Crandall black currants: transplant or start new bushes from cutt

margi1533(z8WA)January 8, 2010

I have two Crandall black currant bushes that are gloriously fragrant in spring that I would like to move closer to our back door. Also, the place where they are presently planted is really too small for them. One bush in particular has grown into a huge "forest" of canes that are now over 7 feet tall.

I have recently cleared a border that would be perfect new home for these bushes, but I am wondering if I would be better off just taking fresh cuttings from the hugely luxuriant bush and starting all over again instead of trying to get all the roots out and transplant the bushes as they are.

Also, since I have more space in this new area, I could plant more than two bushes if I went the route of taking cuttings. Unless this is a bad idea, that's what I'd like to do, but I still have some other questions.

How long should the cuttings be?

Should I just stick the cuttings straight into the soggy Pacific Northwest ground, or should I attempt to root them by sticking them in a bucket of water first?

Should I do any other pruning of the pieces I cut, or should I simply cut unbranched whips and use those?

As I recall, when I first bought the two original currants from Raintree, they fruited the very first year even though they looked like skinny dead sticks when I got them. I really love these bushes, with their beautiful fall color, terrific clove fragrance in spring, and tasty big black berries in late summer.

Thanks for any answers you can give to my questions.

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I am not familiar with the variety Crandall but blackcurrants are one of the easiest shrubs imaginable to grow from cuttings. Cut some 12 inch lengths at any time of the year and stick them in the ground. They will grow. (Forget the bucket of water.) I sometimes use blackcurrant cuttings as pea sticks and by the time the peas are finished I have a row of new currant bushes. In fact I now avoid using currant sticks because I end up having to haul out well rooted shrubs I don't need. By the way if you have a forest of 7 foot canes maybe you need to prune. BCs are easy to prune. Just remove all the stems which fruited last summer. I find the easiest way to prune them is to harvest by cutting whole stems of ripe fruit and sit somewhere comfortable to strip off the berries. You avoid hours of shuffling amongst the bushes with a bent back and you remove the old wood all in one process. WARNING - this advice about cuttings is obviously predicated on your having healthy parent currants free of virus.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 12:40PM
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margi1533(z8WA)

Thank you so much, Flora, for the encouragement to do what I hoped I could do: start over with fresh new cuttings.

Also, thanks for the advice about pruning. The "forest" of canes definitely needs to be cut back anyway, and yes indeed, it's a very healthy plant! And your method of combining pruning and harvesting sounds like a real back saver.

Thanks for responding.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2010 at 1:33PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I realise I forgot to mention layering which is very easy with BCs. In fact if you grovel about under the bushes a bit you might find they've layered themselves in places.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 11:37AM
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