This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
CULTIVATORs too frequently allow raspberry bushes to run rampant the season through, and do the pruning the following spring, when much severe cutting is required in bringing the plants into shape. A proper share of attention at the right time, and a small amount of labor, will enable the owner to bring them into a suitable form, retain all their vigor, and obviate much of the care required for staking the plants.
With the Black Caps, the stems of which are long and slender, more attention should be given to pinching back early, than to the others or suckering raspberries. In the Northern States this pinching should be performed once, or as soon as the new shoots are a foot or so in height. The thumb and finger will easily take off the tender tips of the shoots, which is all that is needed. The new canes will then begin to become thicker and stouter, and in a short time will throw out laterals or side branches. These laterals should in turn be pinched off, so as to give the bush the form shown by the dotted line. If the pinching is not done in time, it will be necessary to cut off the tips, which by lopping a portion of the foliage, will give the plant some check, but will bo better than to leave it to grow into a straggling form.
As the suckering raspberries have shorter and stiffer canes than the Black Caps, the pinching off may be done later, or when they are some three feet high.
In addition to keeping the bushes thus in proper form, it is necessary to thin out supernumeraries which spring up in the shape of suckers, and the earlier they are cut out with a sharp narrow hoe, the better. If left to grow for a time, they are like weeds, and injure the growth of the selected and retained bushes. While the bearing canes are left for this year's crop, the new ones for next year should have as good a chance as practicable. Four or five of the best are selected, and all the rest cut away; and as soon as the old canes are done bearing, they too should be removed, giving the new canes full and entire possession for perfecting and ripening their growth. The following season, when they are to bear, it is necessary to tie them loosely to a stake, the tops being cut off at the same time to a height of about four feet.
•Cultivators differ to some extent as to the propriety of pinching back the growing canes so as to render them stiff and broad, and to obviate staking allow them free growth the first year, and cut back the following spring, and then stake. But there is no question that pinching back is beneficial, and should be adopted even when the cultivator prefers to secure his canes firmly to stakes, inasmuch as stout, well ripened wood is better than long, slender and unripened; and neat, well shaped plants are to be preferred to stragglers. - Country Gentleman.