Growing Fruit Bushes

A sunny open site is best for fruit bushes with good shelter. The ideal soil is fertile, well drained and slightly acid, though they are tolerant of a wider range of soils. Plant 1.5-1.8m(5-6′) apart in the row and between rows.

Blackcurrants and Chuckleberry

Planting BlackcurrantsInitial Establishment

  • Plant about 1.5-1.8m (5-6′) apart into clean land.
  • Plant about 5cm deeper than where the roots arise, up to top of ruler in photo right, to encourage extra roots to form and branches to sprout from beneath the ground.
  • After planting reduce branches above soil level to a couple of buds, where the knive tips point to, and mark clearly where they are as they will seem very small in the space allocated to them!

Future Development

  • Pruning BlackcurrantsBlackcurrants fruit best on two and three year old wood, after this they become less productive. To counter this a good quantity of one year material needs to be developed each year.
  • For the first three let the bushes develop and fruit.
  • After the third years growth remove one third of the old growth back to close to soil level or a young upright branch. Take out any weak and inward growing wood.
  • Each year take out one third of the old wood to retain ten to twelve shoots per bush, about half of which should be one years growth.

Ongoing Maintenance

  • Provide nutrition in the spring by applying a layer of compost or manure. This will suppress weeds and make their removal easy. This mulch will also conserve moisture as the fruit swell in early summer.

Gooseberries, Redcurrants & Whitecurrants.

Planting RedcurrantsInitial Establishment

  • Plant both as they were on the nursery with a short stem before any branching.
  • Plant about 1.5m (5′) apart into clean land.
  • We supply one year bushes.
  • Redcurrants will have one or two main branches. After planting prune the leader of each branch by half to an outward bud, about where the knife is pointing.
  • Gooseberries will have some short branches. Just shorten a little any longer branches.
  • With time the aim in time is to produce open, goblet shaped bush with 8-10 permanent main branches.
  • Both redcurrants & Gooseberries can be grown as cordons if wished planting about 40cm apart. The text below concerns gowing as bushes.

Future Development

  • In following winters the framework should be developed. Cut the previous summers growth back by up to half on each branch to an outward facing bud for redcurrants & upward / inward for Gooseberries.
  • Gooseberries develop a drooping growth habit so pruning to an upward or inward growing bud helps the bush grow more upwards.
  • Reduce any crossing, crowded branches in the centre.
  • Once the framework of 8-10 branches has been developed the aim is to maintain it. Both bear fruit on spurs on older wood and at the base of previous summers growth.
  • Each summer, late June/early July, retain the branch leader but reduce the laterals coming off each main branch to 5 leaves. This keeps an open airy bush.
  • In the winter cut back the branch leader by half and reduce the laterals again to 2 buds.
  • In the future older less productive branches can be removed to a younger replacement shoot.


To be developed.