Blackcurrants bite back

You’d think that extra-fat buds on your blackcurrant bush would be a good sign. But…they’re actually the tell-tale symtom of the aptly-named ‘big bud’ infection.

Fat buds signalling 'big bud' mite infection in blackcurrants

Fat buds signalling ‘big bud’ mite infection in blackcurrants

A 'big bud'

A ‘big bud’

Big bud is caused by a teeny tiny mite that sneaks into the winter buds and sucks the life out of young leaves. The buds dry up and develop little or no foliage and flowers.

The little blighters can also spread reversion disease, which is not good news at all.

The advice for lightly infected bushes is to pick off the fat buds in winter (and dispose of them far from the plants), but for plants with severe infection the end is [recommended to be] nigh.

So I was a bit sad today to see fat round buds covering one of my three blackcurrant bushes, while the other two had a scattering. I decided immediate action was needed so I picked all the big buds from the two mild cases, and attempted to lift the third.

The bushes are clearly pretty ‘mature’ and the roots are hefty. I worked away around the base with my spade, and then turned to the big guns to lever it out. In went my fork, I heaved down on the handle, and SNAP. Oh bugger.

Disaster

Disaster

I shouldn’t be surprised, the poor fork has been left out in all weathers for a year. Funnily enough, yesterday I gave it shelter for the first time – I got around to assembling the storage box I was given for christmas. This irony is not lost on me.

The new storage box, secured by a bag of muck!

The new storage box, secured by a bag of muck!

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3 thoughts on “Blackcurrants bite back

  1. Thanks Digger! Blackcurrants are one of the few soft fruits that aren’t good straight from the bush, but I think they are so versatile in the kitchen. Vodka is a good idea. I do a batch of jam, and then purée and freeze the rest in small quantities for a hit of something curranty all through the year 🙂

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