Get Your Raspberries Ready for Another Season

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Renee Wilkinson

Renee Wilkinson › Renee Wilkinson is the creator of, a popular website dedicated to homesteading, edible landscape ...


Are your raspberry bushes getting a little out of control? Renee Wilkinson walks you through her process of thinning out the raspberries along the fence in her modern homestead, ensuring a tidier garden and a bountiful harvest.

Our fence is lined with ever-bearing raspberries, a wonderful addition to our edible landscape. Just as the name implies, ever-bearing raspberries will give you a continual harvest throughout the summer and fall. They do well in our Pacific NW climate and are a carefree addition to the homestead. The berries deteriorate quickly after harvest, which is why growing your own is really the best way to go.

Our raspberries multiply like crazy! Not to the point where I would say they are invasive, but you do need to stay on top of them to keep the shoots from taking over in the garden. My strategy is to pull out the shoots as they begin to spread and replant them elsewhere in the garden. At this point, almost our whole fence line is filled with these upright berries.


Winter and early spring are the best times to thin the raspberry plants. The first and second year wood will produce fruit, but the third year stems will die and no longer bear fruit. They don’t harm the plant, but they do make the raspberry patch a tangled mess, and our berries were in desperate need of thinning.

Finally this season I got to them in time! The berry stems were just starting to leaf out, so I grabbed my sharp snippers and went to work. You can tell which stems are the old ones because they will be lighter in color – a light tan color rather than a rich reddish brown (old stems circled in the picture below).

Side shoots from older, dead raspberry plants

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Have you started pruning and thinning out the older growth in your garden?

Photo Credit: Renee Wilkinson