Pruning Blackcurrants

How to prune Blackcurrants after their first full growing season to promote health and productivity.



The pruning of blackcurrants after their first full growing season is arguably the most important step in cultivating healthy and productive plants. Pruning not only helps shape the plant, it will encourage better fruit production, make harvesting easier and ensure good air circulation to help prevent disease.

The best time to prune blackcurrants is in the dormant season, before the buds begin to swell.  Any time in winter or early spring is fine, just fit it into your winter routine!  Here are some pointers for what you’ll need and how to do it.

Tools and other equipment.

  1. Pruning Shears/Secateurs. Make sure they are sharp and clean.
  2. Loppers. Use for thicker branches or stems.
  3. Rake and wheelbarrow.  Self-explanatory!
  4. Gloves.  To protect your hands.
  5. Knee pads.  For me, an essential when pruning low bushes!

Pruning aims.

The aim is to create a goblet shape, open in the middle, growing off a single short stem and to keep the branches growing in an upward direction so they don’t bend and scrape on the ground under the weight of fruit.

Low branches.

Prune away any branches growing along the ground.

The stem.

Blackcurrants should be supported on a short vertical stem of around 6 inches long.

If one doesn’t exist, identify a shoot that will become ‘the stem’ and prune the bush accordingly.  Don’t be frightened of being brutal, this is the first prune after planting, and an opportunity to create the correct shape.

Remove weak, dead and diseased stems.

If there are any weak/flimsy, dead, damaged, or diseased stems, remove the entire branch at the base.

Thinning out.

Blackcurrants benefit from good air circulation so remove any overcrowded or crossing branches to open up the middle of the plant.

Opening up the middle of the plant will allow sunlight to reach as much of the plant as possible, after all that’s what ripens the fruit!  And, there’s the added bonus of making harvesting a whole lot easier.

Reduce height and encourage lateral growth.

Pruning to reduce height will encourage side shoots to develop and should bear more fruit.

Cut back last year’s shoots to about 5-6 buds from the base.  Make sure the bud below the cut is facing out to help maintain the open habit of the bush.

Mulch and fertilizing

After pruning, apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.  A well-rotted compost or leaf mould would be ideal.

At this stage an application of fertilizer will also help to provide nutrients required for the upcoming growing season.  Consider an all-purpose fruit and veg fertilizer in granulated form.

Note that liquid fertilizers are better applied during the growing season as they may leach away during the dormant season.

Regular Maintenance

Remember to monitor the plant for any pests and diseases.  If you are worried about anything, you can contact us for advice through the website:


January 2024