January 18, 2008

Winter Pruning of Blackcurrants

As I mentioned in a recent blog, winter is the best time to prune your trees.  But it’s also a really good time to prune old growth from berry bushes.  Recently, Jodi demonstrated her method of pruning blackcurrants.  I just love the amazing fragrance and flavor of blackcurrants.  I use their juice to make wonderful jellies and sorbets.  It’s also what crème de cassis, that delicious, dark purple liqueur is made from.

The blackcurrant bush sends new shoots up from the ground and the bulk of the crop forms on shoots that grew the previous summer.  It’s really important to thin out older shoots to make room for strong new growth and plenty of open areas for the berries to form.  Thinning also provides necessary air circulation within the bush’s center, reducing the risk of disease.


Jodi uses sharp hand pruners and a hand saw to make good, clean cuts.  She also removes any horizontal growth, keeping the bush strong and upward growing. 



The pruned branches are quite fragrant, as well.  Jodi likes to use them in the greenhouse as support stakes for potted plants.