How to care for currant and gooseberry bushes in spring - basic steps and rules
To obtain the most abundant harvest of currants and gooseberries, fruit shrubs should provide proper care throughout the year. The spring period deserves special attention, because after winter dormancy, plants need a sufficient amount of nutrients. What exactly is required from the gardener during this period and how to organize work properly during spring care for gooseberries and currants - this will be discussed later.
Care for fruit bushes in the spring: procedure
With the first spring warmth, many gardeners try to immediately cover all types of activities in the garden and in the garden, but in order to correctly perform all the work it is very important to draw up a clear plan, which when growing fruit bushes consists of the following steps.
Exemption from snow
In most central and northern regions of the Russian Federation, at the end of the calendar winter, with the onset of a stable increase in temperature values, it is necessary to partially clear the snow so that the bushes do not flood with meltwater. You can free plants from snow embankments manually using a wide plastic spatula for this purpose. The zone between the rows deserves special attention, which also needs to be cleaned of accumulated snow.
It is better to throw snow removed from the site away from shrubs, if possible outside the territory, so that meltwater does not flood and other plants grown in the infield. Sometimes it is useful to form a small embankment of soil or sand around the perimeter, although the creation of fences for protection against snow is used extremely rarely, mainly in the northern regions of the country, with a large amount of rainfall in the winter.
Important! To use bayonet iron shovels to clear snow is extremely undesirable, since they can damage the bark of the bush. In the initial stages of sap flow in plant tissues, this often leads to its rapid drying.
The main tools that you will need to work in the garden or care for fruit plants are garden shears, glanders, spray guns for spraying bushes and a shovel for digging the ground or transplanting individual bushes. Each of the tools should be well cleaned after last year’s measures and disinfected with a dark pink solution of potassium permanganate or a solution of iron sulfate, in a concentration of 5-10%.
Having prepared the solution, the working surface of the instrument is dipped into it, and then wiped dry with a clean cloth. First of all, it is worth doing with the blades of garden shears and the cutting part of glanders or shovels that have direct contact with the deep layers of currant or gooseberry tissue.
Preparation of fertilizers and preparations
Organic substances in the form of infusion of mullein, humus, compost and wood ash can be used as nutritional compounds for spring fertilizing of gooseberry or currant bushes, or you can buy ready-made mineral fertilizers: for example, superphosphate or ammonium nitrate. In addition, it is possible that you will need mixtures for the prophylactic spraying of bushes from diseases and pests, so in the early spring it is worth buying Karbofos, Bordeaux mixture or any other broad-spectrum fungicidal or insecticidal preparations.The hardest thing to cook is organic manure. Unlike purchased drugs, it must be filled with water and insisted for several months to completely decay all the components.Fresh product can burn the rhizome of plants and lead to their death, so it is not used to fertilize plantings.
Video: How to make organics from manure
Digging and loosening the soil
As soon as you remove the snow from under the currant or gooseberry bushes, the soil under them will begin to dry out. To speed up this process, it is worth removing all plant debris and fallen leaves of last year, and then digging in the plant and loosening the upper soil layer.
A plane cutter or rake will help to perform this procedure, and the depth of their immersion in the substrate should correspond to 3-4 cm. Properly performed actions will facilitate the escape of young shoots and accelerate the growth of bushes, which will positively affect crop productivity.
Spring pruning of all fruit shrubs usually involves the sanitary removal of damaged, frozen and improperly growing shoots, although in the case of growing young bushes, partial forming pruning is possible, the need for which depends more on the varietal characteristics of the planted currants or gooseberries. In each case, the implementation of these actions must meet certain general requirements for a particular culture.
Trimming currant bushes is carried out at an air temperature of up to +8 ° С, that is, before the beginning of active sap flow and awakening of the kidneys. The pattern of forming pruning for the most part depends on the age of the bush:
- on a planted last year, shoots are shortened approximately in the middle, leaving 2-3 well-developed buds on each branch;
- in biennial plants, only second-order shoots are shortened, leaving at least 6–8 healthy buds on each specimen;
- all perennial shoots are removed by 1/3 of the length of the bushes of three years of age, and last year's annual growth is not shortened;
- starting from the fourth year of growing on fruiting bushes, old branches are gradually removed and the tops of young ones are cut off.
