When to prune black currants to significantly improve harvest
Blackcurrant is one of the most popular berry bushes for growing. It gives a good harvest of berries, which are extremely rich in vitamin C, without much effort from the owner. But it still needs regular pruning to stay healthy.
OBOZ.UA asked experienced gardeners about the life hacks of how to properly prune black currants and how to do it in the fall so that the plant blooms well next year and gives a good harvest.
When to prune black currants
Bushes that are well-rooted and produce new shoots need annual pruning. The best time to take care of black currants in this way is during the plant's dormant period. This means the end of fall and winter. You can safely carry out the procedure from November to February.
Pruning in winter allows you to remove old and unproductive branches and stimulate the plant to grow new and strong shoots in the season. Since blackcurrant is a deciduous shrub, winter pruning is a great time to assess the shape of the leafless branches and make precise cuts. This is how you can ensure a strong branch structure and improve the health of the entire plant. But it is important to complete the relevant work before the buds start growing in the spring.
How to properly prune black currants
It is always recommended to use sharp and clean pruning shears or loppers to prune fruit bushes. This will help to avoid infection in the incisions.
The bushes should be pruned annually after rooting so that they produce new productive shoots for the strongest fruiting. In the first years, it will be enough to remove only 30% of the length of the branches.
Before starting the procedure, assess the current condition and shape of the bush and try to remove dead, diseased, or damaged wood from the plant first. After that, cut the oldest branches by a third. They will have dark bark. They can be removed to ground level. 2-3 year-old shoots bear the best fruit, after which their productivity decreases, so currants need regular rejuvenation.
The stems with gray and brown bark color are the most productive. They can be left untouched at all. But if there are a lot of such shoots, select 6-8 of the strongest, well-positioned and vertically directed ones, and remove the rest.
The final look of the bush you are trying to achieve is a cup shape with an open center and well-spaced branches. This will ensure good air circulation inside the plant, let in light for fruit ripening, and make harvesting easier.
Weak or spindly stems, as well as smaller stems facing inward, should be removed from the bush. It is also better to remove any low-lying shoots because they will bend and the berries may end up on the ground after the harvest is ripe, which will attract ants and other insects.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA shared whether it is possible to cut strawberries for the winter.