To be clear, this isn’t a question of effort. It would only take half an hour to remove the canes, and i enjoy pruning.
But i also grow epimedium, a small ornamental. And some of them are semi-evergreen, and have ugly dead leaves that they didn’t drop in the spring. And that makes them look less attractive. Here’s what they look like unpruned:
So last year, I carefully pruned all the dead leaves away, shortly before the plants sprouted new growth in the spring. And my reward was that critters (probably rabbits) ate every tender new shoot. They eventually sent up a second flush of leaves, and survived, but i lost every flower.
This year, i carefully removed only the leaves, leaving prickly dry stems behind. And this year, they looked great. The critters left them alone but the dead stems didn’t block my view of the new growth.
And i wondered if the same might be true of my raspberries. I think optimal management of plants varies depending on what sorts of challenges the plants face. Just as you wouldn’t add lime to soil that’s already high pH, I’m not certain you should always prune dead growth when you have high critter pressure.
I’m also replacing my not-very-thorny raspberries with the thorniest, sturdiest high-quality cultivar i could find, in the hopes of discouraging the squirrels from climbing on them and breaking all the canes.