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Berry bushes must be pruned regularly so that juicy fruits grow and a lush harvest sweetens the autumn. The right time and the appropriate procedure play an extremely important role.

In a nutshell

  • Pruning is crucial for bountiful harvest
  • Start pruning at least once a year
  • Always wait until the harvest or even the winter
  • The method depends on the variety of berry bushes
  • Only use sharp and disinfected utensils

berry bushes

The multifaceted berry bushes are very popular plants in the home gardens, the fruits of which are delicious and healthy. It can be consumed both raw and in prepared desserts. The care of the shrubs is relatively easy. However, it is extremely important to prune the plants regularly. Otherwise they grow into an impenetrable undergrowth, which is difficult to tame with regard to the prickly varieties. In the course of time, the flowering phase becomes less and less and the fruits become more and more sparse. To prevent this, the berry bushes should be pruned back. In this way, the health and vitality of the plants can be maintained for much longer. Afterwards, the sun can reach the ripening berries better in the following growing season. When cutting, it is necessary to distinguish between old and young shoots.

  • Currants and gooseberries are widespread
  • Followed by blackberries, raspberries and blueberries
  • Pruning promotes yield and quality of the harvest
  • Without pruning, the bushes will age
  • The older the wood, the darker the color of the bark
  • When buying, give preference to fungus-resistant and robust varieties

Tip: If you are not sure about the optical distinction between the shoots and their age, equip the tendrils with different colored pendants.


For most berry bushes, the best time to cut is when all the berries have fully ripened and been harvested. However, there are varieties that can even be pruned twice. If you start pruning in winter, you must make sure that you choose a day with frost-free and overcast weather conditions. Otherwise, after cutting at sub-zero temperatures, there is a risk that the trimmed shoots will freeze and die.

  • Wait until the harvest is complete
  • Then thin out in late summer or early fall
  • Carry out winter pruning from February to March
  • Proceed before the start of budding
  • Schedule pruning during mild weather conditions

Method & Cutting

When thinning out and pruning the berry bushes, there are some differences that need to be considered depending on the variety. In general, bushes that are thinned out regularly bear more fruit and are easier to harvest. With regard to the method carried out, there are some general principles that apply to all plants. However, pruning errors quickly occur, from which the plants suffer and can even react by not harvesting. A prudent and correct approach is therefore necessary.

  • Thinning increases the incidence of light for the shrubs
  • As a result, berries can ripen better
  • This sustainably intensifies the taste of the fruit
  • Eliminate rods that are too close together
  • Pruning promotes the growth of the whole plant
  • Remove shoots that grow too much inwards
  • Prune excess and weaker tendrils

Notice: The fewer fruit canes that remain after cutting, the better the fruit quality and the larger the berries grow.


Bramble bushes develop their sweet fruits on the annual side branches, which grow from the biennial and up to 2 meter long rods. Once a vine has borne the delicious blackberries, it won't do it again. Therefore, pruning is important to make enough room for new canes that will flower and bear fruit the following year. The pruning should only be done in early spring, as a thicket of older tendrils provides warm protection for the younger branches during the cold season. In this way, the shrubs are also protected against the winter sun and do not sprout too early.

  • Cut off the canes harvested from the previous year
  • Start cutting back at ground level
  • Cut back side shoots as well
  • About 2 to 3 eyes remain
  • Make an incision 0.5 to 1 centimeter above the eye
  • Leave young and juicy green tendrils
  • Concentrate on about 3 to 5 of the strongest new shoots
  • Tie the rest of the annual branches loosely to the trellis

Notice: The cut must not be made into the bud, nor should any long stubs remain.


With raspberries, there is basically a distinction between summer-bearing and autumn-bearing varieties. With the summer-bearing varieties, the young shoots are left on the bush for the coming harvest, the rest are removed. This gives the remaining tendrils enough space to develop new flowering shoots and other side branches. In contrast, autumn-bearing raspberries sprout completely new from the ground, so that the next harvest is also formed on these new shoots.

  • Apply summer pruning to worn rods
  • Also remove the weaker branches
  • Leave about 5 to 7 strong tendrils per meter
  • Cut off the entire bush when pruning in the fall
  • Perform radical pruning in November
  • When cutting back, always work close to the ground

Currants & Gooseberries

The pruning of currants is similar to that of gooseberries. These shrubs require a structure that lasts for many years. For this reason, an educational pruning must be carried out every year, removing branches that are 4 to 5 years old. In this context, the older knots can be recognized by the darker wood color and thickness.

  • Leave about 3 to 4 strong new shoots
  • Remove other ground shoots at the base
  • Thin out excess and weak new shoots
  • Shorten rods that are too long and overhanging
  • Also remove inward growing tendrils
  • With currants, get 5 to 8 leading shoots
  • Gooseberry bush ideally has 8 to 12 shoots
  • Leftover branches are up to 4 years old


If you have little space in the garden, blueberries are the right shrubs for you. In addition, the small trees also bear their delicious fruits in the event that a comprehensive pruning does not take place every year. Therefore, the low-growing plants are very easy to care for and frugal. However, after a few years, the quality of the fruit and the yield of the harvest deteriorate. Then the time has come to expand the cut care.

  • Perform pruning in spring to thin out
  • Remove the oldest scaffold drive
  • Also remove crossing and dead shoots
  • Just like rods that are too close together
  • Rejuvenation pruning is only required every 4 to 5 years
  • Cut off all old shoots just above the ground
  • Leave young and green canes from the previous year


When pruning, the utensils are extremely important in order not to injure the trees unnecessarily. With the right cutting tool, you can make precise cuts where you need them without crushing the branches. It is therefore worth investing in high-quality models. There should also be a container for the clippings right next to the shrub. This minimizes contact with the beastly branches.

  • Only use sharp and clean tools
  • Thoroughly disinfect before use
  • Sharpen cutting tools regularly
  • Model depends on the size and thickness of the branches
  • Anvil and bypass shears are well suited
  • Available with both short and long handles

Tip: Use well-fitting work gloves when pruning to protect your hands and forearms from the thorns of the berry bushes.

frequently asked Questions

What are the benefits of regular pruning?

If you prune your berry bushes every year, you can not only look forward to a higher fruit yield. In addition, the shrubs grow much healthier because fungal diseases can be avoided.

How can a particularly high-yield raspberry harvest be made possible?

When the summer raspberries are growing on the trellis, it makes sense to shorten the tips of the young canes to the height of the trellis in March. This procedure ensures even larger and juicier berries.

How can the growth of trees be improved?

Flowering and fruiting branches need plenty of light and air. Therefore, the tendrils should always be arranged loosely around the leader. Unnecessary and cross-growing side shoots should be removed accordingly.

What happens if berry bushes are never pruned?

If the bushes are never cut back, an extremely dense undergrowth will form after just a few years. Due to the spines on certain varieties, the branches get caught and are difficult to separate. In addition, the trees put all their energy into the development of the shoots and only bear a few berries.

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