The Q&A Archives: Currants

Question: Last year we had an abundance of currants on some really old currant bushes. This was a new purchase of an old property. After a really dry summer, I noticed that the branches looked lifeless. Will they come back? After all, they must have survived dry times before. I hope they will because we had some lovely jelly. What can be done in this case?

Answer: Currant jelly is surely a gardener's dream! Many plants shed their leaves early in drought conditions. These plants may still be alive, but all you can do is wait and see. Once they do start leafing out, any dead tips or branches should be pruned out. Meanwhile, if you did not prune them last year, you might consider pruning out some of the inner branches to open up the plants to more light and good air circulation.

To keep them healthy, especially if you have another dry year, apply 3-4 inches of organic mulch. This will help keep the soil moisture even. Good luck!

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