gooseberry bush fungus

Asked June 6, 2016, 7:15 PM EDT

I HAVE A HUGE GOOSEBERRY SHRUB THAT FLOWERS ENTIRELY EVERY SPRING. THIS SHRUB ABUTS A MATURE SPRUCE TREE. I UNDERSTAND THAT HAVING THESE TWO NEAR EACH OTHER WILL CAUSE A FUNGUS TO OVERTAKE THE GOOSEBERRY AND IT WILL NOT BEAR FRUIT (which it hasn't for yrs). IS THERE ANY HOPE IN CURING OR PREVENTING THIS FUNGUS? THANKS FOR YOUR TIME.

St. Louis County Minnesota gooseberry

3 Responses

White pine blister rust is a disease of pines (Pinus). Plants in the Ribes genus, such as currants and gooseberries, can host the rust and spread it to new five-needle pines, but the blister rust does not hurt the currant or gooseberry. Have you seen any sign of the rust on your leaves? See http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/currants-and-gooseberries-in-the-home-garden/.

The flowering is a good sign, but somehow the flowers are not getting pollinated. Gooseberries are self-fertile, meaning a bee or other pollinator can use the pollen from a plant to pollinate the same plant. Could you actually have a black currant? Some varieties of black currants, such as Crusader, are not self-fertile and need another kind of black currant to produce fruit. If you get lots of flowers but no berries a mis-labeled plant is the likely cause.

I FORGOT TO ADD THAT THERE IS NO RUST TO THE GOOSEBERRY LEAVES, IT APPEARS ONLY ON THE NODULES OF UNDEVELOPED FRUIT. THANKS.

It still sounds like your fruit is not being pollinated. Common diseases, such as powdery mildew and anthracnose, would also show on the leaves. There are some fruit flies and borers that would ruin the fruit, but the fruit would develop. Here are some common issues: http://extension.psu.edu/plants/gardening/fphg/gooseberries-currants/diseases.

Do you see bees or other pollinators on the plant? Are there any leaf issues?