My red currants are dying

Asked June 22, 2020, 4:20 PM EDT

I saw some of this at the end of last year picking season - the plant was loosing leaves, mostly just after being picked. This year, the leaves are dropping and we are weeks ahead of picking season. These plants have always been so unstoppable! Any idea what is wrong and what can be done about it? I'm attaching pictures. The first is hard to see, but a chunk of the branches have already lost leaves, and fruit has dropped or not developing. The other pictures show the disease in progress.

Scott County Minnesota

1 Response

Hello. Happy to help.

The most common diseases of currants include anthacnose, leaf spot, and powdery mildew. From what I can tell in the photos, it may be leaf spot but that is not a definite diagnosis. I recommend sending a sampl e to be diagnosed by the U of MN Extension Plant Disease Clinic. Here is a link to their webpage where you'll learn about their services, prices, and how to submit a sample: https://pdc.umn.edu/

While you're waiting for a diagnosis, I recommend that all overhead watering cease. Remove and destroy all material that drops off the plant by either burning or burying it. Unless you have a hot (over 148 degrees for 3 to 4 days) compost pile, don't compost the material. And remove and destroy all of the material that drops off the shrubs at the end of the season so that the fungus does not overwinter on the ground and splash back up onto the shrubs in early spring. Here is more information about leaf spot disease; https://extension.psu.edu/disease-descriptions-for-gooseberries-and-currants

I hope this information helps.