Pruning

Prune currants and gooseberries when the plants are dormant in late winter or early spring. Remove any branches that lie along the ground as well as branches that are diseased or broken.

Ribes species produce fruit at the base of one-year-old wood. Fruiting is strongest on spurs of two- and three-year-old wood. After the first year of growth, remove all but six to eight of the most vigorous shoots. At the end of the second growing season, leave the four or five best one-year-old shoots and up to three or four two-year-old canes. At the end of the third year, prune so that approximately three or four canes of each age class remain.

By the fourth year, the oldest set of canes should be removed and the new canes allowed to grow. This system of renewal ensures that the plants remain productive because young canes always replace those that are removed. A strong, healthy, mature plant should have about eight bearing canes, with younger canes eventually replacing the oldest.

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