[NAFEX] Decline in vigor of red currants

Brungardt, Sam Sam.Brungardt at state.mn.us
Tue Apr 19 17:29:08 EDT 2005

I wanted to ask fellow listers' assessment of a situation that I see
developing in my red currant planting, which I put in maybe 10 to 12
years ago.

In particular, I'm seeing a decline in vigor of the Jonkheer van Tets,
Redstart and Rovada plants (I have one of each and the Redstart seems
the most affected), to the point that they are not producing enough
replacement branches.  I suspect that the problem is poor stewardship.

The first several years I had the currants in, I mulched them very
heavily with composted ensilage/dairy bedding each spring.  This did a
fairly good job of keeping the quackgrass at bay.  However, I lost my
source of mulch a couple of years ago and have not found an alternative
mulching material or been able to keep the quackgrass down very well.

Would the competition affect the currant bushes to the extent that they
would not replace the old branches I've pruned out with new growth?  Or,
do the European cultivars of red currant, which bear so heavily, not
compete as well with weeds?  Or, could they be weakened by the cold
North American winters? -- Sam Brungardt, St. Paul, Minn. (USDA
hardiness zone 4b)
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