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I purchased a house 2 years ago that had a young (1-2 years?) raspberry patch. Last year it had a lot of growth but only produced fruit on a few bushes. I have been waiting until spring to determine which canes are dead and should be pruned but all canes, even those that produced fruit have new growth. Does that mean they will produce fruit again this year?

My bushes also have a lot of canes, approx 30 per plant, should I reduce this number to maximize the amount of fruit? What is a good amount of canes per plant?

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General practice with raspberries is to remove all of the canes that have already fruited by cutting them to the ground, so that new more vigorous canes can take their place. Canes that arise this year will fruit next year, and last year's brand new canes will fruit this year, so be sure to retain those. Older canes on some varieties might fruit again, but if they do the fruit will be sparse and have a greater chance of getting hit by some pest or disease. For this reason, be sure to remove the pruned out spent canes from the garden area so that pests can't use them to overwinter or multiply.

I suspect that your cane count will be much lighter after you've pruned out all the old fruited canes, but if it still seems like too many canes per clump, then you can do a second pruning to remove thinner, less vigorous canes from the group. If you do this, be sure to retain a mix of this year's new canes, and last year's new canes that have not yet fruited.

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  • Thank you, I've read similar information elsewhere but I'm confused because every source says canes that have already produced fruit will die, why is it that mine are growing new leaves? – Preston S Apr 25 '14 at 23:31
  • They often do die. But not always. I've had already-fruited canes that leafed out the next year, but I don't believe they ever produced much. – TeresaMcgH Apr 28 '14 at 18:13
  • Is there a way to spot the difference between harvested canes that are still growing and those that have not produced yet? I'm afraid I do not know which are which at this point without some visual indicators. – Preston S Apr 28 '14 at 21:08
  • The canes that have already produced fruit will have many short branches on them before they begin to produce leaves for the year. They may also have some "bark" type covering on some of the main branch, especially near the ground. First year canes are generally just one long green shoot. – TeresaMcgH Apr 28 '14 at 22:58
  • Marking accepted, though I'm still confused about first year vs second year canes. All of my canes have short branches leftover from last year, I don't have any plain green canes without branches. Perhaps I have a different variety than what you're familiar with. – Preston S Apr 29 '14 at 13:47

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