Identification: Identifying raspberry type

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by lunarwapiti, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. lunarwapiti

    lunarwapiti New Member

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    Location:
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    Location: Montreal , Canada (Zone 5b)
    So from what I understand there are 2 main varieties of raspberries: fall-fruiting or summer-fruiting. We have this bush at home that my ex bought about 5 years ago, and he does not remember what variety they are. The way he pruned it was to cut ALL the canes in October at the same height (about 2 feets from the ground) and also cut the canes that get too long during the summer, not bothering if they are primocanes or floricanes. I took care of it for the first time this summer, so I read a bit online and apparently this is not a proper way tu prune any kind of rapberries. Fall-bearing bushes should have both cane types cut at ground level in winter and summer-bearing ones have 5 different ways of being pruned, all described in this fantastic document from the Cornell Univeristy :http://www.fruit.cornell.edu/berry/production/pdfs/rasppruning.pdf


    Even with such great documentation explaining all the differences, I have a hard time establishing if my plant is of the summer of fall variety. They did fruit in June-July, but given the way they were pruned, they could still be fall-bearing (if not cut to the ground, fall-bearing bushes will produce a small harvest in early summer on floricanes). The plant definitely has different types of canes as you can see in the attached album, but I'm not sure which are primocanes and which are floricanes. Some of them are very very long (so much that they are bending, see picture #1) and some are much shorter. The fruit that has grown in June-July was growing on the shorter ones, if I remember correctly (but didn't really paid attention). In August, the smaller ones started dying and there was flowers at the top of the very long ones, although we are now at the end of September, and even thought some still have flower, they haven't given any actual fruit yet (picture #2) and two of the long canes are dying. The others have healthy flowers right now but no fruit at this point. This makes me think that the long canes are fruiting primocanes and that therefore the plant is of the fall-bearing type, on which the floricanes were allowed to overwinter, hence the June-July harvest. But at the same time, I'm wondering why the primocanes are so long (if they are primocanes) and why do they haven't fruited yet, if they are fall-bearing.

    Here is the album: https://imgur.com/a/mSL9F


    Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Sundrop

    Sundrop Well-Known Member

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    There is only one big secret to pruning Raspberries: after fruiting you remove all canes that produced fruit, be it a summer, or fall bearing variety. For summer bearing varieties you will do it late in the summer, for fall bearing the best time to do it is in the late winter or in very early spring before the buds start swelling.

    Since summer bearing varieties produce fruit only on the previous year canes after pruning you will be left with the current year canes. Fall bearing varieties produce fruit on the current year canes, so after pruning you will be left with, seemingly, nothing, until new canes start growing there. You will want to reduce height of the overwintered summer variety canes very early in the spring, before the buds start visibly swelling. I prune mine to about 5 ½ – 6 feet high in March.


    Your plant was not pruned correctly. You should never prune Raspberry canes to two feet above ground. When removing the canes that have fruited you cut them very closely to the ground, the same when thinning new canes.

    I agree that it is quite difficult now to decide what kind of Raspberry you have. Since they attempt to bloom and fruit now it could mean that it is a late, fall producing variety. If so, you should cut down all the canes, since all of them either produced (shorter ones), or attempted to produce (longer ones) this year.
    If it is a summer producing variety you should cut down only the previous year canes and leave this year canes not pruned until the spring, when you will just shorten them a little.
    Decision is yours.

    Two more things: first of all I don't understand why the canes on your pictures are dying, they should stay in good shape after fruiting, too. Must be some disease. Second: you should give your plant some support, so the canes do not bend to the ground like that.

    From properly cared for, good summer producing Raspberries you should be able to harvest more than 1 kg of fruit per one cane. Fall producing, from my experience, are less productive.

    I am tempted to say, if I were you I would cut down all canes late in the winter
    or very early in the spring and see what happens next year. If it is a summer producing variety you will not have fruit next year at all, but at least you will know what you have and prune your Raspberries correctly ever after.
     
  3. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    From your description I would guess that your plants are June-bearing raspberries. I don't like to use the terms primocane-fruiting and floricane-fruiting because, in my experience, all commercial raspberries produce fruit on so-called primocanes and floricanes. They are the same canes, during the first year and the second year of growth, respectively. I have both types of raspberries, and the June-bearing ones will produce flowers on the tips of the first year canes late in the season. If the season is long enough, which it usually is here in Vancouver, at least some of these flowers will produce ripe fruit before hard frost stops all growth. It's not consistent, but I've been harvesting some berries from first year Comox canes since September. I wouldn't expect ripe fruit from these canes in Montreal, but blossoms at the tips are not unlikely. That is what you show on the long first year canes in the photos. These should be pruned and supported to a height of 5 or 6 feet and will produce a summer crop next year. Of course the dead second year canes should be removed ASAP.

