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How To Prune Summer-Bearing Raspberries

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                   GardenGuides Newsletter 
                        July 11, 2006

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Tips for Tending Your Garden Tools

* Use a putty knife or wooden paint stirrer to scrape off 
encrusted dirt.

* Remove mud and rust spots with a wire brush.

* Use a steel file to give spades or hoes a ready-for-action 
edge, backside only. Spritz tools with a protective oil.

* Sharpen pruning shears with a whetstone. Be sure to follow 
the existing bevel. 

* Treat tools with moving parts, such as shears and action 
hoes, with a lubricating oil. 

* Using sandpaper, smooth away rough spots on wooden handles. 
Brush on boiled linseed oil and let it absorb into the wood. 
Repeat the oil application, then wipe off excess oil. 

* When shopping for tools, look for a style that fits comfort-
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weights are available for most tools. 

* When purchasing tools, consider ones with brightly colored 
handles, so you can find them easily when you lay them down 
in the garden. Some gardeners paint the wooden handles of 
their tools bright red so they will stand out against the 

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How to Prune Summer-Bearing Raspberries
by Jack Ruttle

Shorten tips of canes 6 to 10 inches. Late winter or early 
spring, just at the end of the dormant season, is the best 
time to prune summer-bearing red raspberries. Here's how. 

If you didn't remove the old canes right after they fruited 
last summer, take those out first. Then thin the canes that 
will bear this season's crop. Prune out all the smaller ones, 
leaving fruiting canes four to six inches apart in a bed 
that's about a foot wide. 

Next, you can shorten the canes that are left, but easy does 
it! According to Marvin Pritts, a small fruits specialist at 
Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, the most fruitful 
portion is the top third of the cane. 


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If you are in the habit of cutting your canes back by half 
(leaving them about three feet tall) so they will be self-
supporting, you are sacrificing half your potential crop.

The top portion of the cane is most fruitful because the 
buds are spaced more closely there. So the only portion you 
should remove is the very tip, where the cane becomes thin-
ner or somewhat undersized. Buds that formed there late 
last season are not strong and often suffer winter damage. 

Most varieties should be five or six feet tall after you've 
finished pruning. For support, fasten the canes to a trellis, 
which can be as simple as a single strand of wire set 
slightly lower than the tops of your canes. Later in spring, 
remove the first flush of new replacement canes when they 
get six inches tall. Such early cane removal increases the 
crop by 20 to 50 percent.

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