Gooseberries - American Blight

If you grow goosberries the chances are that you have seen American blight. It's a form of white mould which attacks young, soft growth and young berries. There is no wonder spray to get rid of it, and untreated, you will lose a substantial amount of your crop - possibly all of it.

The mould likes new, soft foliage and still air. Under these conditions, and with warmth, it can overwhelm a bush in a week or so.

The first signs are white growths on isolated leaves and berries, often towards the centre of the bush. You may need to put on thick leather gloves to pull the stems around to look for it.

Once you have American blight, it will be back every year, but you can control it. These are the measures which I've found useful.

1. Plant your bushes in as windy a place as possible.
2. Grow your bushes as cordons (not practicable with some varieties).
3. When the blight is first spotted, don leather gloves and strip off all superfluous growth - new leaves, unfruiting shoots, and affected fruit. Get some air flowing through the bush.
4. Lastly, spray with Bordeaux mixture. But note that spraying won't help unless you've got rid of the susceptible growth first, and allowed air to flow through the branches. Then check the situation every week, following up with more leaf stripping and spraying if needed.

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