Cut back newly planted currants & berries

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Kon, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Kon

    Kon Gardener

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    I am putting together a little soft fruit garden. I have planted from containers: one whitecurrant, 2x blackcurrants, and one blackberry.

    The advice on the packet is to prune back the blackcurrants and whitecurrants to just 1-2 buds above ground level. I am quite nervous about doing this!

    I read elsewhere that if you plant container-grown plants in the summer, you should wait until the plant enters dormancy in the autumn before pruning back.

    What about the blackberry -- does it need the same treatment?

    Any other advice?
     

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    • Mike Allen

      Mike Allen Total Gardener

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      Cutting back to 1-2 buds above ground level, sounds a bit harsh. Usually such info might be suggested for small plants so as to encourage a bushy growth. I feel that the grower has to decide the method of growing. Do you want a bush, say 3ft.x 3ft A single upright, or a cordon. Your currants will do well in a soil/compost of 6.0-8.0 pH.

      Your Blackberry is in a class of it's own. A soil/compost of 5.0-6.0 pH. Best grown as a cordon. Beware as soon as any part, especially the tip touched the soil, it will take root.

      Pruning. I'd be inclined to wait until the currants are emergening from dormancy. Here you will see the new buds and can cut accordingly, remember, cut just above an outward facing bud.

      The Blackberry. To establish a good strong plant. I'd be inclined to peg the runner down here and there. When rooted, which is quick, sever and train on.
       
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      • ricky101

        ricky101 Super Gardener

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        Hi,

        Think you might be better moving the currants a bit further away from the path as they will flow over the path if grown as bushes. I'd also remove a lot more grass from around their bases.

        You do not say what variety the Blackberry is or if its standard type or one of the newer miniature patio ones , as it looks quiet small.
        Does it look as if the main shoots have been cut off ? they are normally growing at a fast rate this time of year.

        If its a standard type they are very vigorous so having it up against the fence will make it easier to support. eg, our Merton Thornless can put out 5 mtr long stems that need to be tied in and supported/trained against a wall, fence or wires etc

        Also consider that birds love fruit, so netting the plants may be necessary, but as you have them in compact area, a simple diy fruit cage might be easier; use netting that lets the bees in but not the birds, Wilko do a suitable one.
         
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        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Remember Kon, they all grow and fruit differently. Need training differently:)

          For me the blackcurrant should be pruned ASAP.....so, yes to one or two buds above ground level..... it will encourage some growth for the rest of this summer and continue earlier next summer. Blackcurrants are best encouraged to produce lots of wood from the start and hard pruning now will do this. :) In late winter/early spring I would apply a high nitrogen feed simply to fuel that growth:)

          I agree with Ricky......give those bushes plenty of room and space between them. They will all make big plants. He’s right too about the grass....I would clear the grass completely from around the bushes....make a clear edge between the grass and the fruit zone.

          I would add one thing......forget about fruit for now or next year. The fruit will come later, better and more prolifically when bushes are trained and developed properly from the start

          Meant to add.....I would train the blackberry on a fence, trellis or even wires.
           
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            Last edited: Aug 14, 2019
          • Kon

            Kon Gardener

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            Thanks, everyone.

            Ok, I will move the three currant bushes back from the bath about 1' - 2'. I wanted them to get the maximum amount of sunlight (if they are too far back from the path, they will end up in the shadow of a north-facing fence).

            This will mean there will be only three bushes in this spot. I will clear the grass from around the bushes, too.

            I think I will move the blackberry to the far back of the garden where it can be secured to a wall / fence. The variety is Karaka black.
             
          • Verdun

            Verdun Passionate gardener

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            Had to google that variety Kon ....you have a good one I think :)

            Yes, a wall or fence is ideal. If you wire it, aim to keep the wires 5 cm or so from the wall or fence. Helps air circulation, easier to train on the wires, helps fruit ripen more quickly and, I think, more effective against the birds
             
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