Gooseberry is one of those popular shrubs that can be found in almost any garden area. This unpretentious culture does not require complex care, it is enough just to correctly form the bush and prune it in a timely manner.
Pruning is an affordable and effective way of caring for many trees and shrubs, with which you can solve a large number of problems - from low yields to crown formation for decorative purposes. For gooseberries, given the peculiarities of their structure, regular pruning is a prerequisite for the proper development and maintenance of vital activity. Do not neglect this event if you want to grow a healthy, viable plant and get a quality harvest.
With proper care from one gooseberry bush, you can get up to 20 kg of berries
The reasons why gardeners resort to pruning gooseberries can be as follows:
To prune gooseberries, you need a pruner and a lopper. It is best to work with cotton work gloves to protect against spikes or accidentally cut yourself on the tool.
It is convenient to cut off small branches located at the edge of the bush with pruning shears
The lopper is similar to the pruning shears but has longer handles to handle heavy loads and hard-to-reach places
Try to use tools that meet the following requirements:
If possible, try to get a red or orange instrument - it will be clearly visible on the ground and will not get lost in the green thickets.
In order for your gooseberry to develop in the best possible way, you must first form the shrub correctly (familiarity with its structure will help to do this), and then regularly carry out actions aimed at maintaining this shape.
The gooseberry forms a perennial bush, reaching a height of 1.5 m. A crown of approximately the same diameter is formed from branches of different ages and basal shoots. The latter grow from those stem buds that are located at the base of the bush. The root collar is the part of the trunk immersed in the soil. As a rule, it is about 30 cm long and about 5 cm in diameter.
By autumn, the root green shoots will be covered with bark and become full-fledged branches.
In the first year of life, the basal shoots are distinguished by intensive growth; by the middle of summer they change their green color to reddish or brown. By autumn, young stems will become woody, and in the second year of life, shoots will appear on them. This is how the branches that form the basis of the shrub are formed. Each year, an increase is formed on them, reaching a length of 8 to 30 cm. Over the summer, it will acquire bark, lignify and become a full-fledged branch of the second order. New shoots will also appear on it, which later turn into third-order stems, etc.
As a rule, branches of the first, second and third order are distinguished by the greatest fruiting, since they are the most developed and strong. Thanks to regular pruning, you can ensure the constant renewal of such shoots, which means they can maintain their vitality and yield.
When pruning gooseberries, it is necessary to try to completely remove low-yielding branches of the 4th and 5th order in order to stimulate the development of productive branches of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd order
Keep in mind that due to the special structure of the root system, gooseberries form horizontal (root) shoots, which must also be removed regularly.
The amount of work on the formation of the crown depends on the age of the bushes.
You need to start pruning from the moment the gooseberry seedling is planted in the ground. In this case, no damage should be inflicted on the fruit bud, so make the sections at an angle of 50about 5 mm above it.
Do not be afraid to carry out the pruning procedure on a young seedling: one of the features of a gooseberry is the rapid growth of new shoots. Over the summer, your shrub will not only get stronger and form a root system, but also acquire a large number of stems again.
By early fall, your shrub should have approximately 3 biennial branches and the same number of annuals. To do this, trim as follows:
In the third year after planting, there should be about 12-18 branches of different ages on the gooseberry, which form the basis of the shrub. To achieve this, take the following activities:
In the first year after planting, the branches are cut by about 1/2, in the second - by 1/3, in the third - the tops are shortened and the horizontal shoots are cut
In the fourth year after planting, the gooseberry bush becomes an adult and begins to bring the maximum amount of harvest, therefore, the formation procedure during this period should not be neglected. Pruning measures should include timely removal of twisted and unviable branches. It is also necessary to cut out young shoots, including those launched from the root collar, in order to prevent the growth of horizontal shoots, because the gooseberry branches must be raised above the ground.
The bush should consist of 15–20 stems of different ages. Branches older than 5 years should be removed, and 3-5 strongest shoots should be left from the root shoots.
