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Gooseberry Destruction - What's been at 'em?

Something has been feasting on my Hinnonmaki Red... Pretty much devoured everything! There were no fruits, but all the lovely green leaves have been demolished.

I wonder if this coincides with me spotting Shield Bugs this past week? Must have taken something of a reasonable size to do this much damage in a week.



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,616
    Very probably gooseberry sawfly caterpillars which I understand can strip a plant overnight (although I don't know where they disappear to the next morning! I'm sorry you have this pest, I've been keeping a close eye on my own gooseberry bushes for that reason.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • RaspberryKillerRaspberryKiller Posts: 156
    edited August 2018
    Hmm, I'll have to examine closely - might pop out after dark with a torch   :D
  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,224

    Try using a spray of diluted neem oil .... it is totally organic and is derived by pressing the seed kernels of the neem tree.

    See this link for further info.

    and this one for how to make it.

    I use it as soon as growth starts in April and I drench the foliage. Any spare solution goes onto the soil below as the earthworms are supposed to love it. I repeat spray every few weeks.

    Neem is best used preventatively .... but will work on pests that have already arrived. It does not hurt beneficial insects. Only chewing and sucking insects are affected. The main reason is that insects need to ingest the neem oil to be affected, and beneficial insects don't eat your plants. However, you can still kill beneficial insects if you smother them with neem oil, so I tend to spray late evening to be safe.

    It does stink a bit ... but is easy to mix up and apply.

    I got mine off ebay .... wasn't expensive for a big bottle which will last ages. At room temperature it is solid, but goes liquid again within a couple of hours in the airing cupboard.

    I also use it for lily beetles and sawfly on solomons seal and aruncus ....  and if the aphids get too bad on the roses.

    Worth a try.

    Bee x

    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • It seems I wont have to wait until tonight...

    I was wondering why my other Gooseberry plants looked relatively untouched. Upon further inspection:

    Apologies for the crappy picture. They've obviously made their way from one plant to the other. These were just from about 3 leaves. The whole thing is infested! They are so well camouflaged you don't even see them unless close up.

    I will definitely give the Neem oil a try. Whilst there isn't much more to expect from the Gooseberry bushes this year, not sure encouraging a whole host of sawflies is such a good idea.

  • Bee witchedBee witched Posts: 1,224
    Hi @RaspberryKiller,

    Another thing I'm going to try early next spring is to cover the soil beneath bushes with a layer of chopped up comfrey leaves. Apparently the final generation each year will overwinter as pupae in the soil .... so a mulch might make life difficult for them. The bushes will should benefit from the comfrey.

    Bee x
    Gardener and beekeeper in beautiful Scottish Borders  

    A single bee creates just one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • I shall also give that a go! 
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