Besides careful cultivation, to insure the best of fruit it is
necessary to give some thought to the matter of pruning. The most
convenient and the most satisfactory way is to keep it in the bush
form. Set the plants singly, three or four feet apart, and so cut the
new growth, which is generously produced, as to retain a uniform bush
shape, preferably rather open in the center.
The fruit is produced on wood two or more years old. Therefore cut out
branches either when very small, or not until four or five years later,
after it has borne two or three crops of fruit. Therefore, in pruning
currants, take out (1) superfluous young growth; (2) old hard wood (as
new wood will produce better fruit); and (3) all weak, broken, dead or
diseased shoots; (4) during summer, if the tips of the young growths
kept for fruiting are pinched off, they will ripen up much better--
meaning better fruit when they bear; (5) to maintain a good form, the
whole plant may be cut back (never more than one-third) in the fall.
In special situations it may be advisable to train the currant to one
or a few main stems, as against a wall; this can be done, but it is
less convenient. Also it brings greater danger from the currant-borer.
The black currant, used almost entirely for culinary or preserving
purposes, is entirely different from the red and white ones. They are
much larger and should be put five to six feet apart. Some of the fruit
is borne on one-year-old wood, so the shoots should not be cut back.
Moreover, old wood bears as good fruit as the new growth, and need not
be cut out, unless the plant is getting crowded, for several years. As
the wood is much heavier and stronger than the other currants, it is
advisable gradually to develop the black currants into the tree form.