Transplanting currant bushes?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by hisenthlay, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    My friend wants to get rid of some black and red currant bushes he has in his yard ASAP, so we're going to go over and help him dig them up, and bring them home. I'm guessing this isn't an ideal time of year to be transplanting currant bushes, but it's now or never. Is there anything we should know, to make this as successful as possible? The bushes are full of fruit right now, both ripe and ripening. Will we lose all of the berries that aren't ripe yet, and any further harvest for this year, or will they still produce despite the shock? My friend doesn't know how old the bushes are, but at least 5-7 years is probably a pretty safe bet--the previous homeowners planted the bushes.

    Thanks for any words of wisdom!
     
  2. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    can't you talk your friend into waiting a while? the poor plants. even if the berries look red, they will still be quite sour, you need to wait a little to pick them until they are all ripe.
     

  3. karsan

    karsan Well-Known Member

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    Currants (Ribes nigrum and Ribes rubrum) are very common here in Sweden, and not considered difficult in any way. The usual planting time of course is spring or fall. I have no experience with moving bushes in summer, but I have planted nursery bought bushes in late spring with no problem. Except one time when I had fresh rabbit manure and was going to give them really TLC with lots of that in the planting hole. Those barely survived. Later I have learned that wood ashes, top-dressed in spring, is the thing.

    If you have to move them now, I would use common sense and let them keep as much roots as possible, and lots of water underneath.
    Black currant easily puts down roots. You can propagate a bush by just bending it down to the soil with a rock on to keep it there. It will put dpwn roots, making a new bush. Black currant grows very far north in Scandinavia, up to the Arctic circle, and does well in partly shade as well as full sun. So it obviously does not mind cool summers and long winters. It does not mind that you cut away some older branches either (actually you should after a few years, although I never get around to it). New branches get berries the second year. So do not cut away branches with good leaves but no fruit - they are for next year. Berries have lots of vitamin C, more than oranges - perhaps you knew that since you wanted the bushes.

    Red currant wants full sun here in Sweden (but where you are it might be different, we are far north, like Alaska). It survives in the shade here but give less fruit. New branches get berries the third year.

    Taking care of the berries: I would pick those that are ripe and almost ripe. Just ripe berries have lots of pectin, good for making jelly. Leave the rest on the bushes and see what happens with them after replanting.

    Obviously, if they did well at your neighbour's, you could give them the same conditions in your places. But I would guess that some shade after moving is a good thing.

    Good luck! Tell what happens! Karsan
     
  4. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Since you asked, here's the update--we transplanted the bushes a few weeks ago, and they seem to be doing fine, for the most part. Only the root system of one small part of one bush got damaged when we dug it out, and the branches attached to those roots have died--the rest of that bush is fine. We tried to pick most of the ripe berries before we dug them out, and those are either in jam or in the freezer now. Both bushes survived and are doing pretty well, despite the low rain and high heat we've been having. I do water them occasionally, but probably not as much as I should. The unripe berries at transplanting did not mature, and are now withering and falling off. I think it was just too much stress. But still, we got several quarts of berries from them this year, and hopefully next year they will be back full strength! Thanks for your help!
     
  5. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    Congrats on moving them successfully. I think what I would do is cut them back severely so the roots don't have to supply water to so much area. That way (one would imagine) the plant could focus on getting its root system established before winter.
     
  6. hisenthlay

    hisenthlay a.k.a. hyzenthlay

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    Hmmmm, good idea, I think. The bushes are about 5' tall now--maybe I'll cut them back to about 3'? Since the leftover berries didn't ripen, I guess there's no reason to leave those branches tall now. They are clearly surviving, but they don't look as perky as they did before we moved them. Maybe pruning would be just the ticket to get them back on their feet again for next year....

    Thanks!

    Oh, and by the way, we only took the black currant bushes. When we got to my friend's house, we saw the red ones were so gigantic that there probably wasn't any way to dig them out without really hurting the roots. Maybe if he still has them and wants to get rid of them in the fall, we'll try taking the red ones then....

    He also gave us some golden raspberry starts, and some cuttings from his Ukrainian blackberry bushes! For soooome reason, he didn't want to part with the big raspberry and blackberry bushes he had that were already filled with delicious berries. :) lol.