Blackcurrants need pruning immediately after harvest so that they can produce their full yield again next year. The tasty fruits can be cultivated both as a shrub and as a standard in the garden. Proper pruning is critical to harvest and shape. A tree gets a different pruning than a shrub or even a whole hedge. The correct instructions for cutting black currants are given below.

pruning important

Pruning is particularly important for currants, because only then can a high yield be expected from the harvest next year. Because the older the branches of the fruit are, the fewer flowers are formed. As a rule, only the young shoots bear many berries. Therefore, the harvested, older shoots should be removed every year to make room for younger shoots. It is also important to use the right cutting technique. In addition, a distinction should be made between black currants and the white and red berries, as the fruits grow on different shoots here.


Pruning shears are required for cutting the thin twigs and shoots of a shrub or high stem, pruning shears can be used for the thicker branches. The tools used should also be sharp and disinfected. Otherwise, the plants could suffer the following damage:

  • a fuzzy tool frays the interfaces
  • the wound gets bigger
  • Bacteria, viruses and fungi penetrate more easily
  • Bacteria and fungi cling to unclean tools
  • are transferred directly to the wound when cutting
Tip: The tool can be treated with pure alcohol from the pharmacy or with a special disinfectant from the garden store. Unfortunately, just washing with water is not enough for cleanliness here.

The right moment

The ideal time to prune blackcurrants is right after harvest, which usually occurs in summer. Because it is precisely then that one can best recognize which shoots have borne many fruits. These are younger shoots that can remain. On the other hand, all shoots on which little or no fruit has grown are removed. Of course, the cut can also be done later in the fall or even next spring. Then the following has to be considered:

  • always on frost-free days
  • it shouldn’t rain either
  • otherwise moisture and frost penetrate
  • can damage the whole plant
  • pay attention to already formed buds
  • do not cut these shoots
Tip: Standard trees are generally cut in the spring. There should be no more frosty nights to be expected.

cutting shrubs

When black currants are cultivated as shrubs, the fruit grows on the annual shoots that have grown out of the main shoots. The young shoots should therefore be left standing, while the older main shoots can be cut back to create space for new, young shoots. In order to increase the harvest yield of blackcurrants, the following steps should therefore be taken:

  • Shorten the main shoots vigorously
  • so many new shoots are formed
  • Cut off the main shoots above the third side shoot
  • after two to three years remove the main shoots completely
  • after three years fewer side shoots are formed
  • choose four to five new shoots every year
  • pull these as new main shoots

It makes sense if there are about ten to twelve main shoots on a bush that are not older than three years. This ensures a rich harvest.

Tip: After harvesting, the long side shoots can be tied together at the top. This can result in particularly strong branches, which will produce large but also many fruits.

care cut

In addition to the cut to promote the yield of the harvest, an annual care cut should not be omitted. This usually takes place after the harvest in summer, but can also take place at any other time of the year if the day is frost-free and dry. This can also be done at the same time as the main cut. When it comes to trimming, you should pay particular attention to the following:

  • Check the shrub for dead shoots
  • cut them out entirely
  • also weak or diseased branches and twigs
  • are clipped right at the base

Currants often suffer from red pustule disease or columnar rust. The affected branches can be removed at any time of the year to prevent further damage to the plant. The diseased shoots should not be disposed of on the compost, because from here the disease can spread throughout the garden. It is better to dispose of the cutting waste in the residual waste.

Tip: It is important that all damaged shoots are removed immediately. Because these weaken the bushes, the currant can no longer put its strength into the formation of new shoots and thus new fruits.

Cut high trunk

A blackcurrant cultivated as a standard tree naturally looks more decorative and requires less space in the garden than a currant bush, but unfortunately it is not as long-lived and produces less yield. The high trunk is raised and cut as follows:

  • choose a strong main shoot
  • clip all others directly to base
  • Tie growth aid for straight growth
  • Also cut the top of the selected shoot
  • leave four to five shoots from the main shoot
  • ideally grow upwards
  • this is where the crown comes from
  • Cut off the side shoots after each harvest
  • Leave the main shoots in the form of a crown
  • after three years cut completely at the trunk

Since new shoots are constantly growing from the base, they have to be cut back again and again so that the tree remains a tree. If this is not done, the shoots growing from the base will destroy the image of the high trunk. It is easier if you use a tree from a garden store, because it has been grafted and only grows in the crown.

Tip: The scaffolding branches are all brought to the same length, then a round shape remains. However, it should also be noted that the shoots of many fruits could break off, so they should never grow too long and should be shortened regularly.

Pruning blackcurrants should not be seen as useless work. Regular pruning every year keeps the shrub healthy and ensures a bountiful harvest. Pruning can be done in summer, autumn or spring, although it is easier for the hobby gardener to identify and remove the right shoots immediately after harvest.

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