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Black currant is an unpretentious and healthy crop. But the time comes, and the yield drops sharply. What can be done so that the old bush begins to bear a good harvest again?
Why black currants need to be rejuvenated
Black currant quickly enough enters the season of fruiting. But also, a period soon begins when the number of berries on the bush decreases. The quality of the fruit also suffers - they become small and tasteless. But don't get rid of the plant right away. The procedure will help to resolve the situation, which will prolong the life of black currants, and return the yield to its previous level. It is called anti-aging pruning. During it, old and low-yielding branches are removed.
The old blackcurrant bush consists of non-fruiting branches and is too thickened, therefore it requires rejuvenation
A black currant bush consisting of branches 5, 6 and more years old is subject to rejuvenation.
When and how to do it
The neglected planting of currants needs to be saved. The rejuvenating treatment can be done in spring or autumn.
You can start the rejuvenating procedure in early spring, before the leaves have blossomed.
When pruning, it should be remembered that the main crop of black currant ripens on shoots 2 - 3 years old. Therefore, if you have only one currant bush, leave a few branches of this age in addition to the young shoots. Thus, you can harvest a little, and continue rejuvenation the next year, when the young shoots bear fruit.
Simultaneously with the rejuvenation of black currants, sanitary pruning is also carried out, which contributes to the rapid growth of young shoots
Spring anti-aging pruning
Rejuvenating pruning in spring can be combined with sanitary pruning.
- When the soil warms up to 5 ° C, choose the fairest day and get started.
- Remove dry, broken, or diseased branches first.
- Cut branches that are not growing properly (inside the bush), thickening the bush and interfering with young shoots.
With the help of a special tool, it is easy to cut out old branches that grow inside the bush
- Remove old branches 5, 6 or more years old.
- Remove tops and weak zero shoots.
- Keep the strongest one- or two-year-olds.
- Leave some shoots 3-4 years old.
You can find out the age of a branch by the bark. In old branches, it is dark, almost black. In young ones, it is light gray-brown. In addition, old branches are often covered with lichen. You can also calculate the age of a branch based on the growth rate. On the branches of the first and third years, the growth is from 30 to 50 cm. By the age of five, the process decays. At the ends of old branches, the growth will be only 5 cm. Fruit buds on them are very few, and sometimes not at all.
The age of currant branches can be calculated by the growth rate
Pruning during this period is carried out after the foliage has fallen. It is important to have time to complete the procedure before the onset of frost.
The autumn rejuvenation procedure is carried out according to the same rules as the spring one.
This diagram clearly shows the scheme for the rejuvenation of black currant.
Anti-aging pruning rules
For anti-aging pruning to succeed, follow these guidelines:
- carry out work only on time;
- for the operation, use sharply sharpened and disinfected garden tools;
- after removing the branch, try not to leave stumps. If in the center of the bush it is not possible to cut a branch flush with the ground, then the stump should not be higher than 2 cm from the soil surface;
Try not to leave hemp after trimming
- process the cuts with garden pitch;
- do not feel sorry for old branches. For black currants, such a cardinal pruning is only beneficial, since it stimulates the development of zero (coming from the very root) shoots.
After rejuvenating pruning, you should not wait for a large harvest. The plant should grow strong and grow zero shoots that will harvest next year. Therefore, in order not to be left without a crop, you can first rejuvenate one bush, and the next year work with another.
It is advisable to rejuvenate black currant bushes no more than 3 times. When the plant's root system begins to die off, and this happens at the age of 25 or 30, rejuvenation will no longer help.
Black currants are not afraid of strong pruning, on the contrary, after it, the update mechanism starts. If the rejuvenation is done correctly, then in a year the old bush will compete with young plants in terms of the quantity and quality of the harvest.
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Sooner or later, every blackcurrant grower is faced with the need to rejuvenate old bushes. With age, the yield of the plant begins to gradually decline, and the quality of the fruits invariably decreases every year.
Rejuvenation will be useful not only for old bushes, but also in cases where the plant has been severely damaged by disease or pest infestation, has a too dense or improperly formed crown, if its roots are damaged. By removing excess shoots that obscure the bush, impede its ventilation and take away the strength of the plant, this procedure will return high yields to black currants, increase immunity to diseases and facilitate planting maintenance.
When to start rejuvenating the currant bush?
Usually, when the currants step over in ten years or a little more, the bush is simply uprooted, they give the soil a rest for a couple of years, adding organic matter (a bucket to the place where the bush grew) and mineral fertilizers (a tablespoon of nitroammofoska). And then, if a healthy bush previously grew in this place, a new one is planted. But there are exceptions - for example, the gardener really likes a particular variety, say, "Little Prince", but none of the nurseries in the region simply does not have it, or there are many seedlings, and the gardener no longer has the physical strength to uproot the old bush, and then plant a young seedling on the site.
