Red current bushes


How to maintain, trim for wintering, red current, and black current bushes. We use the fruit. Southern Montreal Thank you morning sun


To maximize fruit production, proper pruning is crucial, and I can think of no better instructions than the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs’ fact sheet currants and gooseberries:

  • Prune when the plants are dormant in late winter or early spring.
  • Black currants produce the best fruit on one-year-old wood. Strong one-year-old shoots, and two- or three-year-old shoots which have an abundance of strong one-year-old wood, are the most productive. Keep a total of 10 to 12 shoots per mature bush, with about half being one-year-old shoots. A few more shoots may be kept if plant vigor is very good. Remove all shoots which are more than 3 years old. Make pruning cuts close to the ground.
  • Red currants and gooseberries produce most of their fruit on spurs that are located on two- and three-year-old wood. After pruning, a healthy bush should have 3 to 4 shoots of each one-, two-, and three-year-old shoots (a total of 9 to 12 shoots). Remove all shoots older than three years.
  • Remove branches hanging close to the ground if berries are to be harvested mechanically. Also, for control of diseases and insects, remove and destroy any diseased tips of branches and branches which are late leafing out, dying or sickly.

The same fact sheet also offers advice on winter protection:

  • Currants and gooseberries bloom early in the spring. Severe frosts can injure blossoms and young developing berries. Frosts cause less problems in sites with good air drainage.
  • In small plantings, cloth or paper covers can be put over plants for frost protection. Plastic usually gives little or no protection.

We wish you many bountiful harvests from your currant bushes.