Gooseberry pruning: basic rules and tips

Gooseberries belong to those popular shrubs that can be found on almost any garden site. This unpretentious culture does not require complicated care, it is only enough to correctly form a bush and timely prune it.

Why and how to cut gooseberries

Pruning is an affordable and effective way of caring for many trees and shrubs, with which you can solve a large number of problems - from low yields to crown formation for decorative purposes. For gooseberries, given the features of its structure, regular pruning is a prerequisite for the proper development and maintenance of life. Do not neglect this event if you want to grow a healthy viable plant and get a quality crop.

With proper care from one gooseberry bush, you can get up to 20 kg of berries

Reasons to trim

The reasons gardeners resort to pruning gooseberries can be as follows:

  • Planting rejuvenation. Gooseberry bush, reached the age of 8 years, is considered old. To extend its life and maintain fruiting, gardeners often resort to anti-aging pruning. The fact is that the root system of the bush and its aboveground parts are in proportionate relationship. Removing a part of the shoots or shortening them stimulates a strong influx of energy from the roots to the branches, which, in turn, form new stems with a dense deciduous cover and capable of abundant flowering.
  • Productivity increase. Gooseberries are characterized by the ability to form a large number of new shoots in a relatively short time. If they are not thinned out, then the crown will become too thick, which will negatively affect pollination and fruit ovary. Ridding gooseberries of extra branches and creating a well-ventilated crown will make pollination more accessible and effective.
  • Preventative measures. Gooseberries, like other garden crops, are susceptible to various diseases, the cause of many of which is excessive thickening of the bush (especially fungal diseases). Pruning will provide all shoots with good ventilation, sufficient sunlight and will help to avoid or reduce the contact of healthy branches with diseased.
  • Crown formation. Pruning for this purpose is carried out in several stages and is a necessary measure to ensure favorable development of the bush.

Core toolkit

To trim the gooseberries, you will need a pruner and a delimber. It is better to carry out work in cotton work gloves to protect against spikes or accidentally not cut yourself on the tool.

  • Secateurs. With it, you can easily remove the small branches located on the surface, but he can not cope with thick branches.

    A pruner is convenient to cut small branches that are located on the edge of the bush

  • Delimbers. Designed for cutting powerful branches (up to 5 cm in diameter) located in the depth of the bush, which cannot be cut with pruners.

    The delimbers are similar to pruners, but have longer handles, which allows you to work with heavy loads and in hard to reach places

Try to use tools that meet the following requirements:

  1. Quality and durability. The tool should not break during the application of large forces (for example, when trimming thick branches).
  2. High-quality sharpening. The tool blade should be sharp and free from nicks and other imperfections.
  3. Light weight. Working with such a tool is much more convenient than with a heavy one. This will allow you to perform a large amount of work and save energy.
  4. Convenient grip. In addition to a suitable shape, the handle should also have special rubberized inserts, thanks to which the hands will not slip.

If possible, try to purchase a tool of red or orange color - it will be clearly visible on the ground and will not be lost in green thickets.

Gooseberry Trimming Secrets

In order for your gooseberry to develop in the best possible way, it is first necessary to form a shrub correctly (acquaintance with its structure will help to do this), and then regularly carry out actions aimed at maintaining this form.

Bush structure

Gooseberries form a perennial bush reaching a height of 1.5 m. A crown of approximately the same diameter is formed from branches of different ages and basal shoots. The latter grow from those buds of the stem, which are located at the base of the bush. The root neck is the part of the trunk immersed in the soil. As a rule, it has a length of about 30 cm and a diameter of about 5 cm.

By autumn, root green shoots will be covered with bark and become full branches

In the first year of life, root shoots are characterized by intensive growth; by the middle of summer, they change the green color to reddish or brown. By autumn, the young stems will become lignified, and in the second year of life processes will appear on them. This is how branches form the basis of the bush. Every year an increase is formed on them, reaching a length of 8 to 30 cm. Over the summer, it will acquire a bark, lignify and become a full-fledged second-order branch. New shoots will also appear on it, which later turn into third-order stems, etc.

As a rule, branches of the first, second, and third order are distinguished by the greatest fruiting, since they are the most developed and strong. Thanks to regular pruning, it is possible to ensure constant renewal of such shoots, which means to maintain their vitality and productivity.

When trimming gooseberries, it is necessary to try to completely remove low-yielding branches of the 4th and 5th order in order to stimulate the development of productive branches of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd order

Keep in mind that due to the special structure of the root system, gooseberries form a horizontal (basal) shoot, which also needs to be regularly removed.

Bush formation

The volume of crown formation work depends on the age of the bushes.

First year

You need to start pruning from the moment the gooseberry seedling is planted in the ground. At the same time, no damage should be done to the fruit kidney, so do the cuts at an angle of 50 ° 5 mm above it.

  1. Inspect the seedling and cut off all weak and damaged stems.
  2. Tame the remaining shoots to the third or fourth kidney (you need to count from the soil level).

Do not be afraid to carry out the pruning procedure on a young seedling: one of the features of gooseberries is the rapid growth of new shoots. Over the summer, your shrub will not only grow stronger and form the root system, but also re-acquire a large number of stems.

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Second year

By the beginning of autumn, your shrub should have about 3 two-year-old branches and the same number of annuals. To do this, trim as follows:

  1. Choose no more than the seven most viable and conveniently located shoots growing from the ground (root necks), and try to cut them so that they reach a height of about 30 cm.
  2. Cut the remaining branches so that their length does not exceed 20 cm.
  3. Remove the horizontal shoots and shoots, at the time of trimming, not reaching 20 cm in length, so that they do not pull on themselves the nutrients necessary for the development of stronger branches.

Third year

In the third year after planting, gooseberries should have approximately 12-18 branches of different ages, which form the basis of the bush. To achieve this, carry out the following activities:

  1. Again, completely remove all horizontal shoots, as well as non-viable weak shoots.
  2. Cut the remaining branches by 12-15 cm, counting from the top, especially if poor growth and slow development of the plant is observed.

In the first year after planting, the branches are cut by about 1/2, in the second - by 1/3, in the third - the tops are shortened and the horizontal shoots are cut

Fourth and subsequent years

In the fourth year after planting, the gooseberry bush becomes an adult and begins to bring the maximum amount of yield, so the formation procedure during this period should not be neglected. Trimming measures should include timely removal of twisted and non-viable branches. It is also necessary to cut young shoots, including those sprouted from the root neck, in order to prevent the growth of horizontal shoots, because the branches of gooseberries should be raised above the ground.

The bush should consist of 15-20 stems of different ages. Branches older than 5 years should be removed, and 3-5 of the strongest shoots should be left from the root shoot.

An adult gooseberry bush should have 15–20 branches no older than 5 years

Do not forget to feed the plants after pruning. To do this, dig a trench about 30 cm deep and fertilize it, and then bury it.

  1. In the spring, feed gooseberries with nitrogen fertilizers (dosage of 50–70 g per bush).
  2. In autumn, fertilize the near-chest zone (it covers a distance of about half a meter around the circumference of the shrub) with peat crust or compost.

Anti-aging pruning

When the gooseberry reaches the age of 7-8 years, you will need to conduct a rejuvenating pruning of the bush. In this case, you can remove a maximum of 1/3 branches.

  1. Cut old, twisted, weak, diseased shoots, leaving only the strongest and most developed root stems.
  2. On the remaining branches, check the top. If you find a defective one (for example, dried or broken), cut it off in the area of ​​the first strong lateral process.

Timely removal of dried or blackened tops has a beneficial effect on the healthy part of the branch

If your gooseberry is very old (for example, it is 10 years old or more), then anti-aging pruning will be more radical. You will have to cut all the branches from the base, leaving only the 5 most powerful and developed. After such pruning, with competent and timely care, the shrub will quickly become covered with new shoots and gain strength. It is advisable to carry out rejuvenation in the spring, so that over the summer the shrub can grow stronger and form fresh shoots.

The rejuvenation procedure for very old shrubs older than 20 years, as a rule, is not carried out.

Trimming a running bush

Sometimes gardeners leave gooseberry care, for example, due to its great age, or simply do not pay attention to the bush. This leads to thickening of the berry, and therefore to a decrease in its productivity. In addition, such a plant is susceptible to various diseases and can easily infect other crops. To prevent this situation, pruning will help you.

Keep in mind that the full restoration of the neglected shrub will take from two to four years.

  1. Thin the shrub first. To do this, cut to the base all the old blackened branches, as well as broken, curved shoots and horizontal shoots.
  2. Of the vertical shoots, leave the 5 most viable. From the harvested branches, cut the dried tops to the first strong lateral branch.
  3. In the future, regularly trim your gooseberries according to general rules to maintain the shape of the crown and prevent re-thickening of the bush.

Seasonal bush pruning

Pruning is carried out twice a year - in the spring and autumn. In the summer, it is impossible to carry out the procedure, because the gooseberry quickly forms a large number of new branches, so the event will be useless.


Spring trimming of gooseberries is carried out before the buds open on the bush. Gooseberries wake up very early - as a rule, in the second half of March, buds begin to swell on it, and in late March - early April, the first leaves appear. If you want to trim it in the spring, it is important to have time to do this before the sap flow begins in the trunk - if possible in the first decade of March. It is not recommended to injure shoots with blossoming leaves - this will significantly weaken the plant, which means reduce its yield.

  1. Remove old branches (as a rule, they are almost black) and horizontal shoots.
  2. Thin shrubs: prune non-viable and defective (twisted, broken) stems. Well clean the center of the bush from young weak shoots and lean crop branches.
  3. Coat large sections. Use a garden var for this purpose.

Video: spring trimming gooseberries


If you don’t have the opportunity to cut gooseberries in the spring, then you can do it in the fall. Shortening pruning in early autumn is not recommended: this can affect the growth of new shoots that do not have time to lignify before the onset of cold weather and die. Therefore, autumn pruning is carried out in the period starting after harvesting and falling of leaves and continuing until the onset of cold weather.

  1. Inspect the bush and completely remove all blackened shoots.
  2. Thin the shrubbery: eliminate unviable and defective branches (curved, diseased, broken), as well as uncomfortably located (for example, bulging strongly from a common bush or hanging low above the ground). Try to clean the middle of the bush as much as possible in order to get rid of the newly formed shoots and low-yielding vigorous branches.
  3. Be sure to use the garden var to gloss over places of large sections.

Remember that the maximum number of cut branches should not exceed 1/3 of their total number.

Video: Autumn pruning of gooseberries

Trimming gooseberries does not carry any difficulties and on the shoulder, even a novice gardener. The main thing is to carefully and timely implement all the recommendations for this event, and the bush will respond to this with health and a plentiful harvest.


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