How to cut your raspberries - tutorial with instructions

How to cut your raspberries - tutorial with instructions

There is a difference between summer raspberries and autumn raspberries

In tree nurseries and garden centers there is a wide variety of raspberry varieties to choose from. Gardeners can choose between summer raspberries and autumn raspberries, or they can take both varieties home with them. So that you make the right choice, the following overview summarizes the outstanding differences:

  • Summer raspberries bloom and bear fruit on the previous year's shoots
  • Advantage: early harvest from June with larger fruits
  • Autumn raspberries bloom and fruit on this year's shoots
  • Advantage: easy upbringing and grooming

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In terms of vigor, summer and autumn raspberries pull together. Premium varieties such as 'Aroma Queen', 'Blissy' or 'Sanibelle' boast rapid annual growth of up to 120 centimeters. Anyone who does not ensure order and control with regular pruning measures has to struggle with an invasive spread of prickly, long tendrils in the garden within a few years.

Types of cuts and recommended dates

Bulging harvest baskets with melt-in raspberries are not least the result of a skillful cut care for the right time . Make sure in advance whether there are summer or autumn raspberries in your garden. This largely depends on when and how you cut the berry bushes correctly. The following overview lists all types of cuts with tips for the best time:

Cut typeGoal / occasionbest time
Plant pruning for summer raspberriesclear shrub structureafter planting
Plant pruning for autumn raspberrieslight-flooded, controlled growthafter planting
Spring cutSummer raspberries promote fruit wood, limit height growthFebruary to March
Summer cutThin out summer raspberriesafter harvest
Autumn cutAutumn raspberries are kept young and productiveafter harvest or in February

Summer raspberries - planting and training pruning

The successful cultivation of summer raspberries is based on competent training on the trellis . A frame made of wooden posts with clamped wires at 30 cm, 100 cm and 180 cm high has proven to be excellent in the home garden . The length of the trellis depends on the number of young raspberries planted with an ideal planting distance of 50 centimeters. The best time to plant is in early autumn, when the roots are growing rapidly in the sun-warm soil. This is how plant and training pruning on summer raspberries can be achieved:

  • After planting or in February, cut all shoots back to 30 centimeters or 4 eyes
  • Cover with a layer of autumn leaves, fixed with fir twigs or compost
  • Remove the winter protection from the beginning to the middle of March
  • In May, tie the 5 to 10 strongest rods well distributed on the trellis per running meter
  • Cut off all remaining tendrils at ground level

In the course of the season you tie the selected rods vertically to the wire trellis - in accordance with the growth. Please use flexible binding material that does not cut into the soft bark. Since summer raspberries grow up to 120 centimeters a year, individual shoots sometimes protrude over the trellis in autumn. Between November and February, trim the tips of the rods to a hand's width above the top trellis wire.


Rose gloves protected from annoying spikes.

Raspberries cannot deny that they belong to the rose family. The most popular varieties are covered with pointed spines. So that the scratchy tendrils do not spoil the joy of pruning, impenetrable rose gloves ensure pain-free work. Made of leather or solid nitrile and with extra long cuffs, you are well equipped with the special gloves for cutting all thorny berry bushes such as raspberries, gooseberries or blackberries.

Autumn raspberries - planting and training pruning

Autumn raspberries make pruning easy for you. Since the berry bushes are cultivated as an annual, there is no need for time-consuming tying and training on the wire trellis. They give the flexible tendrils reliable stability by hanging a reinforcement mat or similar grid horizontally between two wooden posts at a height of 80 to 100 centimeters. The rods can grow through here and do not tip over under their sweet weight. How to do plant and training pruning on autumn raspberries correctly:

  • After planting or in February, cut back all shoots to 30 centimeters or 4 buds
  • Cover the planting site with leaves and fix a thin layer of compost
  • Remove winter protection in good time before budding begins
  • In May choose 15 to 20 strong rods per running meter
  • Cut off all remaining shoots just above the ground and pull them out of the bush

The annual cultivation of autumn raspberries easily allows twice the number of fruit canes per meter of cultivation area compared to summer raspberries. It should not be more than 20 rods, because too dense growth promotes fungal infections, such as the dreaded rod disease.


Cutting raspberries with bypass or anvil scissors?

