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Gooseberry sawfly infestation- any tips?

(7 Posts)
HillyN Sun 09-May-21 15:41:37

Sawfly larvae have been munching the leaves of my gooseberry bush. We only realised what was going on this week (never had it before) and have been picking them off and squashing them as best we can. The back half of the bush is virtually leafless, but is putting out new foliage at the tips of each branch. The fruit have set and are about 5-6mm across. Is there an easier way to get rid of the larvae? Will the bush survive and will the fruit still swell on the leafless branches? How can we stop this happening again?
Thanks for any advice.

Katie59 Sun 09-May-21 18:28:12

Spray the bush with soapy water that will kill the larve without affecting the fruit it works by contact so be thorough, you may have to repeat it. As long as there is enough leaf on the bush they will fill although it may take longer

Elegran Sun 09-May-21 19:12:06

The gooseberry sawfly larvae also live on the leaves of Solomon's Seal. If you have any of that, make sure it is planted well away from your gooseberries, because they will move from one to the other (both directions) and strip both.

If you don't know Solomon's Seal, it is also called Polygonatum It is about 18 inches tall, blooms in April-June, and looks a bit like a large version of lily-of-the valley, but with the flowers hanging from the axils of the pairs of leaves, and without the lovely scent. Very useful in shady places, under trees etc. I'll look for a photo

HillyN Mon 10-May-21 19:53:22

Thanks Katie, I'll try that.
I haven't got any Soloman's Seal plants, Elegran, but thanks for the warning. It looks a pretty plant and I need to plant up a shady corner, which is well away from the gooseberry, so I'll keep an eye out for it.

Tango46 Thu 13-May-21 15:17:41

I haven't got gooseberry bushes, but my blackcurrants have been devastated in the past by sawfly. They love the young tender leaves. I now use a solution made from foxglove leaves which are soaked in water until they're soft. The solution is sieved so it can be used as a spray on a non breezy evening.
This has worked well for me so far. Just avoid breathing it in !

HillyN Sun 16-May-21 20:08:26

I've just planted a foxglove but it only has a few leaves so I won't be able to use them yet- maybe next year! Spraying soapy water and regularly picking off any I can spot seems to be working- fingers crossed!

EllanVannin Sun 16-May-21 20:18:54

I had Solomon's Seal plants in a previous garden. A lovely old plant.

My mum used to throw a bowl of used washing up water over the gooseberry bushes.