I have just harvested a super crop of Red Currants. Do I now prune and if so how much?
Red currants are pruned now, yes. And again,differently, in winter.
Now, you can cut back this year's side shoots ( not the main stems, only the side shoots) to 5 leaves.
In winter (Nov. to Mar) cut back the main stems to a half of the growth they made this year. Then cut the side shoots ( the ones you trimmed to 5 leaves in July) back to 3 buds.
Every few years, thin out the stems and select fresh young ones to replace old, tired ones.
If you have gooseberries, you treat them in the same way.
Thank you waterbutts. I wasn't sure how to prune but your explanation is fab.
I struggled to get my head around pruning currants until this year. My bushes are now into their 2nd or 3rd year. Red, white and black currants, also gooseberry. Apart from taking out the middle shoots for them all, decided not to prune last year because the harvest was so poor and thought it due to not pruning properly.
This year the new shoots on red, white and gooseberries were cut back to allow the sun to get to the fruit. Really pleased with the harvest and they've had their July prune.
I'm not sure what to do with black currants, they were pruned so they would fit into the netting frame. Advise to pruning them would be helpful.
Blackcurrants are different! Ha! they would be.Just to keep you on your toes. Do nothing at all to the blackcurrants now.They fruit best on the previous year's growth and les well on older wood. This winter, you will see that the stems are two different colours, 2013's wood is lighter than that of earlier years. In 2014, the growth they made in 2013 will have fruit on it.
It's not necessary to form the bush into a particular shape. Just cut out about a third of the oldest stems (the dark wood) near to the ground. Find a bud that is near the earth and pointing outwards and cut there. New, strong shoots will arise and replace it. The idea is to encourage strong new growth that will flower the following year.
Just keep cutting out 30 per cent of the old shoots each winter and you will bring on new wood on a three year cycle.
Thanks for the advise,I'll leave them for now. The black currants are about ready to pick.
Mine have been like black grapes this year. Well, the ones the birds left for us are anyway.
I'm hoping to pick mine before the birds see them, I removed the netting to pick the red and white currants a few weeks ago, the black one's are huge.
The soils really dry at present under all my the currant bushes, was thinking of giving the area a good watering and mulching with mushroom compost, what do you advise. They got a good mulch of well rotted horse muck in October.
I give my fruit bushes the entire contents of a 4 foot by 4 foot compost heap in April, before things start to grow but after the heavy rains of March. That ends up as about 4 or more inches deep of mulch. I don't need to weed under them then all summer and it keps the soil moist, which is what they like.