March 23, 2012
A week ago, we met at the farm to get first hand experience on pruning raspberries. Raspberries are brambles, thorny plants of the genus Rubus, in the rose family (Rosaceae). Each year the raspberry plant grows new canes. The canes that are a year old will produce fruit. After harvest, the fruit producing canes die. Each fall or spring the raspberries need to be pruned.
There are three reasons to prune raspberries.
1.) to remove old canes that produced during the current year’s harvest.
2.) to remove short outside growing canes that grew in the current year but will not produce any berries.
3.) cut back the width of the row and the space between each producing cane. You want to open up space for new growth and to allow light to reach the ripening berries.
The row width should be pruned back to about 2 feet with 3-4 canes per foot within the row.
It is best to wear gloves and prune with a pair of long-handled loppers. Cut the canes at the base near the ground. Pull out the cut cranes and piled them in the isle for easy clean-up.
Working together with one person on each side of the row makes for simple work.
It’s never to early to teach the next generation the how-to’s of pruning raspberries. Who knows Trey may run the farm someday.
There is a standing joke between us about who use to bellyache the most when it came to working in the field. Some will say that Doris use to be the worse, saying she had to go to the bathroom. She would go down to the house and never returned to the field! On this pruning day, Arline had an excused absence since she was on vacation. But it was Irene who showed up just as we were finishing the pruning job. Over an hour late and she still got her picture taken for the record. Ha-Ha!