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Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Posted by konrad___far_north 3..just outside of E (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 2, 12 at 1:24

Like currants, black, red, and gooseberries without worms.

Do you have this problem and how do you control them?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

I love purple-ripe gooseberries and was growing "Pixwell" some years ago, when I encountered those vile and ugly worms you talk about. Seemed to me they struck too close to harvest to hit them with a chemical spray, so I did the more dramatic option... I dug out and discarded the plants.

Not the solution you were hoping for, I realize...


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

I transplanted a gooseberry sucker from my brothers a couple of years ago into a spot where I didn't think it would survive underneath a window on the east side of the house (very dry). SOmehow it survived. Every year the worms eat the leaves all off later in the season. This year I see its had some blossoms so we'll see it they eat the fruit too. They're a pain in the butt to pick anyways, the thorns are way too long and pokey.


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

I had never grown them until last year when I got a new gooseberry bush. I have a nice fruit set this spring and haven't seen any currant worms yet but I'm a little worried now. I did some reading and they're a type of sawfly larva. One report suggested a floating row cover as soon as the blossom is done, but only for bushes not previously infested. Another article said insecticidal soaps might be effective. I have used Safer's soap on my delphiniums to fight sawfly and it seems to work well as long as I reapply after rain.


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Thank you all!
Yes, row cover works pretty good, tested it last year on a black currant, wrapped it up pretty good and it was the first time I had a descant harvest, covering should be done just at the end of flowering time. I also wrapped a gooseberry, Pixwell I think, [purple] ..didn't wrap it that good but I could harvest some berries.
I have a couple more bushes, so this year I wrapped everything and did a better job,..lots of work for some berries!

A fellow from the shop I work is growing red currants out in Beaver County and he say's that this is never a problem for him, I witnessed last year when he brought in a home pie with these berries on top, ..they were excellent!
He doesn't know the variety, nor has he any suckers for me to try. Perhaps I need to propagate a plant. It could be location but heck, we're only 1/2 hour apart.

Since I love the taste of my black currants, and allot of a better fruit in terms of vitamin and antioxidant, I'm thinking to get rid of the red one's,...it's just too much to wrap everything.

I talked to a fellow from Fort Saskatchewan, he's spraying it with a chemical a couple of times. I don't want use any chemicals, also because I have honey bees. I did test for several years with soap and things like that but didn't help.

Just done the wrapping
May 31, 2012


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

I never had any problem with pests on my black currant bush; I got rid of it because I didn't like the smell of the leaves. I made some currant jam and no one wanted to eat it, so what was the point? I dug it out over ten years ago. Imagine my surprise when a currant plant sprouted in my garden a couple of years ago..birds, maybe? I left it alone, and now it is full grown and flowering. We'll see whether I still feel the same way about currants...


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Lots of work to protect the bushes, though will be worth it when you harvest a good crop :)

When I was on the farm, I didn't have much of a problem with the worms, but here I gave up, as the currents were so invested and always dropped all fruit and the gooseberries had worms in EVERY berry, ugh! I got the shovel out and ended the problem ... though, I guess I should have used a cover cloth instead.


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

The only pest I have with gooseberries is my dog who climbs into the bushes to eat them! At least she's brave enough to fight the thorns. I've never seen any kind of worms on them but then we have a lot of bird houses up and I imagine they take care of them. Marg


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

those are imported currant worms
they hatch from the ground/mulch below currants, jostaberries or gooseberries in the spring
they then start from the bottom of last years growth and proceed upward
they are strictly leaf eaters and will not damage fruit
although the defoliated limbs are unsightly, they will drop down to pupate
leaving all of this years growth relatively unscathed
having pupated later in the season, the moths will lay eggs for the next round
supposedly you can get up to 4 generations per year, i have only seen 1 here in the north

as far as control there is remarkably little
bt is no good as these worms are not caterpillars,
and the adults are sawflies. but they are not true flies
we have tried insecticidal soap, garlic and hot pepper spray to no avail
last night i tried a 35 solution of food grade hydrogen peroxide, i have not checked the results yet
tomorrow is diatomaceous earth trials,
as i had read in an old 1835 horticulture book they thought wood ash would work
and one other note was flour, so i reckon it may just be the dust that clogs up their breathing
either that or hand pick/squish

if you would like a benefit to these critters, try this one;
since you are supposed to leave 6-8 canes of the previous seasons growth, as fruiting canes
they leave these bare to better allow you to see and pick the fruit
and less chance of powdery mildew or mold with all that good air circulation

one last note,
if you have branches of plants touching,
they will migrate and infest the next one, etc.


