How to Prune Red Raspberry Plants


Red raspberry plants are a delicious addition to your garden. While summer-bearing varieties only produce in the summer, fall-bearing red raspberry plants will give you a crop once in the summer and once in the fall. Left untended, your red raspberries can become a tangle of canes. However, with some simple pruning you can have a tidy hedgerow of productive raspberry canes.


Step 1

Prune your red raspberry plants in late March or early April. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the prickers found on red raspberry plants. Choose a well-maintained pair of garden shears for the optimum pruning and growth of your red raspberry plants.

Step 2

Select the healthiest of your red raspberry plants to remain in your garden. Those with a 1/4 inch diameter at a height of 30 inches are the most desirable. Prune them back to a height of no more than 5 feet.

Step 3

Remove all of the weak and damaged canes as well as the winter-damaged tips of any of the healthy canes. Cut the damaged tips back to living tissue. Also remove enough canes to create a distance of six inches between canes.

Step 4

Prune your plants again after they have produced their summer crop. Prune these canes that produced fruit back to the ground. Do this immediately after harvest and remove the pruned canes from your hedgerow to help control disease. At this time you should also thin out your new red raspberry shoots. Leave three or four healthy shoots per foot of hedgerow.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not prune off the tips of new shoots in the summer or the fall. This will cause your red raspberry plant to branch out in an undesirable manner.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Gloves


  • Raspberries for the Backyard
  • Pruning Raspberries
  • Raspberries in the Home Garden
Keywords: red raspberries, pruning raspberry plants, care for raspberries

About this Author

Em Connell McCarty has been writing for more than 27 years. She studied writing at the University of Iowa and at Hollins University in Virginia. She is continuing her study of English and writing at the University of Wisconsin. She writes fiction, creative nonfiction and essays. McCarty's fiction has been published in "Hip Mama" magazine and "Danse Macabre."