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Gooseberry, bush to Standard


There was a gooseberry bush in my garden, variety unknown, very thorny, and in need of pruning, plus ravaged by sawfly in 2018 despite never had attacks before

Someone on another forum suggested turning it into a standard, mainly for ease of picking without getting scratched to pieces, and spotting sawfly before they get chomping

Here is where I started from Autumn 2018

Checked the bush over to identify any suitable upwards growing branches that could form the “trunk” for my standard. Here it is highlighted in red

Started by removing the obvious outside items

The pruning continued to this

Nearly there

All over!

Now it’s April 2019, here’s is the final result, flowers and fresh leaves. I’ve had to trim the base to stop regrowth and going rampant again

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That was really brave....and its worked! :)

3 Apr, 2019


That's interesting! I don't really know what you mean by a specimen though. My ignorance entirely...
Will you trim it to keep it like it is or let it produce side stems that you'll shape?
I brought a gooseberry back from the brink recently but it's the first I've grown so keen to find tips on how to proceed.

3 Apr, 2019


In that position I would have been tempted to grow it as a three branch cordon against the brick wall (if it is near enough) This is very successful, bears heavily and does away with fighting the thorns. It might still be possible to try to move it nearer when its dormant again.

3 Apr, 2019


SteraG, the wall is reserved for baskets with toms in, plus a grape vine that I only planted end of last year

D8, not sure on final shape, I think lollipop, with fruit up the stem if that makes sense?

3 Apr, 2019


Never seen that done. Interesting. I still think I'll leave my two gooseberry bushes to wander wherever they choose! :O)

3 Apr, 2019


We only have one Gooseberry bush which was here when we came. Planted for some reason against the chicken run wire fence. They eat the leaves off on that side and it usually gets attacked and ends up bare anyway. Luckily we don't actually eat Gooseberries! Yours looks good and really healthy and a standard would be impressive. Would it need supporting on the stem, when it was fruiting?

3 Apr, 2019


Pretty sure it will need supporting. I tried making a standard once but the main stem wasn't very strong and I gave up on it in the end and let it revert to a bush. Hope it succeeds for you - I was disappointed mine didn't work. Give it a good strong stake.

3 Apr, 2019


Looking forward to update photos as it progresses!
Given that it may need staking (it'd be annoying to get ripening fruit & then get it catapulted off in a strong wind) maybe an acute V of 3 bamboo canes might work? With some of the modern contact adhesives on the market, it'd be quite easy to lay down the canes in a narrow fan shape then glue a couple of horizontal bars across to reinforce & hold the shape.
Shame it's so blooming cold & damp here! Now mine is nicely established I really need to get out & have a look & see what's going to work for it

4 Apr, 2019


Not sure about the staking, I'll wait & see how it progresses before I do anything about it. I can soon knock a stake in if required

Sort of hoping it will just get on with it, tough old plants and I'm not fussed about it being "pretty", just functional & fruitful will do

4 Apr, 2019


Had a chance to read up so I know exactly what you mean by specimen/lollipop now. The only possible problem might be the time it takes to shape the plant versus it's serviceable life?
Yours must be an early or mid season fruiter as you've already got blossom & the leaves are noticeably glossy compared to mine if that helps ID it.

4 Apr, 2019


D8 given my age it's serviceable life may extend beyond mine;-)

Because I bought it ages ago from somewhere like Wilko, Lidl etc I guess it's a fairly common variety

I have got a red one Hinnonmaki red from Lidl, but it's nowhere near as vigorous as the green one
I'm trying to train that one sort of cordon, but it's bit weak & spindly still

Example here, but not that price

4 Apr, 2019


Brilliant idea let's hope you get lots of gooseberries.

4 Apr, 2019


Mine's a Captivator, mostly thornless, red dessert type. I was looking at it earlier (despite the rain & cold) & it seems to want to be 3 or 4 stems up the wooden fence. No rush to start clipping too soon though, I guess?
Just don't want to make the mistake I made with my blackcurrants by letting them get too big until harvesting becomes a lengthy task that's too easy to put off...

4 Apr, 2019


That's excellent Darren. Easy to prune, easy to pick, lots of fresh air an sunshine and it should crop heavily. Only sorry I have nowhere now to grow one like that in this garden.

5 Apr, 2019


A true standard is a plant of the Ribes genus of any currant or gooseberry in said compatible plant family grafted onto a stem grown from Ribes Aureus rootstock.

What you have done(and very well indeed!) is merely pruned it into a single leg. It will still sucker from its base and try to reform as a bush.

21 Apr, 2019

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