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Brian Minter: Expert pruning tips for home gardeners

Brian Minter: Expert pruning tips for home gardeners

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All small fruits need to be pruned back and cleaned up now. There are essentially three types: shrub forms, cane types and vining varieties. Everbearing raspberries, which produce fruit on new growth, can be pruned almost to the ground and still produce fruit in late summer. Main stem varieties should be trained over wires to produce their crops in late June through August.

Vining berries, like thornless blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries and tayberries, should be trained along fences or wire frames. I like to keep them trimmed quite severely each year, but to optimize production, I leave some old green growth stems, as well as new stems from last year.

Shrub forms of small fruits, like currants, gooseberries and jostaberries, need to have old wood thinned out to allow the development of new fruiting wood. At the same time, they should be pruned back to maintain a comfortable height.