The Raspberry is about the easiest of all the small fruits to manage, and perhaps the most neglected. It is a case of familiarity breeding contempt, presumably. There are a few Raspberry stools in nearly every garden, just as there is a boot-scraper. The one is as common an object as the other, and excites about as much attention. This is a little unfortunate. The boot-scraper, while serving a useful, if modest, purpose, does not bear crops of delicious and useful fruit; the Raspberry does. It is not unreasonable, therefore, to suggest that the Raspberry claims a somewhat higher dignity than the boot-scraper. On most of the principal points of pruning in the case of Raspberries experts are agreed, notably in regard to the value of shortening young canes after planting. Inexperienced growers are invariably eager to rush their canes into bearing at once, and are very apt to demur when advised to sacrifice fruit the first year. Yet this advice is the very best which could be given. Canes that are hard fruited immediately after planting will surely be followed by a meagre crop of weak successional canes. There is full accord on another point, namely, that established stools should be annually thinned out, the canes that have borne fruit being removed, and those which have pushed up from the base retained for fruiting the following season. I do not agree, however, with the advice to cut the old canes out right from the base directly the fruit has been gathered, because I believe that when the sap begins to fall it nourishes the basal buds. Good Grape growers do not usually spur their Vine laterals close in to the rod directly they have cut the bunches: they shorten the shoots halfway back when the leaves begin to ripen, and defer the final pruning till the sap has fallen. So I think it should be with Raspberries, for the fruiting system is to all intents and purposes the same. The grower who shortens the canes when the leaves change colour in autumn, and prunes hard in winter, will get fine crops of fruit if his soil and other treatment are right. In some parts of the country a system prevails of pruning the canes to different heights; for instance, in the case of a tall sort with half a dozen canes, two are cut back to within 18 inches of the ground, two others to 3 feet, and the rest merely tipped. I have known this practised with very good results. It has the advantage, to some cultivators, that the fruit is not all in at one time. The autumn-fruiting sorts should not be forgotten. These should be pruned in spring to get late growth. (For details of Raspberry pruning, see Fig. 20.)
A, vigorous, well rooted canes: a, cut down after planting to about 6 inches - good; b, shortened to 15 inches - fair; c, tip only cut off - bad.
B, results of shortening. Short pruning (Aa): d, shortened cane (it has produced a cluster or two of fruit, and is marked with a cross line for cutting away after the fruit is gathered, or in autumn); e, sturdy young canes for bearing in the following summer, tips only cut off (cross lines). Medium pruning (Ab): f, cane of preceding year after fruiting in current season cut out at cross line; g, canes of last summers growth duly shortened (cross lines). Long pruning (Ac): h, old cane which has borne a fair crop of fruit: i, young cane of moderate growth capable of producing a little fruit in the following summer; j, small cane incapable of bearing fruit, but generally prolific in sending up suckers the following season. Observe that as a result of not cutting hard after planting weak growth follows.