The botanical classification as rose family is not only expressed in raspberries in the growth with spiked shoots. A solid wood also indicates the close relationship to rose bushes. This requires sharp secateurs to make the cut, which leaves smooth cuts. For this purpose, the specialist trade offers bypass and anvil scissors. Bypass scissors work with two sharp cutting edges that cut a shoot without frayed wound edges. However, the bypass mechanism requires more effort. In contrast, anvil scissors cut more effortlessly, but there is a risk of the drive being crushed. The reason is the way it works with a sharp edge that presses the branch against a blunt anvil and only then cuts it.Since every mode of operation works with individual advantages and disadvantages, the decision is based on your horticultural assessment.

Cut summer raspberries twice a year

Beginning in the second year of standing, summer raspberries thrive on the trellis with two generations of rods. Side by side are the fruiting tendrils of the previous year and this year's rods for the raspberry harvest next year. This can cause confusion even among experts. So that you don't accidentally cut off valuable, young rods and leave old rods standing, cut your summer raspberries after the harvest. How to do it right:

  • After harvesting, cut off all empty-picked tendrils to a hand's breadth above the ground
  • In exchange, select the 10 best rods and tie them to the trellis
  • Cut off excess ground shoots and pull them out of the berry bush

As the illustration below illustrates, young raspberry canes have enough light, air and space for vital growth after the summer pruning. The tendrils will not be pruned until the coming spring. Only in February or March cut back too long shoots to an advantageous height of 150 to 180 centimeters. Use this opportunity to clear dead or frozen wood at floor level.

Cut back summer raspberries

Cut autumn raspberries once a year

Fall raspberries grow, bloom and produce fruit in the same year. Like all fruit trees that bear fruit on this year's wood, pruning is easy. In the year after planting, you select 15 to 20 of the best vines for this year's harvest. An uncomplicated rhythm then sets in for the annual pruning. How to do it right:

  • Cut autumn raspberries after harvest
  • Cut all rods to a hand's breadth from the ground
  • Cover the bed with leaves and coniferous branches or pile with compost

Clear away the protective mulch in spring in good time before budding. Young tendrils will begin to grow rapidly, which you can grow through the recommended wire mesh. If more than 20 rods thrive per running meter, select the most vital shoots in May and thin out any excess. Please measure the circumference of the cut according to the rule of thumb: the fewer fruit sticks, the larger and juicier the raspberries.

Cut back autumn raspberries


Sleeping eyes guarantee fresh growth after winter

After the autumn pruning, there is hardly anything left of autumn raspberries. How can it be that next year mighty, densely leafed tendrils with delicious raspberries present themselves again here? The solution to the riddle lies hidden in sleeping eyes , which are almost invisible under the bark and in the rhizome. Specifically, these are dormant buds. The pruning of the above-ground shoots causes dormant buds to be activated. Just in time for the start of the growth phase in spring, raspberries sprout from their sleeping eyes that have come to life.

Special case of two-timer raspberries

There is no new type of raspberry hidden behind the 'Two-Timer-Raspberry' variety designation. Rather, they are autumn raspberries that are blended like summer raspberries. In fact, any fall raspberry can bear fruit on both this year's and previous year's canes. Breeders take advantage of this property and offer hobby gardeners two-timer raspberries, such as the well-known 'Sugana', as a special variety innovation. There is no pruning after the harvest so that the fruit canes bear raspberries a second time in the early summer of the following year. From this follows this cut care:

  • After planting: cut back to 30 cm or 4 buds
  • In May of the following year: select 10 to 15 of the best rods per running meter, remove all others
  • First harvest time in June on last year's rods, second harvest time in August on this year's rods
  • Cut off every biennial cane in February / March every year, leave the previous year for a harvest in June

Commercial fruit growing ignores two-timer raspberries. The reason is primarily the complex cultivation, coupled with a longer harvest time and a lower yield per plant. Since productivity and work efficiency are secondary in the snack garden, the new raspberries come into focus with the two-time harvest on each fruit cane.

Cut the raspberries on the stick

In the small garden, for cultivation in the tub on the balcony, raspberries can be raised on a stick. Instead of installing a wire trellis or hanging up a grate, use a wooden post about 2 meters high as a support. Plant your favorite raspberry variety in close proximity to the stick in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. A plant cut to 30 centimeters promotes vital branching. Tie the 5 strongest rods to the rod with soft hose ties. Cut off excess ground shoots at the base.

