Raspberries can last all summer

The harvest of raspberries slows about now, each day bringing fewer and smaller berries.

No need to bemoan being bumped out of midsummer raspberry heaven, though. Fall-bearing raspberries are soon to follow.

Each cane on your typical red or yellow raspberry grows one year, bears fruit in the early summer of its second year, then dies. You do get to eat raspberries every year because new canes, which will bear the following year, are always growing at the same time as older canes are bearing fruit.

Canes of fall-bearing raspberries also live only two years - but the new canes jump the gun and squeeze in the beginnings of a crop toward the end of their first season. Once new canes reach a certain height, fruiting begins at their tips and then works its way down the cane until stopped by cold weather.

These canes finish their job the next year, bearing fruits in midsummer lower down, where they left off fruiting in fall. Fall-bearing raspberries are sometimes called everbearing raspberries, which, literally, they almost are.

Pruning is a must

Pruning keeps all raspberries healthy and productive, and the procedure for fall -bearing varieties is slightly different from that for conventional, summer bearing ones. Because stems of both die after their second season, they need to be cut to the ground either right after they finish fruiting in summer or during the winter that follows.

As far as the other stems of fall-bearing raspberries, the ones that start to bear in the latter part of their first season of growth: Sometime during their first winter, these stems should be shortened to just below where they bore fruit. Remnants of fruit stalks along the young stems clearly tell you where to cut.

There is another, even easier, way to prune fall-bearing raspberries, and that is to just lop the whole planting clear to the ground each winter. Use a scythe, pruning shears, lopper, heavy duty mower, whatever it takes; no finesse is needed.