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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Rooting black currants

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  • From: Douglas Woodard <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Rooting black currants
  • Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2010 17:02:12 -0400

From memory of reading, the classic time for rooting gooseberries from cuttings is to take cuttings and plant them as soon as the leaves have fallen and the plant is dormant in the fall, say about two weeks after leaf fall. I have rooted Poorman gooseberries this way on heavy Lansdowne clay at the east end of Lake Ontario. I believe the cutting length is supposed to be 8 inches or a little more, though somewhat shorter cuttings have worked for me.

From memory, make the cut about 45 degrees, remove all the buds except the top three and leave only those buds exposed above ground. I would plant the cutting on an angle of about 30 degrees.

I believe this technique applies to currants also.

Ribes is said to start growth especially early in the spring, so fall planting is helpful.

I have read that some older European gooseberries are reluctant to root and were normally grafted, if memory serves, often on Ribes aureum. I expect that the more recent crosses with good disease resistance would have some North American ancestry and would root more readily, but this is speculation.

My inclination would be to plant the cuttings in soil that was well drained but moist and safe from drying out, and not too exposed to harsh sun. I expect that near a north wall would be ideal. I think that a reasonably high organic matter content would be desirable.

I believe that layering is a widely used method of propagating Ribes.
Black and red currant plants that I have bought in recent years look to have been grown from cuttings, but gooseberries seem to have been layered. I have bought only a few plants, mostly from one grower.

The recently bred gooseberry Hinnonmaki Yellow from Finland is said to have a drooping growth habit and to tip-layer naturally.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

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