Everbaring Golden Raspberries

Asked November 15, 2017, 2:35 PM EST

I have everbaring Golden Raspberries in give gallon buckets. Over the summer they grew quite large. Now that freezing temperatures have arrived, I have taken them inside. Can I cut them back for the winter months? Should I? Like I said they are quite big and I have 7!

Durham County North Carolina horticulture

1 Response


This has been an interesting question to research. It seems that you will need to make some decisions about next year’s harvest – do you want both a summer and a fall harvest? Your answer will guide which canes you prune.

I have copied a lot of information from various webpages. If you are new to growing raspberries, you should read through not only the excerpts but the entire webpage.

To make an informed decision about pruning your plants, you need to understand how everbearing raspberries grow. From a NC State University publication “Raspberries in the home garden” (content.ces.ncsu.edu/static/publication/js/pdf_js/web/viewer.html?slug=raspberries-in-the-home-garden):

Heritage and other everbearing types may be annually pruned by simply mowing or cutting off all canes at or slightly below the soil surface late each fall. The following spring, new shoots (primocanes) will begin to grow. These canes will produce fruit on the tops in late summer through early fall. To delay the crop, the first flush of primocanes can be pruned to the ground when they reach a height of 12 inches or topped when they are approximately 30 inches. ….

To get a second crop from everbearing varieties, do not prune the canes after they have fruited at their tips. They will produce a crop lower on these canes the following year, before the fruit from the newly emerged canes ripen. Once the canes have produced two crops prune them to the ground. Use a trellis system as described for Dormanred if you choose to allow these varieties to fruit twice a year.

Following is a description how to prune everbearing blackberries and raspberries. The description comes from University of Tennessee Extension publication “Pruning and training caneberries (blackberries and raspberries) (extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP284-G.pdf):

"Caneberries" is a new term being used to replace "brambles" when discussing blackberries and raspberries and hybrids of the two. Brambles denotes the presence of thorns or prickles on a plant, and, since most new blackberry introductions are thornless, it is no longer appropriate. …

Proper pruning and training of canberries require knowledge of their growth and fruiting habits. The root system and crown of caneberries are perennial, meaning that they will live many years, whereas the canes are biennial, meaning that they have a two-year lifespan. The first year of this two-year life cycle is called the "primocane year." During the primocane

year, new canes arise from buds at the base of existing canes, the crown or the roots depending on the type of canberry being grown. Growth during the primocane year is vegetative. During the second year, called the "floricane" year, the canes will flower and fruit on short shoots, called "fruiting laterals," which arise from buds formed in leaf axils during the primocane year. Following fruiting, the floricane will die back to the crown (Diagram 1). In an established planting, both primocanes and floricanes will be present in a planting. There are some blackberry and raspberry varieties that will bear fruit on the primocane in late summer and fall. These are referred to as primocane bearing, everbearing or fall-bearing varieties. They will be discussed later in this fact sheet.

Pruning and training are distinctly different operations, yet they are often used together to achieve a desired effect. Pruning refers to making cuts or canes to promote growth in certain areas, to adjust crop load, to increase fruit quality, and to remove unhealthy or dead canes. Training involves positioning canes to increase sunlight penetration, air movement and spray coverage throughout the canopy. It also is used to make cultural practices, such as harvesting, easier. Trellising is a good example of training. Together, pruning and training have many positive effects on yields, fruit quality, pest control and ease of management.

from buds formed in leaf axils during the primocane year. ….

Primocane-bearing caneberries can be managed for a fall crop only or for a fall crop on the primocanes and then a summer crop on the floricanes. The decision regarding which way to

manage them is based somewhat on the type of the caneberry and the goals of the grower.

A primocane will grow throughout the early and middle parts of the growing season. Fruit buds will be initiated in the upper one-third to one-half of the primocane, and fruiting will

occur in the latter part of summer and in the fall. This section of the primocane will then die back. If the canes are left in the field, floricane fruiting will occur on the lower part of the canes in early summer and then the rest of the cane will die.

Several red- and yellow-fruited raspberry varieties are primocane fruiting. In many cases, growers decide to grow these raspberries for the fall crop only, since the fall crop is the larger of the two. With primocane fruiting blackberry varieties, the decision regarding fall cropping only is strongly influenced by climate. In cooler regions, the primocane crop is fairly large, and the economics involved in maintaining the planting might be in favor of growing for the fall crop only. However, in warmer areas, the primocane crop is not that large, so the canes are retained for the floricane crop the following year.

When growing for the primocane crop only, primocanes are allowed to grow and fruit. Canes are then mowed to the ground during winter, and the entire sequence of primocane growth and fruiting is repeated. Significant savings in pruning costs are recognized with this type of system. Control of certain diseases can be accomplished through pruning. By mowing down the planting and removing the residue, disease that may move from floricanes to primocanes will be eliminated since there will never be any primocanes. With raspberries, mowing the planting down results in a larger primocane crop since there will be no fruiting stress on plants early in the summer.

If growing for both the primocane and the floricane crop, the sequence of pruning cuts will be similar to those of a floricane-fruiting variety with one exception. Pruning off the dead portion of the primocane following fruiting may lessen disease carryover from one year to the next and will make the planting easier to work and more attractive. Diagram 5 shows the pruning operations involved in a primocane-only fruiting program (Diagram 5A) versus the pruning operations in a floricane-fruiting variety (Diagram 5B).

Although we prefer to use research-based information from either universities or Cooperative Extensions to answer questions, I found that the most information about growing raspberries in containers comes from commercial publications. Although the publications where I found the information does not cite the research to back up their advice, as it seems consistent, I would trust that it is based on experience.

From the website “Mad About Berries” is this webpage “Growing everbearing raspberries in containers” (www.madaboutberries.com/raspberries/growing-everbearing-raspberries-in-containers.html):

Depending on the location, raspberries should be pruned until middle of the May. Remove anything that is damaged or ill, remove two-year old canes and one-year redundant canes. Canes bearing fruits should be cut to the height of 1.2-1.5 m (4-5 feet), depending on the variety. Raspberries in the containers can grow as very thick bushes, so keep the number of the canes at moderate level. Letting the sun and air into the bush, decreases the danger of various diseases.

From the website “Backyard Food Growing” is the page “How to grow raspberries in containers” (backyardfoodgrowing.com/how-to-grow-raspberries-in-containers):

Pruning Raspberries

For the vining varieties that grow long and far, I recommend just keeping them trimmed to a manageable size and height. The plant will adapt and produce fruit anyway.

The red and yellow varieties grow a set of fresh green canes called Primocanes each year which grow 4′-5′ tall.

The first year the plant will grow primocanes which do not produce fruit in their first year.

Over the winter, these canes will mature and turn brown. By the next growing year they will mature and be called floricanes. These canes are the ones that will be ready to produce fruit in the summer.

Then during that year the plant will grow another set of green canes.

The fruit grows only on the older, second year canes that grew in the first year. This is called a Biennial Growth Cycle.

Good luck!

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Nan Len

Durham County Extension Master Gardener volunteer