Prune summer raspberries as soon as you pick the last of the fruits, to encourage lots of lush, strong new growth ready for next year’s harvest.
Summer raspberries are fantastic value for money. Plant them in autumn and by the following year you’ll have baskets of luscious red fruits to pick. It just gets better, too: raspberries crop year after year, more heavily each time as they mature.
You’ll find bundles of bare-root canes appearing at the garden centre here in Chislehurst, Newchurch, Canterbury and Welling from next month onwards to plant your own raspberry patch. Try combining summer-fruiting varieties, which crop from late July until late August, and autumn-fruiting types which take over until the first frosts for the longest possible season.
An annual prune is all the care your raspberries need to keep them healthy and productive. For summer-fruiting varieties, this takes place now, just after you’ve picked the last of the fruits.
Select the fruited canes and cut them out to ground level, along with any weak or spindly shoots that have grown this year. Thin particularly vigorous clumps of canes to leave four or five of the sturdiest stems for each plant.
Tie these in to their supports at regular intervals, using jute string tied tightly around the wires but loosely around the stems, to allow them room to expand. Then weed through, taking extra care not to damage the shallow roots. Pull out any unwanted suckers which might have popped up outside the row (don’t cut them off or they’ll resprout) and then give the plants a good feed of slow-release fertiliser such as pelleted poultry manure. Water the row if it’s dry, and top off with a generous mulch of organic matter such as well-rotted stable manure to send them into next year in the best possible shape.