Berries are a wonderful fruit to grow in your garden: Not a lot of space is required, not a lot of work either, and the harvest is delicious and often bountiful!
How to prune them to ensure healthy producing plants?
Red and white currents grow on the older branches (2 - 3 years), while black currents grow on new branches (1 year)! This is an important difference to keep in mind while pruning your berry bushes!
Black currents can be pruned even while harvesting, by cutting of the entire branches with berries from the bush and then comfortably picking them from your rocking chair on the porch… Next years harvest will grow on the young spurs that did not have berries yet this year!
Red and white currents grow on older branches. So an overgrowth of young spurs can be taken away, while keeping in mind that some should be left in place to replace the older once that are getting too old (which should be taken away). In this way one always has a number of older producing branches and younger replacement in one bush (like a diary farmer keeps both lactating cows and calves and heifers for future production!). Pruning is done in late fall or early spring, with cuts close to the ground. Once every two years is enough.
Black berries and raspberries are typical brambles. The brambles are biennials springing from a perennial root system. This means that the canes grow to full hight the first season, without producing fruit. The following year they bear fruit and will die in the fall, while the next set of young canes is growing in order to give fruit the year after etc etc, keeping the rotation going. Best is to cut the old canes soon after harvest.
Enjoy your deserts, jams, saps, wines….