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Raspberry canes

I've just taken over a overgrown allotment and there is a line of raspberry canes at the top of the plot. I would quite like to keep them but what should I be doing with them now? I assume they haven't been pruned at the right time. 

There's also what I've been told is a gooseberry bush. Again what would be best to do with it? 

Again advice would be great. Thanks! 


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Posts: 11,391
    edited March 2020
    First remove any completely dead canes.  Because you can't telll whether the raspberries are a summer or an autumn fruit variety, you have 2 choices:
    1. Cut them all down to the ground now.  If they are an autumn-fruiting variety, you'll still get a crop later in the year as this type is pruned to the ground every Feb. or thereabouts.  If they are a summer-fruiting variety, you'll get no crop this year.
    2. Leave them, enjoy any crop they produce and then cut those canes which bore fruit back to the ground after picking the berries.  Leave the new, unfruited canes.  If the unfruited canes go on to produce a crop in autumn, you know you have an autumn variety.  If they don't, you have a summer-fruiting variety and can just continue to remove canes immediately after they have finished fruiting, leaving new ones which will produce next year.
    For the gooseberry, I would just remove any obviously dead parts at this time, and cut out any branches which are close to the ground (when loaded with berries, they will actually be on the ground and the berries will rot.)  I would also remove weeds and cultivate the soil underneath to a shallow depth which will expose any gooseberry sawfly larvae which may be present (common on allotments) and mulch with some compost or well-rotted manure.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks for your help!
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