now have enough space to grow.

I have already begun dreaming about next spring.  Seed catalogs are starting to come in the mail.  It is good to get outside and do some work.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

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