The Fruit Garden

Care & Cultivation Of Currants, Gooseberries, Jostaberries etc

Care & Cultivation Of Currants, Gooseberries, Jostaberries etc


All varieties can be planted in rows 1.5-1.8m (5-6ft) apart, with plants 1.5m (5ft) apart in the rows. After planting, cut all shoots of blackcurrants back to about 5cm (2in) or two buds above ground level.

Each year in March, at the same time as you mulch, top-dress the plants with some balanced compound fertiliser and a high potash fertiliser to encourage flowering and fruiting. Blackcurrants also benefit from a high nitrogen feed at this time.

In dry weather, especially on light soils, give bushes a generous watering about every two weeks.


Blackcurrants and Casseille fruit best on one-year-old wood and the aim of pruning is to ensure that the oldest wood is continuously replaced with vigorous new growths.

At the end of the first growing season the only pruning needed is to cut out to the base any very thin or weak shoots less than 30cm (12in) long that may have been produced. In later years, pruning consists or removing any straggly and broken branches and between one quarter and one third of the oldest growth, depending in how much new wood there is. New wood is easily distinguished by its lighter colour and pruning can either be carried out after fruiting or in the autumn.

Gooseberries, Pinkcurrant, Redcurrants and Whitecurrants fruit mostly on old wood and pruning aims to control the shape of the bush, keep the centre open and increase the number of fruiting branches. After planting and each winter thereafter, cut back all main shoots by about half and lateral shoots to about 2 or 3 buds. At the same time remove any broken, very weak or crossing shoots, any suckers that might have developed from the 'leg' and any branches crowding the centre. Make each cut to an outward-facing bud, unless you are pruning a gooseberry that has a rather drooping habit, in which case cut to an upward pointing bud.

The formation of fruit buds will be encouraged if you also summer prune lateral shoots to 5 leaves at the end of June.

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