Pruning an established bush

Each summer, in late June to early July, prune all laterals (that is, the current season's growth) back to five leaves. This opens up the bush and removes any mildew and aphids at the tips of the shoots. Do not prune gooseberries earlier because this might induce secondary growth. Do not prune the leaders unless they are affected by aphids or mildew.

Each winter, cut back the leaders by one-half to a bud facing in the required direction. If the branch is weeping badly and there is a suitably placed upright lateral on it, then cut back to this.

Next deal with the laterals that were pruned the previous summer. Where smaller quantities of large high-quality dessert fruits are required, cut all of these laterals back to about two buds. Where a large amount of fruit is required, pruning should be moderated accordingly. Vigorous varieties should be pruned less severely because this could encourage excessive growth. Cut out dead and diseased wood, and any growth crowding the center of the bush.

6 When the fruits are large enough for cooking, thin the fruits by removing every other one. Cover the bush with burlap or bird netting to protect the fruits from birds.

As the bushes become older and branches less productive or too spreading, leave in some suitably placed strong, young shoots to replace the old which are then cut out.

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