How can I tell dead canes from live shoots when pruning raspberries in late winter?
Dead raspberry canes will be white to gray in color. When dead canes are pruned, the tissue inside the stem will be tan to brown and dry. Live canes will be brown to purple in color. The tissue inside the stem will be white to greenish white and moist.
Ideally, the fruiting canes of red, black, and purple raspberries should be pruned off at ground level immediately after the last harvest in summer. The old fruiting canes should be removed from the garden and destroyed. Prompt removal of the old fruiting canes helps to control diseases and also provides additional space for the current season’s growth.