February, 2nd. Week- Pruning fruit trees & Blackcurrant bushes

Second week in February

Pruning 1

Pruning the Apple Tree

My fruit trees and blackcurrant bushes especially need to be pruned in the New Year before the sap rises and buds open.

The garden is too small to allow the apple tree, in particular, to grow as large as it would in the wild.

A long-armed loper and a saw are required, as well as a small stepladder, to prune the apple tree.

2009_0216TrevorsGarden0047The objsectives are (a) to remove branches which obstruct a pathway (b) to reduce the height of any skyward bound branches so that the tree in leaf will not shade my herb patch and finally (c) to remove any damaged boughs or branches. If left, these would dmage the bark with chaffing in fuyure.

2009_0216TrevorsGarden0048If  a bough is too thick to be cut by a secateurs or a loper, hen a saw is called for. It is important that the cut is clean and that it heals flat and quicckly without any cracks which could become infected.

Pruning Blackcurrants

My two blackcurrant bushes are planted on either side of the bird table and have served me well for the last ten years. 2009_0216TrevorsGarden0037The birds fo not seem to eat the fruit, which is plentiful. A lovely dessert is fresh blackcurrants, a dollop of yoghurt and a spoonful of honey on top.

2009_0216TrevorsGarden0040Blackcurrants fruit on new wood which is paler in colour that wood which has grown up from the base  a couple of years ago. I use a secateurs to firstly remove the older, dark wood.

After the dark wood , I look for any branches which are touching each other and remove the least crooked on2009_0216TrevorsGarden0042e. My objective is to thin out the branches so I can reach all parts of the bush to pick the fruit in the summer.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Trevor and friends. My blackcurrants do ok, though the berry size and sweetness is not as good as some of my neighbours’. They put fresh grass clippings around theirs, and I do not. I do use a bit of wood ash, and compost occasionally. Any suggestions on getting those big sweet berries? Also, my whitecurrant, and some of the reds and blacks, have a coating of lichens. Is this telling me I should prune more? Would the lichens harm the plants?
    We made wine with each, but the black is the best.
    wilco in Wicklow

    Reply

    • Wilco in Wicklow, a Chara,
      I get juicy blackcurrants more by accident than design. As I planted them beside a pond, they are not waterlogged but they never dry out either, so the berries fill out nicely. Mulching with grass clippings and compost after pruning is a good way to keep moist soil from drying out. However, blackcurrant bushes are prone to fungus problems unless they are growing where air flows freely. Pruning out old wood is a good way to ensure the bush can breathe easily and stay healthy.
      Le meas glas.
      Trevor

      Reply

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