geoffusa
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Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:24 am
Location: Columbia County NY

gooseberries/currants.

I have planted a few types of gooseberries and red/black currants this year and am new to growing. Has anyone got any advice to offer? I am presently confused about stakes and cordon systems, not to mention "leg" vs "bowl"(?) growing methods. All plants were started as bareroot so I don't expect any yield for a year or two but growth this summer has already been quite vigorous.

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!potatoes!
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Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

haven't looked at pruning styles for currants, but i guess they would be similar to gooseberries, wouldn't they?

what i understand about gooseberry pruning:
in 'leg' pruning, you go for one strong 6" central trunk, let it grow a year, then the next winter cut off all but 3 or 4 of the branches coming from near the top of the leg (these branches should point out and/or up, and should be cut off at about 6" to encourage more branching and growth the following year.) the next year, you similarly chop the new secondary branches you get. after that, you just kinda cycle through secondary branches, removing anything that grows lower on the 'leg' and making sure that the branches you have for fruiting are 4 or fewer years old (after four years, the secondaries get chopped off completely, to be replaced by new growth).

in 'stool' or 'bowl' pruning:
after the plant's first season in the ground, cut off all but 4-6 of the strongest stems, at ground level. the next year do the same (still have 4-6 first year, plus 4-6 second-year)...continue the same scheme the next year. when your oldest branches have lived through their 4th summer, they get cut off at ground level, and you just keep cycling through branches, the four-year-old branches getting replaced by first-year growth.

from what i understand, 'stool' pruning generally yields more but smaller berries, and avoids the risk of severe injury to the whole plant if the
'leg' gets whacked, while 'leg' does a better job of keeping branches and fruit away from the ground.

re: stakes and cordons, i can't help. never heard of needing them for smaller bushes like these. kiwis and grapes, yes.

geoffusa
Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2009 1:24 am
Location: Columbia County NY

gooseberries/currants.

Thank you so much for your helpful response. I have printed it out for future reference; I think I understand the concept but I need to find somewhere relatively local where I can see what all this actually looks like. Meanwhile, I am told that gooseberries and currants can reach a height and breadth such that a support system can be beneficial though I need to do further research on this. Thanks again.javascript:emoticon(':D')
!potatoes! wrote:haven't looked at pruning styles for currants, but i guess they would be similar to gooseberries, wouldn't they?

what i understand about gooseberry pruning:
in 'leg' pruning, you go for one strong 6" central trunk, let it grow a year, then the next winter cut off all but 3 or 4 of the branches coming from near the top of the leg (these branches should point out and/or up, and should be cut off at about 6" to encourage more branching and growth the following year.) the next year, you similarly chop the new secondary branches you get. after that, you just kinda cycle through secondary branches, removing anything that grows lower on the 'leg' and making sure that the branches you have for fruiting are 4 or fewer years old (after four years, the secondaries get chopped off completely, to be replaced by new growth).

in 'stool' or 'bowl' pruning:
after the plant's first season in the ground, cut off all but 4-6 of the strongest stems, at ground level. the next year do the same (still have 4-6 first year, plus 4-6 second-year)...continue the same scheme the next year. when your oldest branches have lived through their 4th summer, they get cut off at ground level, and you just keep cycling through branches, the four-year-old branches getting replaced by first-year growth.

from what i understand, 'stool' pruning generally yields more but smaller berries, and avoids the risk of severe injury to the whole plant if the
'leg' gets whacked, while 'leg' does a better job of keeping branches and fruit away from the ground.

re: stakes and cordons, i can't help. never heard of needing them for smaller bushes like these. kiwis and grapes, yes.
:D :D

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!potatoes!
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Posts: 1899
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 6:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

no prob, geoff. i'd take a pic of my single gooseberry bush for you, but i'd better wait a couple years, since it won't demonstrate anything helpful for you at present. I'm in the process of bringing it from completely unpruned to stool-pruned...too early in that process to be helpful.

the book 'uncommon fruits for every garden' by lee reich details both pruning styles in more depth than i can, if you happen to come across it.

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