Whether as a shrub or as a high-trunk woody plant, currants simply need maintenance pruning. It can promote growth and flowering and ensures a high yield. We explain when and how to prune black, white and red currants and what to look for in care afterwards.
Table of Contents
- Pruning black currants: When is winter pruning appropriate and when is summer pruning appropriate?
- Red and white varieties need a training pruning
Pruning black currants: When does winter pruning make sense and when does summer pruning make sense?
Black currants are pruned either in spring (the so-called winter pruning) and in summer (summer pruning). Prune the bushes on a cloudy but warm day, after the end of permafrost.
In the spring (March to mid-April at the latest), the plants are renewed by a maintenance pruning. The procedure is as follows:
- Pruning is allowed until the end of February. In this case, all branches and shoots are cut back to about 25 cm except for the main shoots.
- The main shoots are renewed every 3 to 4 years. For this purpose, cut off about 30% of the main shoots close to the ground.
- The woody plant is thinned out. Horizontally growing, diseased and weak shoots are strongly cut back.
- In the case of young plants, fruit bushes are thinned out one week after planting.
If you missed the right time in February and March, you may be able to prune the shrub until mid-April. However, pruning is prohibited by law during this period. However, you can thin out the shrub if there are no nesting birds.
Summer pruning is usually done after the end of the harvest season. Then the shoots that do not bear fruit, are very woody or very weak and will not survive the cold season.
Red and white species require educational pruning.
Unlike black currants, red and white species require nurturing pruning at the end of summer. This involves thinning out the woody plants, removing weak branches that grow inward. In this process, the main shoots are renewed every 3 – 4 years, and the remaining fruit-bearing shoots are cut off after the end of the summer season. Only if necessary, when the plants grow very weak and bear very little fruit, you can shorten all the plant shoots by a third. Rejuvenation pruning is suitable for old berry bushes. The bottom line is that about eight to ten healthy shoots should remain from this year and the previous year.
Correctly prune the high trunk varieties
Unlike the varieties that have a spreading growth and several main shoots, the high trunk varieties look like small trees. In this case, it is important to maintain a “crown” through pruning. The grooming topiary is usually tolerated by the woody plant without any problems. Furthermore, the main shoots that form the crown are renewed every 2-3 years. For this purpose, the old branches are cut off above the third pair of eyes. Overhanging or inward growing branches are removed.
Pruning currants: Rejuvenation pruning necessary only in exceptional cases.
If the right time for pruning is missed in the spring, then you can always thin out the plant in the fall. However, if the fruit bush has not been pruned for years, then it will bear less and less fruit. To improve fruiting, a rejuvenation pruning is an option. Since this is a severe pruning, it is allowed by law only until the end of February. In this process, all shoots are shortened to 30 cm. Cut them above the second eye (the eye should point outwards so that the new shoots can also grow outwards).
Care tips after pruning
Proper care is very important for the final result. After spring pruning, regular applications of fertilizer will encourage growth and new sprouting. However, after summer pruning, after the end of the harvest season, fertilizer applications are discontinued. This slows down growth and allows the shrub to better recover from pruning. This is very important, because otherwise the shrub will freeze in the fall and winter.
Transplant the berry bushes – before or after pruning?
If you want to transplant the fruit bushes, then you should first thin them out in the spring. Then give the woody shrub a week to recover and replant it the next weekend. Carefully consider in advance, however, whether this makes sense. Young plants usually recover quickly, plants over 4 years old are very sensitive to a change of location.