An adult gooseberry bush should have 15-20 branches no older than 5 years
Remember to feed the plants after pruning. To do this, dig a trench about 30 cm deep and apply fertilizer into it, and then bury it.
When the gooseberry is 7-8 years old, you will need to do anti-aging pruning. In this case, you can remove a maximum of 1/3 of the branches.
Timely removal of a dried or blackened tip has a beneficial effect on the healthy part of the branch
If your gooseberry is very old (for example, it is 10 years old or more), then anti-aging pruning will be more radical. You will have to cut all branches from the base, leaving only the 5 strongest and most developed ones. After such pruning, with proper and timely care, the shrub will quickly become covered with new shoots and gain strength. It is advisable to carry out rejuvenation in the spring, so that over the summer the shrub can get stronger and form fresh shoots.
The rejuvenation procedure for very old shrubs over 20 years old, as a rule, is not carried out.
Sometimes gardeners give up caring for gooseberries, for example, due to its great age, or simply do not pay attention to the bush. This leads to a thickening of the berry, and therefore to a decrease in its yield. In addition, such a plant is susceptible to various diseases and can easily infect other crops. Pruning will help you prevent this situation.
Keep in mind that it will take two to four years for a neglected shrub to fully recover.
Pruning is carried out twice a year - in the spring and autumn. In summer, the procedure cannot be carried out, because the gooseberry quickly forms a large number of new branches, so the event will be useless.
Spring pruning of gooseberries is carried out even before the buds bloom on the bush. Gooseberries wake up very early - as a rule, already in the second half of March, buds begin to swell on it, and in late March - early April, the first leaves appear. If you want to prune in the spring, then it is important to have time to do it before the sap flow in the trunk - if possible in the first decade of March. It is not recommended to injure shoots with blossoming leaves - this will significantly weaken the plant, which means, reduce its yield.
If you don't have the opportunity to prune the gooseberries in the spring, then you can do it in the fall. It is not recommended to carry out a shortening pruning in early autumn: this can affect the growth of new shoots, which will not have time to woody before the onset of cold weather and will die. Therefore, autumn pruning is carried out in the period starting after harvest and foliage falling and continuing until the onset of cold weather.
Remember that the maximum number of branches cut should not exceed 1/3 of their total number.
Gooseberry pruning does not carry any difficulties and even a novice gardener can handle it. The main thing is to carefully and in a timely manner follow all the recommendations for carrying out this event, and the shrub will respond to this with health and a bountiful harvest.
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If you do not carry out regular pruning, then over time, the gooseberry will grow so much that it will begin to shade itself, hurt more often, and its fruiting will noticeably deteriorate. Most likely, it happened with your thorny berry bush. It doesn't matter, this is fixable.
After reading this article, you will learn when and how to prune gooseberries in the spring, which branches should be removed completely, which should be shortened, and which should be left as replacement shoots so that you always have a good harvest!
Experienced gardeners choose spring for their work. Also, some molding treatments can be carried out in the autumn or summer season. Spring is good because you can select branches that have died out during the winter and eliminate them.
Forming can be carried out year-round and this will allow you to achieve the desired success. It is very easy to learn how to do it correctly step by step, especially if photos and videos are presented.
You just need to take some time to prepare the gooseberries, and then it will grow strong, healthy and bring a large number of berries.
Pruning cuttings for propagation:
Cuttings for propagation can be saved after the autumn pruning, for this it is enough to put them in the cellar, having previously wrapped them in polyethylene.
You can start pruning after the last harvest and leaf fall. The main thing is not to delay with this case, not to wait for the onset of severe cold weather. Shoots must be cut off completely, at the very base. If done incorrectly, it can attract various harmful insects.
Winter and summer are not very suitable for pruning, as conditions are not very favorable during this period. Therefore, very often all work is carried out exclusively in spring or autumn.
There are also many different technologies for forming bushes, which have been selected empirically and give good results. Gooseberry pruning, timing, when and how to do it correctly is important for further growth.
You need to familiarize yourself with the tips for beginners in advance in order to properly form gooseberry bushes: