Proper pruning of black currants in spring is the key to a good harvest
In the spring, all garden work is aimed at preparing the plant for summer fruiting. The size and taste of berries, their quantity, as well as the health of the whole bush, depends on how well you prune the currants. Plants need to be trimmed when there are no leaves on them and all branches are clearly visible.
Benefits of Spring Trimming
Many gardeners prune black currants in the fall, but it remains to be seen how the bush will endure frost. If the bush is too weak, then he will direct all his strength to restore green mass, and not to harvest. In addition, there are a few more arguments in favor of spring pruning:
- Cutting currants in the spring, you can simultaneously rejuvenate the bushes and remove damaged shoots.
- A sleeping plant will undergo this operation painlessly.
- In the early spring, insects wintering on the shoots and inside them (aphids, ticks, and glass) are still motionless. By removing parts of the bush populated by pests, you will reduce their population.
The most beautiful and delicious berries grow on strong and well-lit shoots
Make sure to trim before the sap flow, when the buds have not yet opened.
Video: on the timing of cropping and productivity of shoots of different ages
Currant bush structure
It is very easy to determine the age of the currant branch by the color of the bark (the older the shoot, the darker the bark):
- Zero age - young, green, not yet lignified shoots growing from the center of the bush in the summer.
- One-year-olds are the lightest (almost white, light yellow or olive), without lateral branches.
- Two-year-olds are branches with a bright brown bark and lateral shoots.
- Three-year-olds are thick and dark shoots, highly branched.
- Four-year-olds and older have a cracked ash-black bark, often covered with moss or lichen.
Each currant bush consists of branches of different ages: the lightest are annuals, and the darkest are three years old and older.
In turn, each branch in the second and subsequent years is overgrown with annual growths (they differ in color from the main one). By the magnitude of the growth, one can judge the productivity of the branch: the longer they are, the more berries will be. In healthy and productive currants, annual growths can reach a length of 80 cm. If they are short, then the bush grows in the shade or it lacks nutrition.
Currant shoots increase their productivity from the first to the fourth year of life, and then their productivity decreases.
Currant bush should consist of 10-15 shoots of different ages:
- 4-6 annuals;
- 4-6 two year olds;
- 2-3 three year olds.
Of the zero shoots growing in the summer, you must also leave 4-6 of the strongest.
A properly formed bush: sparse, there are branches of all ages, the old ones are cut to a vertical shoot, they have good growth
Spring currant pruning
Currants tend to thicken the bush, every year it builds up a lot of extra shoots of substitution. In conditions of poor ventilation and lighting on plants, diseases begin to develop, pests settle. To avoid this, the bush needs to be formed and thinned out, as well as sanitary measures.
For cutting currants, you can use a delimber. Its long handles will easily reach any part of the bush.
For trimming thick branches and removing hemp, it is convenient to use a delimber
Shrub formation and thinning
The main purpose of cutting currants is to obtain the maximum yield of berries. To achieve this, when forming, the biological characteristics of the plant should be taken into account:
- Fruit branches of currant are short-lived (berries on them are formed within 2-3 years). The main crop is concentrated mainly on two- and three-year-old shoots.
- With age, fruiting moves to the ends of branches, and the ability to form new young shoots is gradually lost.
- The maximum number of berries is tied on vertical, well-lit and warmed shoots. Fruits on the lower branches, if they are tied, will ripen later than others due to shade and dampness, will be acidic, and may rot.
The main crop of currants is formed on vertical shoots
Having remembered these features, you can begin to form a currant bush:
- First, cut out all horizontal branches leaning to the ground.
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- From the remaining vertically standing branches, cut out all the oldest, with small annual growths. Old shoots must be removed completely, leaving only hemp at ground level.
Old branches are different from others - they are thicker, the bark on them is dark, covered with cracks
- In the next step, thin out the young shoots of substitution that grew from the root last summer. Leave only the strongest and highest, and thin and short remove.
Gardener removes excess, weak substitution shoots that thicken the center of the bush
- After that, cut off all the branches growing deep into the bush, rubbing and intersecting with others.
This currant bush has many strong shoots, but needs thinning.
As a result of forming pruning, you will get a bush of powerful shoots with large annual growths. The branches should be evenly spaced, without shading or hitting each other.
Currant bush before and after pruning: short root shoots, old, and also branches located close to the ground were removed
The older the bush, the more branches in it, and the more difficult the pruning:
- In the first year after planting, it is enough to only shorten the existing branches by half to activate their branching and growth of substitution shoots.
- For all subsequent years, the bush must be formed by cutting out all thickening, crooked, weak, old and diseased branches.
Diagram of pruning currants depending on the age of the bush
In one place, the currant bush can grow and bear fruit well up to 15 years.
Video: how to prune currants
The purpose of sanitary pruning is to cut and burn shoots damaged by frost, pests and diseases. Such damage is most often found on the tops of branches.
You will have to delete:
- The tips of the shoots, frozen and dried up by diseases, can be recognized by the wrinkled dark bark. The shoots in this place break with a crunch. You need to cut them to live green wood.
- Tops damaged by aphids. In the summer, pests settle on gentle growths with young leaves, suck out juices, and as a result, the shoot grows crookedly. Cut and burn these curved sections - on them, at the bases of the kidneys, aphid eggs winter.
- Shoots populated by glass. If you cut off the top and saw a black core, it means that a caterpillar of a glass-box settled in a branch. Cut such an escape to a healthy place (often it is hit to the ground).
Shoots affected by glass, need to be cut to healthy wood
- Branches that live on ticks. They are very different from healthy ones, their kidneys are much larger, swollen, have a round shape. If there are a lot of infected kidneys, but almost no good ones, you need to cut and burn the entire shoot or bush. Actions must be selected depending on the degree of infection.
The branch is curved as a result of the activity of aphids and powdery mildew, and at the very top is a spherical kidney populated by a kidney mite
If you remove the entire shoot, then cut into a stump as close to the ground as possible, and if only part of the shoot, cut above the kidney outward.
Rejuvenation of currant bushes
To rejuvenate the currant bushes, they most often make the transfer of the old branch to a vertically directed young shoot. If all the branches on the bush are old, clumsy, without growth and there is nothing left, then cut off all the shoots at ground level. In summer, young branches will begin to grow, the first berries will appear in a year, and in three years you will be able to form a new bush.
For weak, small-growing currant bushes, cut off all branches at ground level to stimulate the growth of new shoots
If the shoots are highly branched and curved, wrap around other branches, then you need to cut them into several parts. Pulling such an escape entirely, you can hook and break a lot of good twigs.
Video: spring pruning of old black currants
Spring pruning is an important agricultural technique with which you can get rid of diseases and pests, as well as form a strong and productive bush. The pruning scheme is not difficult even for beginner gardeners. The best time for work is the period before the buds open.