Pruning Potted Raspberries

Nate is doing some spring gardening on his balcony in Seattle. The potted raspberry plant that he got last summer is showing signs of life.

Raspberries, as I’ve learned, have a two year lifecycle. The first year, the canes are called primo canes and the second year they are called floricanes. The floricanes are the ones that will produced fruit. After they produce fruit one year they are as good as dead, so you can prune those canes out.

Nate had a couple (and I mean two) raspberries from his little potted plant last year, but it has sent up two very long new shoots that should produce berries this year.

I know you’re supposed to prune out old raspberry canes each year to keep the plant from getting too crowded and thick.

But I’ve also seen some people clip the tips of the new canes back to encourage the canes to branch out and form side shoots that will grow even more raspberries.

We’ve decided to run an experiment…clip one cane and leave one unclipped: which one will produce more raspberries? (I realize this experiment has an N of 2, and is therefore more of a case study.)

First he started by cleaning out the old canes. It’s not a hard task. There were only three.

He trellissed the remaining three long canes against the balcony railing.

Of the two longest canes, he clipped 6 or 8 inches off the tip of one.

The other cane was left unclipped. I’ll have to remember to update you with the results of this experiment come July.

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