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

forgot to add:
the eggs are relatively shallow in the ground,
so stirring up the top layer (without damaging the roots)during late fall supposedly helps
how this helps was not revealed,
maybe the cold or exposure to predators?

this year i might try leaving the mulch on past freeze-up,
then removing and putting in a separate pile
come the following summer after they have hatched out and died of malnutrition,
i will return the mulch


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

No, I don't have currant worms, sure, they look like worms but are a larvae.

The currant flies lay eggs in the fruit early in the season and devolps into a larva, fruit drops before mature.
I never see any defoliated plants on the black currants and gooseberries.
After this first crop last year I'm hooked now to cover them up.

About 90% were good berries, ..couldn't cover them very good because I have them along a fence.

It should get better down the road when less larvae overwinter in the ground.

Give it a try, you might get surprised like I did.
Sept. 8, 2011


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

at least you know the solution
hopefully you can get them under control

the currant worms were unaffected by the peroxide and the diatomaceous earth
although it did rain the next day after dusting with the earth

i think it will be hand picking this summmer,
then removal of the mulch in the late fall, dormant oil the branches and weedmat in the fall,
then see how the numbers are in the summer

i think if i can get these few plants cleaned up, i will be home free
because i've had black currants for years without issue
but this one gooseberry bought at a small nursery had them
i should have dunked it in insecticidal soap solution before planting out


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Konrad, the blooms of those Missouri black currants smell soooo good and the fruit is delicious!


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Is that what they are,..how can you tell ? I gave up on these years ago, so name wasn't important, got it from Wallmart.
Yes, the smell is sure something else, berries are wonderful.

There is the wild ones growing in the near by bush, seems the grow everywhere, suspect the problem comes from them and I can never cure this without the wrap.


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

missouri currants are also known as golden cross, buffalo, albol, colorado, california or cross currants
they are ribes aureum, more closely related to gooseberries than black currants
true black currants are ribes nigrum
if you got yours from walmart, they would be 'crandall'
which is a missouri currant

black currants have been used in europe for eons

Here is a link that might be useful: ribes nigrum health aspects


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

We had black currants in the home garden in Switzerland but you couldn't eat those darn things,..they were horrible!


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

I have bookmarked this page to see levels of the good stuff in the fruits, black currants are pumped with minerals and vitamin C, more then any other fruits it seems, 202mg vitamin C per 100gr., compare to others,...blueberries have 14,4mg, Blackberry & Raspberries around 31mg. Strawberries, 84.7mg.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fruit chart


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Hi. Does anyone up there in Canada have some of the Albol currants (the Canadian types of Buffalo Currant or Clove Currant)? A couple names I found were Black Giant, and Black Albol. I'm quite interesting in trading for seeds or starts of some of these types if I can find a source. I'm interesting in crossing different types of Ribes aureum and have been coming up with some interesting forms and colors. Anyone in USA with some interesting heirloom types of large fruiting Missouri currants, clove currants, I'd love to hear from also. These are Ribes aureum (golden currant) with non-fragrant western USA forms of different colors, Ribes aureum variety aureum, and the great plains fragrant forms Ribes aureum var. villosum.. which used to be called Ribes odoratum. Crandall is a large fruited form of this subspecies also called clove currant or buffalo currant. I have Crandall and Gwen's and various wild colors. Looking for sweet good tasting forms, or with large fruit and heavy bearing. I sent you an email Konrad. Thanks. Steve in Washington.


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RE: Lots of hassle to get small fruits..

Just read some old notes from the fruitshow I put down from years back on my black currant, a berry farmer who told me that mine are Willoughby

Anybody has these?

Here is a link that might be useful: Black Currant


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