Certain differences in the pruning process also depend on the variety of currants, therefore, when growing black-fruited, red-fruited plants or bushes with white berries, the following features of the task should be considered:
- On average, an annual bush of blackcurrant has 2–4 branches. During spring planting, each shoot is cut to the level of 2-3 buds, so that next year a wide bush forms. A two or three-year-old shrub already forms 5–7 branches, but only 3–5 of the strongest and most promising specimens should be left, cutting their tops into a pair of fruit buds (this will contribute to further branching of the shrub). In the fourth year of life, the plant can be considered fully formed, and to maintain its existing shape, it will need only a slight sanitary pruning for the next spring season.
- When growing white and red varieties, 3-4 buds are left on each shoot, which is enough to increase growth in the next year. In the second year of cultivation, only 3-4 strongest branches should be left, and the rest should be completely cut off (the distribution of shoots on the bush should be uniform so that they are approximately the same distance from each other). Further pruning of bushes is carried out taking into account the preservation of 2-3 branches of each age on the bush.
Did you know? For people working in a harmful environment with a large amount of heavy metal salts in the air, blackcurrant will be more useful, since its fruits contain vitamin P and contain a large amount of pectins.
Gooseberry pruning is an obligatory annual event, since ignoring the requirements for the removal of damaged, diseased and improperly growing shoots helps to thicken the plantings, complicate crop care and reduce crop yields amid emerging problems.
The basic principle of crown formation is very simple: the denser the planting or the prickly variety, the fewer branches should remain on one plant. The ideal solution is 12–20 shoots per adult bush, with the beginning of pruning to occur during the dormant period of the plant, that is, at the beginning of spring.
First of all, dry, broken, diseased shoots, as well as weak, unproductive and old specimens aged 8-9 years are subject to removal. In addition, without regret, it is worth cutting extra young shoots, branches low and creeping along the ground.
The spring gooseberry pruning scheme includes the following steps:
- removal of all shoots, except 3-5 the strongest and well developed;
- cutting tops from zero shoots;
- removal of old and unproductive specimens on four- or seven-year-old plants.
In addition to the classic version, there are other ways to perform the procedure, depending on the appearance of the shrub and the use of special supports to fix the branches. For example, during the standard formation of a plant, a bush resembles a small tree with a well-defined stem part. To achieve this result, you will have to remove all the lower branches, and form the upper ones in tiers, cutting the tops with levels. Such bushes look more aesthetic, but at the same time they may differ in relatively low productivity.
Important! Healthy shoots cut off during pruning can be used as planting material, but at the same time, at least 5–10 well-developed branches should be left on the bush, upright or slightly inclined to the side.
The process of further gartering is carried out in stages, that is, in the first year of cultivation, the plants are attached to the lower tier, and in the second year - to the second, without reducing the length of the shoots (zero specimens should be removed). In the sixth year of cultivation, anti-aging pruning of the shoots is performed, with the removal of all old branches and their replacement with young shoots. This option provides optimal filtration inside the bush and simplifies the collection of berries.
Video: Trimming gooseberries in spring
Fertilizing is needed for adult plants from the age of three years. Until this time, currant and gooseberry bushes are quite enough fertilizers introduced into the holes when planting seedlings. When growing on fertile soils, fertilizing crops is performed twice during the spring season: the first time before buds open (during their swelling), and the second just before the flowering shrubs, when they are budding. Of the nutritional compositions, both organic and complex mineral mixtures will be equally relevant.
Important! To avoid burns to the stems and young tender leaves of the shrub when applying liquid organics, it is worth stepping back from the base of the plant by about 20 cm. The best time to fertilize crops is early morning or evening, after sunset, although you can feed during a cloudy but warm day. .
Organic fertilizers for currants and gooseberries are usually presented in the form of manure, humus or compost and are most often used to fertilize bushes in early spring, almost immediately after the snow melts. The easiest option for making such nutrient mixtures is to mulch the trunk zone of plants with a two- or three-centimeter layer of humus.
You can also water the soil with a mullein solution diluted in water in a ratio of 1: 5. If you plan to replace it with bird droppings, then part of the water should be increased to 12: 1. Before use, the specified composition must be insisted for 2-3 days, and then used for watering the bushes: 10 l for 3-4 plants. If organic fertilizer was not used at the beginning of spring, then the mullein infusion should be used in the third decade of May, this time pouring 10-12 liters of the nutrient mixture under the plant.
Nitrogen-containing mineral fertilizers can be an excellent alternative to organic substances, since they also saturate plants with all the necessary micro and macro elements. The most affordable and effective formulations are:
- ammonium nitrate (65 g per 1 bush);
- carbamide (urea - 60 g per 1 plant);
- ammonium sulfate (90 g per 1 plant).
Any of these fertilizers is best applied to the soil in early spring, immediately after the snow melts and the upper soil layer dries.
