Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pruning and bare root fruit tree planting

Lizzie C alerted me to the Sustainable Gardening Australia site, which has a great page describing the hows and wheres of bare root fruit tree establishment and maintenance — Bare Root Fruit is Beaut. As they say there: 'winter is the time to get down and dirty with deciduous fruit trees'.

Another member of our network, Tom P, has sent through advice on pruning red and black currants and gooseberries (a topic addressed at our recent workshop in Lizzie's garden). They need to be planted out during May to September:

'Prune currants and gooseberries when plants are dormant in late winter or early spring once frosts have ended. Remove branches that lie along the ground and branches that are diseased or broken. Fruiting is strongest on spurs of two and three year old wood.

'After the first year of growth remove all but 6 to 8 of the most vigorous shoots.

'After 2 years of growth leave 4–5 of the best one-year-old shoots and up to 3–4 two-year–old canes.

'At the end of the third year prune so that c. 3–4 canes of each age class remain.

'By the fourth year the oldest set of canes should be removed and new canes allowed to grow.

'Each winter shorten long stems that have grown too scraggly. Do not prune after spring growth commences. This system of renewal ensures that the plants remain productive because young canes always replace those removed. A strong healthy and mature plant should have about 8 fruit bearing canes, with younger canes eventually replacing the oldest.

'Prune red and white currants back to an outward facing bud, as is normal for most plants. Prune back droopy gooseberries to an inward and upward facing bud. Keep centre open to air and sunlight, leaving a few regularly-spaced main branches. Cut away any laterals that are crossing, drooping, or otherwise misplaced, and shorten for fewer larger fruits.'

Good pruning!


  1. Thanks for the link- looks like heaps of info and a great website!

  2. Thanks for sharing that link! I could really use all the tips I can get. I really think that its best to start your own farm so you could make sure about what your family eats!



We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)