After the harvest, cut the autumn raspberries back to short stubs and remove the rods from the stake. On summer raspberries, thin out the branches that have been removed after the harvest to make room for this year's shoots. You will gradually guide them up the staff. As the illustration below shows, there should be no more than five rods on the rod.

Cut raspberries on the stick

frequently asked Questions

Are raspberries self-fertile?

In fact, raspberries will thrive on their own and will give you a rich harvest. A complementary pollinator variety is not required. If space permits, we still recommend planting two raspberry bushes in order to optimize profitability. You can also effectively prevent crumbly fruitiness if you grow two raspberry varieties. Pure self-fertilization always involves the risk that the raspberries will simply fall apart when you pick them.

According to the instructions, I cut back the autumn raspberry 'Aroma Queen' close to the ground in spring. Now two weeks have passed and still no budding can be seen. What to do?

The time of pruning and budding are not directly related. As an autumn raspberry, 'Aroma Queen' takes time until mid / end of May to start this year's growth. A supplementary supply of nutrients and regular watering are helpful. Apply ripe compost with horn shavings (€ 6.39 at Amazon *) or an organic berry fertilizer. If no shoots can be seen from the ground by the end of May, the raspberry has probably died.

My summer raspberry is in full sun and has borne a lot of fruit in the first summer. The leaves have turned yellow since mid-August and not a single new shoot is growing. Should I fertilize and prune the berry bush before autumn?

As a result of cool and wet weather, your summer raspberry will probably go into dormancy earlier. The plant shifts the remaining nutrients from the leaves to the roots, so that the leaves turn yellow. Raspberries are no longer fertilized from the beginning of August, otherwise the berry bushes will not ripen and freeze before winter. Only apply an organic fertilizer again in spring. On summer raspberries, the older, worn shoots dry back in winter and are cut down to the ground in February.

Are raspberries suitable for keeping in a tub with a trellis?

All raspberry varieties can be kept in buckets, as long as there is an adequate supply of water and nutrients. An integrated trellis provides sufficient support for the long shoots. It is important to note that you repot the raspberries more often so that new shoots develop in the substrate. If a rhizome becomes too big, you can safely divide it in autumn or spring.

Is it possible to plant young raspberries in the location where there were previously raspberry bushes?

Unfortunately that is not possible. Raspberries belong to the rose family, the growth of which is associated with soil fatigue. This is a natural process that prohibits a complete succession of rose plants or at least associates it with considerable disadvantages. If one raspberry bush follows the next, you will struggle with sick, weak and poor plants. You can choose to plant plants from another family on the site for three to five years, or you can exchange the soil over a large area.

Are there raspberries without thorns?

A colorful dance of thornless raspberry varieties makes cultivation even easier and, above all, painless. The innovative variety Primeberry Autumn Amber thrives as an uncomplicated autumn raspberry with yellow fruits and does without any sting. Those who prefer to harvest red raspberries from thornless tendrils prefer Primeberry Mailing Happy. The dwarf variety Lowberry Red Princess, which has also made a name for itself as a stingless premium variety, is ideal for the small garden.

Our two-timer raspberry branches very little. Can I encourage branching with a cut?

Raspberries do not branch out very well by nature. Rather, the berry bushes form very long annual rods. The annual rods only branch out in the second year. These side branches then in turn bear fruit. The two-timer raspberry combines this growth with a slim, upright silhouette. One cut does not allow you to reinforce the natural branching. The two-timer variety 'Sugana' gets quite bushy anyway because it produces both annual and biennial wood.

The 3 most common mistakes

If a raspberry bush presents itself as a hopeless tangle of rods made up of many old and a few young shoots with poor fruits, there are mostly typical errors in the pruning behind it. To save you from unpleasant problems when growing raspberries, the following table draws your attention to the three most common pruning errors:

Cutting errorsDamageprevention
never cutimpenetrable thicket of rotten vinesCut raspberries at least once a year
Summer raspberries cut like autumn raspberriesFailure of the next harvestOnly cut empty sticks from summer raspberries after the harvest
Autumn raspberries cut in summerTotal failure of this year's harvestCut off autumn raspberries completely flush with the ground after harvesting


Raspberries tend to have a pronounced growth with runners. So that the berry bushes do not absorb the entire garden, a planting with a root barrier effectively prevents. Line the planting pit about 30 centimeters deep with pond liner or a special rhizome barrier.