But, generally speaking, the cardinal pruning of the currant bush, its actual rejuvenation, should occur already in the year of planting this seedling on the site. We planted a seedling, it doesn't matter - in autumn or spring, obliquely, and cut off all the shoots, leaving only their parts with five buds on each growth - here's the first serious pruning and the first rejuvenation, because the youngest shoots will grow from the buds.
The optimal time for pruning currant bushes
Most gardeners lean towards pruning in the fall, as soon as most of the currant leaves are on the ground, that is, they will naturally fall off. Other gardeners (there are slightly fewer of them) say that it is better to prune currants in early spring, but in this case it is strictly necessary to have time to complete all pruning operations before the buds begin to bloom, that is, to carry out it while there is still snow underfoot.
In addition, in the spring there is one significant advantage of cutting currants in the spring - branches affected after winter are visible, they must be cut out first.
Both spring and autumn pruning of currants, in their essence, are equivalent, the main thing is to still carry out anti-aging pruning.
Cardinal pruning of the currant bush, its actual rejuvenation, should occur already in the year of planting this seedling on the site. © Choice Gardening Club
Liquid top dressing
Experienced gardeners recommend producing liquid top dressing black currant bushes 4 once a year - according to the growing seasons of the plant:
- the first time - when the buds bloom, growth and flowering begins
- the second feeding is carried out immediately after flowering. At this time, there is an increased growth, and the plant needs to be supported. The magnitude of the increase and, consequently, the magnitude of the yield depends on this
- the third top dressing is well done during the berry filling period (June - early July). At this time, the need for a fruiting bush for phosphorus and potassium increases. Any complex fertilizers are suitable for feeding.
- after harvesting, before laying flower buds (end of July - August), it is very important to carry out one more top dressing - this will be the key to successful fruiting next year. But during this period, nitrogen fertilizers are recommended to be excluded (they delay the ripening of the shoots).
Ripe black currant berries
Depending on the composition of the soil in your area, the frequency of application and the amount of fertilizers will, of course, differ: the poorer the soil, the more you need to enrich it.
Signs of aging
In addition to factors such as age in years, you may notice the following signs of plant aging:
- a decrease in the quality of the harvest - few berries are tied, they ripen even less, they themselves become smaller, the taste and aroma become worse
- increased susceptibility to disease and pest attacks, despite good care.
Older bushes are more susceptible to diseases and pests. Photo by the author
Often such shrubs go to the gardener who bought a summer cottage from the old owners, especially if the garden has been standing without leaving for several years. However, currants grown with their own hands are also gradually slowing down.
The first thought that arises: uproot - and plant a new berry. In some cases, when everything is really bad, this is exactly what you should do. But in this way you will lose, firstly, the harvest of berries for the next couple of years (at least), and secondly, if you have grown a really decent variety, there is a chance that you simply will not find the same seedlings. Therefore, it is worth doing the following - propagate the existing bushes by cuttings or layering (or plant purchased seedlings), and rejuvenate the old bushes, extending their productive life for another 2-3 years.
Plant new ones before uprooting old bushes.
When to cut currants
The best time for rejuvenating pruning of trees and shrubs is autumn. The ideal moment is the natural end of the leaf fall. But if some of the leaves are still not fallen, and time is running out, you can try to cut the currants earlier. Experts recommend doing this not earlier than at the end of September, but better - in mid-October.
Don't forget to find the right tool. So, for pruning thin branches, a pruner is more suitable, and for thick ones - a lopper.
How to graft properly: highlights
Black currant lends itself well to vegetative propagation. But despite the simplicity of the grafting process, adherence to certain rules will increase the likelihood of success:
- We pay attention to the choice of the mother bush. It should be healthy looking plant, with maximum yield and the most pleasant berry flavor.
- Cutting is best done in cloudy weather or early in the morning after dew.
- For better rooting of petioles, experts recommend soaking them in a growth stimulator (for example, in "Heteroauxin") for 24 hours before planting.
- Petioles must be placed in the ground at an angle of 45 0. This will make it easier for them to winter.
- The composition of the soil also affects the survival rate of cuttings. It is best to use a mixture of earth, compost and river sand. You can also add sawdust.
- For the first three weeks, watering should be abundant and regular.
- Spraying is a prerequisite for black currant cuttings. It is considered optimal to maintain soil moisture content at 80%, and air at 90%.
- When planting seedlings in a permanent place, planting density is important. It depends on the variety of currants - more space is required for branched varieties than for varieties with a straight and narrow crown.
- Recommended to fertilize seedlings 3-4 times per season... Organic fertilizers (manure, poultry droppings) or complex additives (Fertika Lux, Zdraven Turbo at the rate of 1 teaspoon per 5 liters of water) are best suited.
So, observing these simple rules, everyone can grow full-fledged blackcurrant bushes from small cuttings, moreover, without special financial costs. Most importantly, cuttings make it possible not only to rejuvenate the berry, but also to expand the varietal composition by borrowing several shoots of a shrub from a neighbor.