Although it can seem quite bleak out there at the moment (February), small signs of life are appearing on the allotment and it’s time to cut back autumn fruiting raspberries before new shoots appear. Don’t be tempted to cut back summer fruiting raspberry canes though, as they produce fruit on the stems that grew last year. Pruning summer fruiting canes now will mean no raspberries this year!! so wait until your plants have fruited in summer and then cut back the woody canes on which the raspberries grew this year, leaving the fresher looking green stems to fruit next year.(More on this later in the year) If in doubt as to whether you have summer or autumn fruiting canes, don’t prune now and wait until your plant has fruited. Feeling experimental? Then cut back some of the canes now and wait to see what happens.
If you can already see a few tiny green leaves at the base of the plant, just be very careful where you prune, so as not to disturb these new shoots, as these will become the canes that your plant will fruit on in later on in summer. This year, as well as thinning out and cutting back, I’ve decided to move my raspberries to a different part of the plot, but not for crop rotation purposes. Raspberries, if kept in check and well fed, can stay in the same bed for many years.
P.S.I have pruned autumn raspberries in November and December and they’ve been absolutely fine the following year, but in theory, it’s best to leave it until February, when the plant is completely dormant, so there’s no chance of the cold damaging the plant after you’ve pruned it.
October 26th 2011
Now is a great time to order and plant new raspberry canes for next year. Autumn Bliss is a very well-known and popular Autumn fruiting variety, but there are now quite a few new introductions such as Polka, Joan J, All Gold and Autumn Treasure and in fact ‘Joan J’ won best tasting Autumn raspberry in the ‘Gardening Which?’ trials this September. Both Victoriana Nursery and Ken Muir stock good selections of both Summer and Autumn Fruiting varieties and now is the time to order while they still have a wide choice of varieties available. This year I’ve ordered some new ‘Polka’ and ‘Joan J’ canes as I already have Autumn Bliss growing in the allotment and I want to see if there is a difference in taste between the two. I’m going to find a space somehow to plant these in my back garden so that I can pick this delicious fruit just outside my back door next year.