Raspberries – Winter Care

Q: My raspberries are begging for some kind of attention. I have read too many articles and I’m really confused. Should I cut them back to the ground for the Winter? Should I tie them up on my trellis? Should I mulch them heavily and let nature take its course?

A: The pruning and care of raspberries depends on which kind you have: erect or trailing. You are in luck if you have the erect kind (usually the Heritage and Redwing varieties). These can be mowed to the ground in early winter and allowed to grow onto your trellis next year. They produce fruit in the fall.

If you have training raspberries (usually the Dormanred variety), life is a little more complicated. These brambles make fruit in summer on branches that grew last year. After the fruit has been picked, by you or the birds, the branches die. This makes room for new branches to grow, on which next year’s crop will appear.

It sounds like you have trailing raspberries. In fall, prune out all of the branches that appear brown. They won’t come back anyway. Leave the green raspberry vines on top of the mulch until February, then tie them up to the trellis. When fruiting is over next summer, cut everything off the trellis. Leave any new canes on the ground until next February, when you can start over again.

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