Remove Older Stems

Remove Older Stems

Want to learn more about Pruning Remove Older Stems

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Pruning old stems is a crucial aspect of making sure some plants stay healthy and grow well long-term. By selectively removing only the oldest stems fully, you can stimulate flowering, encourage fruit-bearing, and promote overall plant vigor year after year. 

Some plants only flower well on second year growth, which means any stems older than that won’t contribute very much and perhaps only shade the base and prevent it from sending out new stems. By yearly removing the stems older than two seasons you’ll help the plant get vigorous growth each year, which also means it also has productive second year growth every year. This type of pruning is slightly different. Instead of pruning the plant back on the same branches each year as with many other plants, you selectively remove entire stems.


New Plants

When it comes to newly planted and young bushes, pruning is not an immediate concern. During the first year, your focus should be on instead providing optimal care, such as regular watering and feeding, to facilitate strong root development and healthy growth overall. Pruning is often not necessary after the initial growing season. Allow the plant to establish and get some size instead. Pruning it too early might only weaken it at that stage.

Raspberry, Rubus

Established Plants

Once your shrub has successfully settled in and has finished its second year of growing you may begin to consider pruning it if it’s ready for it. An established plant should exhibit signs of vigor, producing new stems from its base during the last growing season. If this is the case, you can proceed with pruning by removing only the oldest stems. This practice stimulates the shrub to generate fresh growth, promoting a continuous cycle of flowering and harvests.

  • Begin the pruning process by carefully inspecting your shrub for any dry or dead branches. Use sharp and clean pruning shears to remove those first. Make clean cuts near the soil line.

  • Remove stems older than two seasons. You can differentiate first year stems that lack branching and are only plain stems, to older stems that have some branching. Older stems also tend to be more woody.

  • Prune the old stems down to just above the soil line.

For plants that are struggling a little and perhaps aren't growing a lot of new stems, or has weak new growth you can skip this pruning to instead focus a little extra on the general care the coming season.

Tip! Some bushes can also be propagated using parts of the removed older stems, making them a little more useful than just disposing of and composting them.