k9castleApril 15, 2008

I have very fond memories of eating Gooseberries right off the bush in Denmark, and decided to see if I could get any to grow here in Western North Carolina. I checked Raintree Nursery and although they sell the plants it say's "prohibited in NC".

Can anyone tell me why?

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Interesting to me, as I once tried to mail order a citrus tree while living in Florida, and couldn't. Apparently a different situation, though...I did a search and found this:

In 1985 the NC Dept. of Agriculture declared all wild and cultivated currant and gooseberry plants in North Carolina to be dangerous and subject to destruction. Also no person shall grow or keep any currant or gooseberry plant upon his land. (Statutory Authority G.S. 106-65.45;106-284.18;106-420; Effective January 1, 1985)

The reason for this plant being regulated is due to the White Pine Blister Rust disease. This disease is caused by a Eurasian Fungus, Cronartium ribicola. Currant and gooseberries serve as host for this fungus. The fungus does not spread from white pine to white pine, however; must come from a host plant. From North Carolina Cooperative Extension; Cumberland County Master Gardeners

Here is a link that might be useful: Gooseberries in NC Link

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:16PM
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mbuckmaster - Thanks for the info and the link. I'm disappointed to hear that, but appreciate the info.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:21PM
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Tammy Kennedy

yeah, BUT, you can find nurseries that will ship, as the laws are rather murky. Not only that, but there's now some evidence that other than black currants, the ribes really don't contribute that much to the blister rust problem- not near as bad as they first thought. They even have an ornamental ribes in the lathe house at JCRA, and have for some time. Unless you have some long leaf pines in your close area or are close to timber land, i wouldn't worry about it too much. I have some gooseberries, but they haven't done great here. I think it's a smidgen too warm. I keep them in big pots on the porch, thinking that will be cooler (it's 12' feet or more in the air w/ morning light), but think i'm gonna put them in the ground and see if they don't do better there. I saw one bloom today.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:26PM
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My understanding is that most states have lifted their bans on Ribes species after scientific research disproved the link between the newer cultivars and the White Pine used in the timber industry. NC is one of the last to maintain its ban.

The only problem I've seen with growing them in the home garden (gooseberries) is that if they are not perfectly happy they only give you a few berries. The bushes themselves are easy to grow, look great, fill out nicely - but the berry crop is slight. The best tasting ones I've ever eaten were growing wild in the woods (not in NC) and that clump has proven difficult to transplant.

Once the ban is lifted I plan on growing some.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Tammy Kennedy

Well, the few i've gotten from ours have been delish, but they certainly have been few & far between and i've had them for 8+ years. Like i said- gonna try them in the ground and see if they do better.

Not sure why all the great sour stuff- rhubarb, gooseberries, cranberries, lingonberries, etc, are so hard to grow in the south. I crave that sour punch! My new substitute if i can find a sunny enough patch is the hibiscus sabradiffa, grown for tea or jams. Made some jam with the ones i had at he fair last year and they are a lot like lingonberries in flavor but with an herbal lemony twist. Loved them!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2008 at 7:56PM
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