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Prune your blackcurrants3 December 2013
Prune your blackcurrants to keep them healthy, vigorous and productive and guarantee heavy crops of those mouthwateringly plump jet-black berries next summer.
If you don't have blackcurrants already in your garden, you'll find plenty of varieties to choose from on sale in our garden center right now, from compact, reliable 'Ben Connan' to the upright, heavy-yielding 'Ben Lomond'. This month is just the right time to plant fruit, too, so you don't have to go without next season.
Cut newly-planted blackcurrants back to about 7.5cm from the ground straight after planting: it may look drastic but you're encouraging the plant to form a sturdy root system that will stand it in good stead for years.
Then from its second or third year, once they're fully established and cropping well, start pruning. Blackcurrants fruit best on wood that's about two years old, so you should aim to remove the very oldest branches to encourage lots of fresh new growth.
Remove about a third to a half of the oldest branches: these have more roughened, greyer bark and tend to be thicker. Take them right down to ground level, cutting them off cleanly. Then finish off with a nice thick mulch to give your plant the best possible start in spring.