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Gooseberries -- blossoms then rot before fruit

Posted by starsplitter 4/5 New Eng (My Page) on
Mon, May 20, 13 at 12:00

I'm hoping members of this forum can help me with a gooseberry problem.

Every years I get many blossoms, but the fruit never gets a toe hold because it seems to get some sort of blight or fungus or damping off. The blossoms open, then turn brown and dark before any fruit can develop. One year I got a single unripe berry.

The location of the plants is on a somewhat northerly slope that gets about 7 hours of sunlight and usually a breeze. I even potted some plants in a large pot thinking that would help as I put the pot into an area with more sun. Same thing.

Before I yank the rest of the thorny devils out of the ground, is there anything I can use or do to get fruit? Any fungicide that is safe for edibles? The leaves look fine. I gave some to a neighbor with more sunlight and she gets berries as well as currents from her other ribes plants.

Thanks for any suggestions. I'd like the berries for cooking and the birds would like a taste as well. And, I should say that I got the plants years ago from a farmer a few towns over. He seemed to have similar conditions and got berries.

I may have some photos somewhere on disk, but cannot get them now. I'm also having some login problems, but will try to follow up.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Gooseberries -- blossoms then rot before fruit

Hi starsplitter

I'm quit a bit warmer in zone but my garden is also north facing slope and my gooseberries get approx the same amount of sun yours do. Mine do fine. a few do get minor leafspot but still pump out berries for me. Only possibilities I see are that the variety you received is very prone to fungal problems and that you have been massively overwatering them. In pots I light water maybe every 3 days or heavy once a week. I use very large pots that have lots of chopped up leaves plus moisture crystals to hold onto the water for the plant. The few in the ground I don't water at all. I have learned to prune to a very open plantstyle but I did that to make it easier to pick the berries. Could be that helped to minimize disease without me knowing it.

What color and size are the berries your neighbor gets from her plants? that might help us figure out the variety and if they are mildew prone. Does he/she water a lot less? Is it possible for you to get more sun to your plants?

I love my gooseberries, but ignore my Pixwell as they are only fit for bird food IMHO. Love Black Velvet and Tixia most, tho I have a couple other new varieties that wlll fruit for me first time this year.

Pam in cinti

RE: Gooseberries -- blossoms then rot before fruit

Forgot to state that when I water I water the soil, not the plant. If you get the leaves wet when you water you are making your problem worse every time you water.


RE: Gooseberries -- blossoms then rot before fruit

Yes their are ton's and ton's of fungicides you can use. Go to a good garden shop and ask them what you should use. I'm still trying various products so have little experience. Currently I'm using fungicides meant for fruit trees. Trying different kinds, but as preventatives as I'm growing them in a very moist environment. So before I have problems, I'm spraying. I have to spray my cherry trees, so I sprayed my gooseberries, currants and elderberries too.
So try a product meant for fruit trees, spray now, after leaf fall, and before bud break in the spring. Many times the fungus takes hold in the dormant season.

You may also want to spray after heavy and long rains as it is these times a fungus will attack.

RE: Gooseberries -- blossoms then rot before fruit

Thanks so much Pam and Drew51.

I don't know the variety, but I got the plant/s from a old farmer and he was a cheapskate - that was 20 yrs ago. I'll be the variety is something like Ribes verycommonrunof themillii

I don't see the neighbor much and she seems to be rather unavailable lately. If I run into her, I'll ask.

The soil is some loam over gravel fill over woodland soil. Mix. I'm on a hillside (northern slope of about 14 degrees and with tall trees to the south so I get a lot of dappled light and light shade mixed in with the direct sunlight. I don't tend to water them, because we usually get ample rain, although last year was hot and muggy and dry.
OKAY, I will avoid getting the leaves wet if I do water.

Drew51, I will look into fungicides for fruit. Of course, now in New England we have a week of rain (typical of when the blooms fade and the fruit would begin to form -- it rains for days!

The look of the deadened beginning fruit reminds me of (can I spell it) Botrytis blight on things like peonies.

I hope that by the time I get a fungicide sprayed on them (when the weather clears up), it's not too late for any fruit.

One thing that I DID use this plant for: I've got a window in my garage under that is sort of hidden from the road. I want to discourage any intruders, so in addition to taking other precautions like nearly nailing down the windows, alarms and so on, I planted one of the gooseberries in front of the window. It only gets enough light to keep the canes and thorns growing at a manageable level for my pruners.

Thanks again, Pam and Drew

RE: Gooseberries -- blossoms then rot before fruit

Can any one tell me what kind of land and climatic conditions favorable for farming gooseberry

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