Must I prune away my primocanes every year for my raspberries?

So I’m growing raspberries…in central Texas. The climate is hot and dry. The plants have afternoon shade.

I would like to have early summer berries instead of late summer or fall berries. Early summer berries would fruit before the weather gets too hot. If the plants do well enough (I only planted them last year and they got hit by the cottontails), early summer would also be better for my market garden than late summer.

Everything that I have seen says I’m supposed to fruit off only the primocanes, then prune the canes away at the start of the next year. Has anyone ever tried fruiting second year growth only on primocane raspberries? I don’t mind chopping flowers off in the fall.

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I live in the panhandle and have resorted to growing only primocane. Here, constant freeze-thaw all winter followed by dry spring winds kill the canes by end of spring. If the canes will survive the winter where you are leave them and compare results. I suspect you will have success

I am curious who is telling you to go exclusively primocane since Texas extension recommends Dorman as the only variety to plant. Dorman is horrible in my opinion and other varieties work just fine, at least here…

Ugh, we have hard freezes and then 60 degree weather too. It’s the canes first winter. I guess the decision might be made for me. I might do a mix of primocane removal and leaving primocanes.

Extension is doing research on raspberry production with primocane varieties. I work up the road from the Viticulture and Sustainable Fruit lab, so I pass by the canes when I walk. They look great. I believe they have presenting the results at the Texas Fruit Conference, but nothing is published yet. I think it’s more of side project. They have them under shadecloth. I’m cheap, so I am trying to see if I can get away with late afternoon shade.


Those plants definitely look better than any I have grown unshaded. I think I would leave all my canes until spring and then just prune out any dead ones.

I live in a short-growing season where primocane berries may not always provide a full crop. Also, fruit flies have become a serious late-season problem. Also, lately I have tons of other late-season fruits – figs, apples, pears, persimmons.

So I’ve made it a habit of growing most of my “primocane” varieties for their early summer crops. This includes not only red raspberries but also black raspberries and blackberries.

p.s. The varieties all set flowers for a fall crop, but only the raspberries are early enough to be productive in autumn.

There are 2 main types of red raspberry: June bearing and Fall bearing (aka everbearing). June bearers fruit only on floricanes (1 year old canes). Fall bearing raspberries fruit on floricanes (summer crop) and primocanes (fall crop). If you cut down all the canes of a June bearer, you’ll never get fruit. If you cut all the canes of a Fall bearer (in winter), you’ll get late summer/fall (primocane) berries only.

So, you need to know what type of rapsberry yours are and prune accordingly.

If you were to remove the primocanes completely off an everbearing raspberry, you would likely weaken it by reducing it’s photosynthesis and food reserves. Especially when you consider that the floricanes die after fruiting in summer, so then if you additionally cut the primocanes in late summer, what would the plant make reserves with to get it through winter and off to a strong start in spring?

Plant June bearers, and go for early ripening ones.


My Caroline raspberry is a primocane type, and I’ve been pruning it for both a summer and fall crop for many years now.

I prune off about 2/3 of the primocanes over the winter, it seems to be a good balance. The fall crop is noticeably later, smaller, and smaller fruits when I have a larger summer crop. Summer crop is done by early July, then fall crop starts early August, neatly missing the height of the SWD season here.

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This is right, but . . . From the OP, I inferred that the variety is a primocane type. Otherwise there’d be no option of a fall crop at all.

My response was directed towards Vault22dweller and his initial question on the thread.

@Blake – Yeah, I know. But I think he revealed that he has “fall bearing” varieties. For example, he says, “Has anyone ever tried fruiting second year growth only on primocane raspberries? I don’t mind chopping flowers off in the [previous, I assume] fall.”

I admit that the term “primocane” has a dual and therefore ambiguous use. It can refer to the 1st year growth, per se. It can also refer to varieties capable of bearing fruit on the 1st year growth (i.e., primocane fruiting).

Here in southern middle TN… I just got into Raspberries recently.

I started with two Everbearing varieties Heritage Red and Fall Gold.

I planted them in the early spring… they grew nicely that first year (primocanes) and started producing berries early Sept, and we got our last berries Dec 3 (first hard frost year before last).
The fall crop just sort of trickled in, not all at once, slow and steady hand fulls for 3 months… nice.

I let them overwinter, pruned off the tips (that fruited the previous fall)… and trimmed up my laterals a bit (that next spring).

End of May and thru June, we got LOTS of berries (on the floricanes).

Double cropping everbearing varieties works nicely here in TN.

After the floricanes fruited in late May, June… I took them out.
The primocanes that came up this year fruited nicely this fall.

Below Heritage Reds from June 8 this past year.


Note for those that may not know… with Everbearing Raspberries… after they fruit in the fall, you can just cut them down at ground level, remove them completely… the next spring they will send up primocanes that will fruit that fall on the top 1/3 or so of the canes.

You would not get the Spring/Early Summer crop though… and for me here in TN, that is a very abundant crop that last a little over a month. I will always double crop mine.


Everbearing (primocane producing)- Produces fruit on the top half of the cane on the first year then that part of the cane dies. You cut that portion off after fruiting. The bottom portion of the cane produces the second year. After it has fruited then you cut that cane to the ground. Thats why they call them everbearing. If you want a bigger fall crop then cut all canes to the ground and just do one crop. Then cut down those canes after they fruit.

Traditional (biennial floricane producing)- Depending on cultivar some fruit early, some fruit late. So let cane grow year one, year two it flowers and produces fruit, then after it is done cut it to the ground.


Didn’t think about that but you are right. I have Kilarney (summer), Double Gold (fall), Heritage(fall), and Fall Gold (probably fall).

They are testing Kilarny, one of the golds and I think Heritage at the research station. As well as a few other varieties.

I care more about the timing of the crop than the size of the crop.

So beautiful. I wish mine looked that good.

For those of you that like Heritage… Caroline is an improved child of Heritage. Larger berries, more productive, more intense flavor, more vigorous etc.

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Kweli is a new raspberry for hot subtropical climates. You might check it out.

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Caroline has excellent flavor. I had been treating ours like an everbearing (as it is) but just chopped it all down and am going to treat it as a late summer/fall fruiter only.

You sure can grow berries. What do you fertilize with?

But Caroline is later than HR… and the spring/early summer crop… would most likely ripen in my peak SWD.

HR finish that crop end of June here… which is ideal.

I have considered Caroline and would like to have some based on several taste reports I have heard… dang SWD.

@blake… I fertilize with compost and organic balanced fertilizer… I make a lot of compost… but also buy some black kow brand (Lowes usually Carrie’s it) composted cow manure… NPK stated as .05 .05 .05.

The raised bed I have those raspberries in was created with a huge pile of grass clippings and other organic material in the center… in July one summer… then the next spring I started those raspberries in it.

That bed is 90 ft long 4 ft wide… and is loaded with fruit trees and berry bushes/canes.

After creating that bed in July… I covered it with 12 bales of hay… then in November put another 10 bales of hay on. By the next spring when i planted it… much of that hay had composted in place… everything planted in that has grown nicely.

That shows part of that bed … think it was spring 2020 when I planted it. And July 2019 when I built it.

In 2019 I broke up a 8x90 strip of ground… 4 or 5 inch deep… then for 3 months I mowed and pushed grass clippings on top of that 8x90 plot… then I broke it again and then raked it all up into a 4 x 90 raised bed.

My good top soil runs 4 or 5 deep here… then it turns to sticky red clay filled with rocks… many more like boulders.

Anyway… that is the whole story on how those raspberries and really that whole bed has been fertilized. Lots of organic goodness in there.