Keep blackcurrant bushes healthy with a good pruning

Keep blackcurrant bushes healthy with a good pruning
    A blackcurrant bush is a great addition to any garden, with its bountiful summer fruits fantastic for making pies, cordial, jams and even cassis.

However, while they are easy to grow and maintain with even the simplest of garden tools, they will need your attention at this time of year if they are to stay healthy and keep producing bumper crops.

The Royal Horticultural Society recommends giving blackcurrants a good pruning now, as the bare branches and lack of other surrounding vegetation will make it easier to see what you are doing.

Bushes will need tending to every year after they reach four years of age, as although older branches will bear fruit, their quality starts to decline, plus they can be vulnerable to pests and disease.

The idea behind pruning blackcurrants is to keep a balance between old and young wood, so don't be afraid to remove up to a third of the plant and take the very old stems right down to the ground.

You might find an MD 4-in-1 Multi Tool useful for doing this, as it is easy to use and incorporates a hedge cutter, line trimmer, brush cutter and long range pruner.

The oldest branches will be almost black and probably quite droopy, so give them a good cut and then add a nice, thick layer of mulch in the form of manure around the bush – don't let it touch the stems, though.

If you haven't got blackcurrants, don't feel left out, because now is also a good time to plant new bare root bushes (as long as there isn't snow on the ground and it's not frozen solid).

Place them in moisture-retentive, well-drained soil in full sun, or partial shade, making the hole twice the diameter of the root ball in depth.

All you need to do then is refill the hole with well-rotted organic material, firm it all down and then wait for your blackcurrants to grow in time for a bumper harvest next year.

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