Winter pruning is upon us. So to ease us into the task we started with the easy stuff! Redcurrants; whitecurrants and gooseberries. All the bushes have been in for 3 years.
In the fruit cage redcurrants are to the left, gooseberries to the right with a whitecurrant at the end of the line of gooseberries; the last row partially out of site is of blackcurrants which have a different pruning regime. The closest redcurrant has just been pruned. 2 to 3 year old wood is the most productive so the idea is to have mostly wood of that age with some new wood coming through to replace the older.
So we set about pruning the bushes – first up the 3 D’s, removing anything dead, damaged or diseased. Then the centre of each bush was opened out to create an open bowl. This discourages sawfly infestations by allowing the wind to blow through the structure as pest seems to prefer to lay its eggs in dense foliage. Any low lying branches were removed or pruned to a rising branch to prevent the fruit from lying on the ground. Some of the oldest wood was removed entirely where we had a strong new shoot coming through. Side shoots were cut back to one or 2 buds and the new wood bit of the leaders tipped by a third to a bud facing the way we wanted the structure to go.
Onto the apples and pears…