Why prune gooseberries
The bush grows very intensively and produces many new shoots during the season. If you do not carry out timely pruning, in a couple of years the gooseberry will turn into thorny thickets. Harvesting will be difficult and quite traumatic. In addition, on thickened branches, the berries will be smaller due to lack of sunlight. And even such bushes are less ventilated and become an ideal environment for the life of pests and the development of various diseases that can destroy not only the gooseberry itself, but also infect neighboring plants.
When to prune gooseberries
You can do it in the spring. Pruning should be done before the buds swell, so as not to injure the plant. However, the gooseberry is one of the first to wake up after hibernation. Therefore, at the beginning of the season, it can be difficult to capture the right moment, and many gardeners transfer the procedure to the fall. Wait for the bush to shed its foliage and try to prune the gooseberries 2-3 weeks before the onset of frost.
At the same time, sanitary pruning – removal of broken and diseased shoots – can be carried out throughout the season.
How to determine the age of shoots
First of all, pay attention to the color of the stems. Shoots no older than three years have a light gray, whitish color.
The color of middle-aged shoots varies from bright brown to maroon.
Old branches are also easy to identify by color – they become almost black and can sometimes be covered with a dry lichen crust.
How to prune gooseberries
Try to remove branches at the very root. Leftover stumps can become a pleasant place for pests and diseases. Before the procedure, do not forget to wear thick gloves and long-sleeved clothing so as not to get scratched. Pruning is conveniently carried out with a sharp pruner or brush cutter.
Do a sanitation pruning
First, remove all diseased, broken and dried shoots – they only thicken the bush. And then cut off all the old and thick branches at the root – those that have the darkest color or are covered with lichen. Such stems will no longer please with a good harvest, but will only take food away from younger and more promising “brothers”.
Also at this stage, remove the branches that grow near the ground or even lie on the bed. The berries on them will rot.
Perform a shaping pruning
Examine the young light gray shoots. Leave strong and well developed, and cut off all thin, crooked, short and weak under the root. Such specimens have every chance of simply not surviving the winter.
Then remove stems that intertwine with other branches or rub against neighboring ones, as well as those that grow towards the center of the bush.
Examine the gooseberries and cut out excess branches that thicken the bush and prevent other shoots from getting enough light and fresh air. The crown must be free so that fungal diseases do not linger in it.
Too long branches that stick out far beyond the bush can be shortened by one third from the crown. Try to cut at an angle of about 45 degrees, backing off 5-7 mm above the nearest kidney.