If the site was prepared properly and phosphorus and potassium were added based on the soil test, no additional phosphorus or potassium fertilizer should be required. Currants, gooseberries, and elderberries will benefit from applications of nitrogen. Young plants should receive 1 to 2 tablespoons of a high nitrogen fertilizer like ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, or urea annually in the spring. Older plants should receive 3 to 4 tablespoons of high nitrogen fertilizer in the spring. Nitrogen can also be supplied by aged manures.
You can judge the need for fertilizer by looking at the bush. If the bush is very vigorous, producing a lot of new growth, reduce the nitrogen by half or eliminate it altogether. If growth is moderate but the plants still appear thrifty, apply the recommended amount. If few new canes are produced and growth appears poor, increase nitrogen application by half. For more detailed fertilizer use suggestions, refer to Extension publication Fertilizing Small Fruits in the Home Garden (A2307).
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