Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes back now for next year’s berries, says Gardening Editor Ruth Hayes

raspberry leadforweb

Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to ground level

We had a bumper crop of raspberries last year and I’m hoping to get the same result in 2018.

The summer-fruiting canes were cut back after they cropped, and January and February are the best months to give your autumn-fruiters a trim.

It’s so easy – simply cut the fruited canes back to ground level, then mulch around them with well-rotted compost or manure.

If you don’t have enough room to grow both summer and autumn varieties, you can maximise fruiting by double-cropping once your autumn plants are established.

Instead of cutting back all the fruited canes now, select up to eight of the most robust plants every 3ft (1m) and just remove their tops. Cut the rest of the canes back as usual.

The half-pruned canes will fruit earlier than the others, giving an extended season. They can then be cut down to the ground next winter, and other plants can be half-pruned for the following year’s crop. Tie back the remaining canes to keep them secure, and remove any suckers in summer.

Top tip

Plant raspberries now, while they are dormant. They like a sunny and sheltered spot with fertile, well-draining soil that has been enriched with manure.

Taking hardwood cuttings

hardwood cuttings

  • Remove a healthy length of new growth and cut it into sections approximately 6in-1ft (15-30cm) long.
  • Dip the bottom end into rooting powder or gel for good root growth, and insert the cutting into pots of dampened cuttings compost with added grit or perlite.
  • Place the pot in a cold frame or against a sheltered wall.
  • Alternatively, insert the cuttings into a sandy trench dug in a sheltered area of the garden.
  • Leave the cuttings in place until next autumn, when they can be potted on.
  • Cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to ground level

    hardwood cuttings

    Hardwood cuttings are potted up in gritty soil and placed in a cold frame