Gooseberry is a fairly hardy and disease resistant small fruit, however there are several fungal problems that can affect the plant of this berry. For a correct organic cultivation of currants, it is important to know the possible adversities and to know how to prevent them, in case of problems, to intervene quickly to contain the disease and prevent it from becoming an epidemic on a larger scale.
The plant diseases discussed in this article affect all varieties of currants: red currants, black currants, white currants and even gooseberries, which are part of the same family.
Gooseberry Plant Diseases
Powdery mildew or bad powdery mildew . A disease well known to gardeners because it frequently affects pumpkins and zucchini, not everyone knows that there is also a strain of powdery mildew that is harmful to currants and currants. This disease is easily recognized by the characteristic white powder on the leaf. The greatest damage occurs if the currant falls ill before harvesting, indeed when the plant is affected, the fruiting is affected, the currant produces few clusters and generally very small berries which tend to split.
Botrytis (botrytis cinerea) or gray mold. This disease generally affects the fruits and can be recognized by a patina of gray mold that covers them, damaging them. Blackcurrant berries can be infected with botrytis not only on the plant, especially during flowering, but also after harvesting. In this sense, it is important to pick the dried berries so as not to run the risk of developing gray mold.
anthracnose . Like botrytis, anthracnose is a fungus that mainly affects currant berries and remains on the shoots. The affected fruits dry up and fall, to get rid of the fungus it is often necessary to prune the plant, in particular by cutting the small branches on which the dry clusters were.
Anthracnose spores can also affect black currant leaves, the infection can be recognized by small brown spots. In this case, in addition to pruning the affected part of the plant, it is a good idea to remove the infected leaves, even if they have fallen.
Verticillium . Verticillium is a fungus that attacks various berries: in addition to currants and gooseberries, it can also affect raspberries and brambles. Plants with verticillium wilt as if dehydrated.
Eutypiosis. A stem-affecting fungus attacks not only gooseberries but also vines and other fruit trees, usually affecting the oldest branches. A frequent vector of this disease are pruning wounds, the spores take advantage of this to infect the inside of the branch. In the event of an attack, the leaves and clusters dry on the affected branch until it dies. If this problem is detected, the affected branches must be cut by eliminating them. Copper is useful in healing wounds to protect the healthy part of the black currant plant.
Currant disease prevention
The diseases that affect gooseberries, from gray mold to powdery mildew, are mainly problems of a fungal nature, which proliferate when there is excessive humidity and stagnation of water in the soil. Good soil management and good irrigation are enough to prevent most problems. Here are some helpful tips to reduce the risk of mold and mildew:
Work the soil by digging deeply before planting.
Make sure the soil is draining (if necessary, provide drainage channels for water and add sand to the soil to make it less clay).
Zapping periodically, avoiding compaction of an upper crust to the ground.
Do not use fresh compost or manure, only mature fertilizers, which have rested for a few months in the mound.
Avoid getting too wet and don’t do it during hot hours, preferably at night or very early in the morning.
Take care when pruning gooseberries to make clean, clean cuts.
Always sanitize secateurs between plants.
If the symptom of a fungal disease is detected, it is essential to take immediate precautions to prevent its spread. If the disease is localized in one part of the plant, it must be eliminated by drastic pruning, if the whole plant is affected by the fungus, it must be eradicated.