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  • Saving / Pruning Goosegogs!

    We've been clearing the bottom end of our plot today, its actually a lot bigger than we thought, about 16' deep and the width of the plot, but very overgrown!

    Whilst cutting back the elder tree and hawthorn, and weaving the blackberries into their branches (a living fedge!) we've managed to find 3 gooseberry bushes, which are all looking rather sad to say the least!

    Two of them are about 3' high and very bushy and prickly, and the other is about 18" high, has only 3 main branches and also very spiney. The larger 2 have a total of 4 leaves each, and the branches feel very brittle.

    Ther are going to be staying in the area they are in, and now have at least some access to light (as they were completely covered before we started clearing), so I'm hoping that they may recover next year. We are planning on creating a path arund the bed they are in and then covering the ground with weed control fabric and mulching with bark chippings to keep the weeds down and give them as good a chance as we can (less competition from the weeds).

    Questions I'd like to ask are:-

    Should they be this bare and brittle at this time of year, or are they dead?

    Should we prune them back to encourage new growth or leave them alone and see what happens come springtime?

    Is muylching beneath them a good idea, or is there something we can companion plant with them that would be a better idea?

    Any specific care we should be looking at doing for them, any feeds that are recommended or anything else we can do?

    Any help, advice, hints, tips or suggestions would be appreciated!

    PS We've also a lone redcurrant bush that was at the front of the plot when we got it, it was also looking very sorry for itself with few leaves and very few berries, so it was taken out and has been planted in one of the veg beds temporarily, though it too looks like its dead! Should we plant it up and see whether it comes back to life in the spring (we do have room in the bottom fruit bed) or admit defeat and look to replace it?
    Blessings
    Suzanne (aka Mrs Dobby)

    'Garden naked - get some colour in your cheeks'!

    The Dobby's Pumpkin Patch - an Allotment & Beekeeping blogspot!
    Last updated 16th April - Video intro to our very messy allotment!
    Dobby's Dog's - a Doggy Blog of pics n posts - RIP Bella gone but never forgotten xx
    On Dark Ravens Wing - a pagan blog of musings and experiences

  • #2
    As the gooseberries are old it may be best to replace them however they may well be salvageable.

    Yes they will be bare at this time of year and if they are old and unpruned the old wood will be brittle. You need to aim for an open goblet shape to help prevent mildew and make harvesting easier. You should aim to be ruthless and start by cutting out all that is obviously dead, spindly or diseased. Next prune it into shape and aim to take out at least half the length of this years growth and any mature branches that are in the way. Don't be scared and don't be frugal with the pruning.

    Any prunings can be cut into 10-12" lengths, remove the buds and thorns on thebottom half and plunge a few of them either into gritty compost in a pot or into the soil on your plot. you will have free plants in a year.

    Incorporate into the ground any compost or manure you have, even chicken pellets or the like will help as will mulching. I advise against companion planting too near to the bushes as they are gross feeders and the spiny nature of them just makes like difficult

    With your redcurrant, plant it into its permanent position and lightly prune if required and see if it shoots back.
    Last edited by pigletwillie; 29-11-2006, 06:43 PM.

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    • #3
      If you rub the bark with a finger nail you should be able to tell whether there is still sap in the wood of redcurrant and gooseberries(watch the thorns tho)
      I've just bought a potted redcurrant plant and it looks dead but I know it will 'bud up' in the spring. (says he crossing fingers!)
      My Majesty made for him a garden anew in order
      to present to him vegetables and all beautiful flowers.- Offerings of Thutmose III to Amon-Ra (1500 BCE)

      Diversify & prosper


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      • #4
        Can't really add to what piglet says apart fro saying I would have been tempted to cut them back hard & for go the crop next year & try and build them up. but they they will soon let you know if they are going to grow or die.

        They don't like disturbance around the roots so if you want to plant anything I would make it something fairly permenant. Deffo take some cuttings though I do it all the time & there is always some one who will want one off you.
        ntg
        Never be afraid to try something new.
        Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark.
        A large group of professionals built the Titanic


        ==================================================

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        • #5
          Thanks for all the advice guys, we'll set to pruning them back (after using Snadgers suggestions on the bark) on our next day off, many thanks!
          Blessings
          Suzanne (aka Mrs Dobby)

          'Garden naked - get some colour in your cheeks'!

          The Dobby's Pumpkin Patch - an Allotment & Beekeeping blogspot!
          Last updated 16th April - Video intro to our very messy allotment!
          Dobby's Dog's - a Doggy Blog of pics n posts - RIP Bella gone but never forgotten xx
          On Dark Ravens Wing - a pagan blog of musings and experiences

          Comment


          • #6
            Bark mulch tends to retain water and nutrients from reaching the soil below and can cause soil acidification. I would be tempted to use a well rotted manure mulch and water more frequently. You could plant pumpkins/marrows near by or howabout some snowdrops for the winter. They'll have little effect upon the goosegogs.

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            • #7
              I tried Snadger's 'alive' bark test yesterday, and it turns out all 3 of the plants are definitely alive, which is good news! I pruned back the smallest one of any dead woor, and am planning on tackling the 2 bigger ones this weekend, one of which has a bramble growing up from next to it's main stem, so think we are going to have to dig out the bramble first, then try and prune it back a bit! Should be a nice fun prickly experience! lol!
              Blessings
              Suzanne (aka Mrs Dobby)

              'Garden naked - get some colour in your cheeks'!

              The Dobby's Pumpkin Patch - an Allotment & Beekeeping blogspot!
              Last updated 16th April - Video intro to our very messy allotment!
              Dobby's Dog's - a Doggy Blog of pics n posts - RIP Bella gone but never forgotten xx
              On Dark Ravens Wing - a pagan blog of musings and experiences

              Comment

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