Winter soft fruit pruning

BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,503

Hi all, I've just cut my Polka autumn fruiting raspberries to the ground and have pruned off the low hanging and crossing branches of the gooseberry bushes. I'm leaving the old leaves on the strawberries for now to give the crowns a bit of protection as we're likely to get more freezing weather and snow at some point.  Also added well rotted farmyard manure to the raspberry bed and around the rhubarb which is just starting to grow (I meant to do that in the autumn!)  Lots of weeding as I went, too (blummin willowherb appearing everywhere!)

Has anyone else been busy?

A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.


  • scrogginscroggin Posts: 2,081

    Hi Bob, I did my soft fruit a couple of weeks ago. Still got to do some mulching. Looking for a suitable container to force on of my Rhubarb crowns.

  • Aster2Aster2 Posts: 629

    I've been hacking away at a jungle of gooseberies on our allotment site - four hours so far and about a quarter of the work done. I'm not sure how hard I can cut them back, but they're so overgrown that I've been cutting off everything I could reach just to be able to get to the main branches. My thinking is that it's worth trying because they haven't been producing any fruit anyway, so any change can only be an improvement...

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener LeicsPosts: 6,503

    Gooseberries fruit on old wood (best crops come from 1,2 and 3 year old wood.)  Do the bushes have a 'leg' (a thick stem a few inches long from which all other branches grow)?  If so that makes things a bit easier.  Hve a look at these links:

    If you prune too much the crop will be severely reduced but it might be worth it to get them into a good shape for the future.  You won't kill them. image

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Aster2Aster2 Posts: 629

    That's really helpful, thanks, Bob! Now I'll have more of a clue as to what to do. Seems I've been pruning too hard to get fruit this year, but, as you say, it should be worth it to get them into a good shape. It's a complete forest, there are two or three huge plants close together that have spread by layering, the whole jungle is about 4 x 4 metres and about 2 metres high. (Or was, before I had a go!)

    ETA: the bushes have lots of 'legs', each 2 or 3 metres long.

    Last edited: 04 February 2017 17:53:44

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