Raspberry plants should be pruned while they are still dormant in late winter. Use bypass pruners that are clean and sharp, and wear thick gardening gloves to protect your skin from the thorns of the raspberry plants.
- Prune last year's canes
Get rid of any canes that produced fruit in the previous year. These spent canes do not produce fruit again this year, and leaving them on the plant may allow disease spores to spread.
- Prune canes reaching beyond the row's footprint
Set a footprint for your raspberry row that is 12 to 24 inches wide. Cut away all branches that extend beyond this border. Pruning your raspberry plants within these boundaries keeps your plants from getting unruly, inhibits the spread of disease and makes your next raspberry harvest a little easier to manage.
- Prune weak or sickly canes
Inspect your raspberry plants for any short, weak or skinny canes, as well as any canes that are suffering from disease or insect damage, and remove them. Only allow the thickest and healthiest canes to remain.
- Attach the remaining canes to a support structure
Use twist ties, rubber bands or twine to tie any canes that remain to their supports. Not all raspberries require supporting, but it does make the raspberries easier to harvest and it protects the plants from wind damage. A raspberry support structure can consist of a trellis or fencing.