The simplest option for the distribution of the nutrient will be its uniform incorporation into the ground next to the shoots of currants or gooseberries. Leaving urea on the surface of the soil is not worth it, otherwise it will quickly collapse, losing useful nitrogen. Ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate can be used without incorporation into the ground.
Add urea to the bushes is optional. An alternative to its application will be spraying currants or gooseberries from a spray bottle. Preparing a working solution for the procedure can be done by dissolving 30–40 g of the indicated fertilizer in a bucket of water. The use of this variant of fertilizer is relevant when shedding the formed ovaries on the bushes.
Watering and mulching
With a little snowy winter and limited humidity in springtime, the growth and development of young plants can be inhibited, which will negatively affect the further crop yields. It is possible to prevent undesirable consequences by regular irrigation of plantings (10 l of water per plant), and to preserve moisture in the ground and limit the growth of weeds, the trunk zone should be mulched with a three-centimeter layer of humus or lowland peat.
The essence of this procedure is to cover the soil surface with the indicated materials, with a dense placement of their individual parts. With further watering and loosening of the substrate, the mulch layer should be replaced regularly with new, but not fresh manure or horse peat.
The best option for irrigation fluid is rain water infused under the sun, and as for the method of irrigation, it can be either adding liquid under the root (using a watering can with a sprayer), or a drip version using special tapes rolled out on the plot.
Important! To exclude the appearance of burn spots on the leaves of currants or gooseberries, do not water the plants by sprinkling on a fine summer day.
Treatment of bushes from diseases and pests
Usually, the first signs of disease and pest damage are noticeable in late spring or in the first month of summer, but to prevent their occurrence (especially if cultures suffered from ailments in the past), it is worthwhile to take appropriate preventive measures. In the second half of March, plants are poured with boiling water, and sometimes they are immediately sprayed with a solution of Bordeaux mixture, copper sulfate, or with the drug “Karbofos”.
No less effective will be the mechanical removal of the affected branches in early spring: for example, shoots with swollen buds, in which the bud mites winter. Of the pests of currant and gooseberry plantations, the spider and spider mites, aphids, moths, moths, and glaziers are terrible.For preventive purposes, as well as in the fight against these insects, the insecticidal preparations Actelik, Kinimiks, Fufanon, Karate Zeon are used.
From folk remedies for the elimination of aphids, ammonia diluted in water is used, as well as soap and ash infusions (1 kg of ash and 50 g of soap per 10 l of water) and soap and soda solutions (50 g of soap and baking soda per 10 l of water ) In their absence, the possibility of using an infusion of rehashed cow manure, which will also be an excellent means of fertilizing plantations, is not ruled out.Among the diseases of currant and gooseberry crops, powdery mildew, rust, septoria, gray rot and mosaic are more common than others. As in the case of pest prevention, preventive control measures consist of timely cleaning of last year's foliage, removal of weeds from under the bushes and preventive spraying with the mentioned means.
If traces of ailments have already been found on the leaves and shoots of shrubs, then it is worth arming yourself with more serious insecticidal drugs, such as Topsina-M, Topaz or Fundazole. Processing bushes against diseases and pests is only necessary with a serviceable sprayer, choosing the morning or evening hours for the procedure, with an air temperature of + 20 ... + 22 ° C and no strong gusts of wind. It is not necessary to process plants in extreme heat or with abundant dew on the bushes, as the effect of the chosen preparation will be limited.
Did you know? A hybrid of currants and gooseberries is called yoshta. Its fruits are similar to large berries of currant, but the taste combines the aftertaste of both parental forms.
The main mistakes of spring care
Caring for currants and gooseberries is not as difficult as it seems at first glance, and it doesn’t matter about spring or autumn work. However, certain rules for each specific action still exist, and their violation leads to a deterioration in the appearance and productivity of these crops. The most characteristic errors of the described spring care for shrubs can be considered the following:
- non-observance of the time frame taking into account the period of plant vegetation when performing one or another action (for example, pruning should be carried out before the sap flow begins in the shoots, and bushes can be fed both during this process and before it begins);
- violation of the spring work execution plan (first, the bushes need to be cut and only then treated for diseases and pests);
- the introduction of an excessive amount of nutritional compositions, in particular with a high nitrogen content;
- ignoring cropping requirements;
- insufficient monitoring of the condition of the bushes and the lack of preventive treatments, especially in areas where there was already a problem regarding diseases and pests;
- ignoring crop rotation rules and close proximity to other plants that share the same problems.