    Fall-bearing raspberries are different because they develop branches on the first year canes, and these branches flower and ripen fruit earlier than the June-bearing ones. However, if you prune off the fruiting branches at the end of the season, they will also produce a summer crop on the second year canes. My Caroline June-bearers are capable of producing quite a large summer crop on the second year canes, but that will result in a smaller crop from the first year canes due to competition for light and nutrients. So I normally remove the first year canes in November or December.​
     
  4. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    I have a small patch of raspberries which are now producing about half a pound per day for around 30 days until stopped by a deep frost. I found that the Fall producers are more prolific and better quality.

    I now cut the canes down to the ground late Winter or Spring before they start growing. This simplifies matters and one need care not what type they are. Lae or Early.

    Here is the same patch still growing.
    http://www.durgan.org/URL/?QGYEV 23 September 2012 Raspberry. Raspberries picked on 26,31 August. 2,13,15, 20, 23 September.
    13%20september%202012%20various%20062_std.jpg
     
  5. lunarwapiti

    lunarwapiti New Member

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    These are all very interesting replies. I didn't expect that summer-bearing varieties could fruit at the end of fall, as @vitog pointed out. Because of this I thought they were fall-bearing, but now it seems much more likely that they are summer-bearing. There are still blossoms at the tip but given the temperatures we've had I don't think I will get a harvest from that either. So if I understand correctly, I should cut the dead canes at ground level, cut the healthy primocanes so they have a 5 feet length, and then put some kind of support right now before winter. Is that correct?
     
  6. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    The raspberry bed can be cleaned up any time after growth stops in the fall and before it restarts in the spring; but now would be a good time in Montreal, since freezing weather could arrive at any time. I prune my raspberries almost constantly, a little bit at a time, removing any undesirable canes or parts of canes. Typical guides state that you should space clusters 6 ft apart and limit them to 6 canes each. I space my clusters 1 metre apart with 5 canes in each cluster; however, I alternate June-bearing with fall-bearing raspberries so that adjacent clusters don't interfere with each other as much as if they were all the same type.
     
  7. lunarwapiti

    lunarwapiti New Member

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    I cut them yesterday, this is the result:

    20161023_171752.jpg 20161023_171807.jpg

    I have a few questions remaining if anyone can answer them:

    1) As you can see on the second picture, they are not cut exactly at ground level because they sometimes form clusters like this one and I didn't want to damage the primocanes. Is this ok or should I try cutting more?
    2) if you look in the first picture, you can see that there are multiple clusters. Are they offsprings of the original; plant or is it the same plant? Should I keep them?
    3) Shouldn't I trim the primocanes lower so that they branch off? Right now they're just long single stalks, shouldn't it look more like a shrub/bush?

    Thanks!
     
  8. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Here is my opinion regarding your questions:
    1) The cutting height of the old canes is not critical; you just need to get them out of the way of the new canes.
    2) The multiple clusters look like the offspring of offspring of the original plants, but they are genetically identical to the original plants. Raspberries reproduce freely through runners that can be quite long. Canes that develop from the runners can be easily transplanted to new locations to increase the size of the patch or row. If you don't want to increase the area occupied by raspberries, some of the new canes should be pruned off to avoid overcrowding. The first thing to do is to remove any weak (short) runners and then look at what is left. There is lots of advice on the Web about spacing of the canes, but I find the recommended spacing to be too crowded. That's probably because red raspberries grow so well in the Lower Mainland compared to most other areas. I used to leave clusters of 6 canes spaced .5 m apart, but have reduced the number of canes to 5. They are all grown along a fence row and are very productive when they receive adequate watering.
    3) The first year canes can be trimmed to any convenient height below the flowering parts of the canes. A height of 5 to 6 ft works for me. During the second year, the first year canes will produce plenty of fruiting branches and will become heavy with berries; so they need to be supported. When grown against a fence, an easy way to support them is to use pieces of wire or strong string surrounding each cluster of canes in a U-shape and attached to the fence at both ends. I use 2 or 3 wires for each .5 m wide cluster.
     

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