Q&As/Fruit Trees & Berries/Pruning a Red Current Bush

Question

We have a red currant bush that hasn’t been pruned for the last 4 seasons. I’m wondering what would be the best way of pruning it?

Answer

Although red currant bushes can withstand some neglect, no pruning for four years probably means little or no fruit has been harvested through the summer months.

Red currants produce most fruit on two and three year old wood. Therefore, pruning should be aimed at maximising the fruiting wood. Winter pruning involves removing all old wood and any weak branches i.e. those too thin or growing close to the ground. The bush can then be pruned in a manner similar to a rose bush; creating a multi-stemmed vase shape with an open centre. All growing leaders should be shortened back at least half their length and any overlapping branches removed.

Red currant bushes can also be trained against a wall in an espalier or cordon fashion where space is short in the garden. This is an excellent way of cultivating red currants in your garden.

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