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.
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.
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.