Put netting over bushes to stop birds stripping all the fruit – make sure the net is pulled taut over a frame to prevent birds from becoming caught, but still check the net regularly. Gooseberries bear fruit on 2- to 3-year-old branches. It is best to prune just before the plants come out of dormancy which allows them to heal quickly with the vigourous new growth of Spring. A properly-pruned gooseberry bush (which may also be trained as a cordon) will grow better, stay free of disease, and produce more berries that are easily pickable. As the plant ages, you'll want to cut away stems more than 3 years old each year. They usually are ready for picking late July to early August. A growing season will support 2—4 generations of sawflies, though there may not be enough leaves available to do so. The larvae are a black and gold mottled caterpillar around a half inch long. Over the years, the red variety I planted has been most productive and hardy, though I do tend to like the taste of the yellow variety a little better. They prefer a slightly acidic soil that is well-drained. Why do the green berries fall on the ground, before ripening almost every year? Start pruning year-one gooseberry bushes in the early spring. The remaining berries can be harvested in stages, or left to swell until they're fully ripe," Hendry says. This is my third and most serious mistake. The same species also likes currants, though I have not yet seen them spread to my currants yet. What I learned in the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course, Food preservation for the Alaskan Gardener, Using Extension Information to solve problems in Alaska. We get good production from our gooseberries, even with the gardening mistakes described above. The goal of cutting back gooseberry bushes is to keep the center of the plant open to air and sunshine, prune out any dead or diseased branches and to shorten the growth of the plant to a manageable size and to facilitate harvest. Pruning grape vines. We ordered four of them that seemed to be robust in the gardens of south Anchorage from a nursery in the Lower 48 and put them into the garden–two Hinnomaki Red and two Hinnomaki Yellow gooseberries. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. The lifespan of a typical gooseberry is 12 — 15 years. When to Prune Gooseberries. I prepared two, 1 gallon batches and sprayed the gooseberries about 10 days apart right about the time the leaves were growing out. Old, neglected, or improperly pruned vines usually have too much wood. Given the sharp spines of the plant and the relatively good camouflage of the infestation on the underside of the leaves, this technique doesn’t work all that well for me. You may wish to wear gloves to protect yourself from the plant’s vicious thorns! This encourages the growth of new wood near the main body of the vines. Soils should have organic material or compost. Here, Monty Don explains how to prune redcurrants and gooseberries: Growing currants: problem solving. Arm yourself with sharp bypass secateurs, and some sturdy gloves if you’re pruning gooseberries, to protect your hands from their spines. This article has been viewed 13,754 times. The reds are very happy so far. Unfortunately, I mostly left the exterior ring of the branches alone. Beware, an unpruned, tangled gooseberry bush is the perfect nesting place for pesky sawfly and caterpillars. Sawfly larvae overwinter in the soil around the root system of plants and as such are difficult to get rid of. I finally broke down and found an organic insecticide that specifically targets caterpillars and other leaf-eating critters, Monterrey Garden Insect Spray. Over the years, I have done very little of this, but armed with what I have (tried to) learn(ed) in the Alaska Master Gardener Online course I just completed, it is obvious I have a problem. Pruning saws consist of a All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published, This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Damaged branches are missing bark where they have rubbed other branches. Note on organics: I consider myself an organic gardener, not because the chemicals are any safer, rather because the organic stuff does not seem to persist over an extended period of time. These gooseberries like partial shade to full sun. So, one of my springtime science projects is to do some serious pruning on my gooseberries. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through … Either organic or non-organic chemicals will hurt you if mishandled, so treat them with the respect any powerful tool deserves. Plants should be spaced 3 — 6’ in rows 6 — 8’ apart. Will let you know how it goes. The Alaska Botanical Garden holds a plant sale every May and generally has gooseberries available, though I do not know which varieties. Leafless gooseberry plants in late November. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 13,754 times. And the leaves dry up at that time. In winter, remove dead wood and low-lying shoots. The logic was that if I kill off whatever has overwintered while it is on the plants, subsequent generations will be disrupted. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Shorten branch tips by one quarter, cutting to a suitable outward facing bud. In the case of gooseberry bushes it is a good idea to delay until the buds are just beginning to open. Prune back all but 5 branches during the first year. When pruning, cut as much of the old wood as possible. Mature gooseberry and currant plants should By the third year after planting, the bush will have established its core framework with an even distribution of stems aged between 1 and 3 years. I ran across something several years ago that recommended pruning the middle of the bush to open it up so that you can harvest the berries, which I have tried to do. Watering Your Garden Without Running Water or Electricity. But then again, the problem might be your soil––maybe if the bush or tree is small enough, you could just move the tree? Regular pruning shears are sufficient for most gooseberry pruning, but you may need a pair of loppers for old wood and larger, mature branches. Clearly pruning has been neglected and is now an issue. The natural tendency of the gooseberry is to be a bit sprawling and droopy; you want to counteract that. The Alaska Botanical Garden holds a plant sale every May and generally has gooseberries available, though I do not know which varieties. Gooseberries belong to those popular shrubs that can be found on almost any garden site. They seem to leave the fruit alone. Though these were all recommended in various places, none of them worked very well at all, though the Aza Max seemed to keep things from spreading a bit. Other than a yearly application of compost tea, I do not fertilize my gooseberries. Other recommendations include spraying them with a hard stream of water, introducing predatory nematodes, spreading diatomaceous earth, and using Neem Oil product called Aza Max. Last Updated: July 31, 2020 They don’t like to get all that tall. 1). This unpretentious culture does not require complicated care, it is only enough to correctly form a bush and timely prune it. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. They hatch, climb the plant, and feast on the leaves from underneath. 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