Growing currants

Asked September 17, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

We recently moved to a property where the former owner was growing currants. Doing some research and found out that growing them is not permitted north of the canal. Is this true? About 6 plants. Made some great black currant sauce this summer. Should I get rid of them? If so , how? Is there a kind that is immune to the white pine rust? Any advice is appreciated.

New Castle County Delaware

1 Response

Confusion often exists about the legality of growing gooseberries and currants since up until 1966 a federal ban prohibited the growth of Ribes. The ban was established because gooseberries and currants can serve as alternate hosts to white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), a fungus that needs both Ribes and white pine to complete its life cycle. This federal legislation was rescinded in 1966.

In Delaware it is illegal to possess or transport. Ribes aurium (golden currant) or Ribes nigrum (black currant). (http://regulations.delaware.gov/AdminCode/title3/800/803.pdf). Other Ribes sp. are allowable if a person has a Ribes Permit. (http://dda.delaware.gov/plantind/Ribes%20Permit.pdf)

I doubt you would have any trouble if there are no white pines close by that are affected by your currants. If you do want to get rid of them, you could dig them up or treat them with glyphosate.

Here is some information from PA:

In 1933, Pennsylvania passed a law that limited growing gooseberries and currants in certain areas; however, the law is not enforced. Therefore, all Ribes can be grown in the state. If you have white pine nearby, though, you may want to consider growing less-susceptible types of Ribes. Black currant (Ribes nigrum) is by far the most susceptible, and for this reason many areas outside of Pennsylvania still prohibit growing it. Resistant black currant varieties are available. Red and white currants are less susceptible, and gooseberry is the least susceptible.