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Pruning gooseberry


If ease of cultivation were the only consideration in pruning currants and gooseberries, the tree form would certainly be most convenient and economical. Unfortunately the grower has no choice in this matter, for in order to insure his plants against the ravages of borers of the root and stalk it is necessary to train both these plants in a bush form.

When managed in this way new wood can annually be induced to spring up from the root to replace any canes which may be destroyed by borers or which may for any other cause become useless to the plant.

The new growth should be stopped when it reaches a convenient height, in order to induce the formation of side branches and thus increase the area of bearing wood. This is much more important than would at first appear, because the fruit of these plants is borne upon fruiting spurs which develop from wood two or more years of age. On the other hand, the renewal of the bush is not only necessary in order to maintain it against insect pests, but to insure a supply of fruit bearing wood to take the place of the old wood.

In general a currant bush should be composed of from five to eight stalks, stopped about 18 to 20 inches in height. If the plants are vigorous, shoots stopped at this height will produce several lateral branches, thus forming a compact, broad-headed bush with a maximum expanse of bearing wood.

The gooseberry should be treated in like fashion, but will be found to require less heading-back, because its normal habit is to produce numerous side shoots rather than strong, upright ones.