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Thread: caterpillar heaven v gooseberry nightmare

  1. #1
    fran_james is offline Germinator
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    Default caterpillar heaven v gooseberry nightmare

    I wonder whether anyone has any thoughts. My healthy gooseberry bush was full of gooseberries until...this week I noticed something was eating away at the leaves. So I put down some slug pellets, thinking my garden friends had made their annual return. A couple of days later the pellets hadn't been touched, yet half of the leaves had gone. On careful inspection of the bush, I noticed each leaf was riddled with about five or six caterpillars. As it stands today, the bush is empty of leaves, the fruit is still there, and the caterpillars are moving on. Has anyone any thoughts, advice on what to do next A with the bush and B with the caterpillars should they migrate to another plant in the garden.

  2. #2
    Alice's Avatar
    Alice is offline Mature Fruiter
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    caterpillar heaven v gooseberry nightmare-19-1.jpg Don't know whay kind of caterpillers you have. Every year about this time we seem to get invaded by saw flies which leave the polygonatums covered in gray caterpillers. If we leave them or miss them they absolutely skeletalise the plants.:mad We usually have to cut them down and burn them. Shame as they are so lovely. Thinking about getting rid if them unless we can find a solution. And they are so expensive in garden centres. I think your gooseberry bush will be ok and will just regrow. As for the caterpillers you might just have to hunt them down and destroy them

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    I've had little green caterpillars on my gooseberries, they're the exact colour of the leaves and quite difficult to spot. I think I've got rid of my using the organic method. Pull them off and stamp on them. It did take agood few hunts to get them all.

  4. #4
    fran_james is offline Germinator
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    Thanks for your advice. The caterpillars were very small green ones. I think I might go and inspect other plants to see they haven't migrated to another spot in my garden.

  5. #5
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    andrewo is offline Cropper
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    Get them off, pick them off by hand, they will just eat all the leaves and you will lose the crop. Sawfly lay their larvae on gooseberry bushes and this sounds like them.
    Best wishes
    Andrewo
    Harbinger of Rhubarb tales

  6. #6
    Nicos's Avatar
    Nicos is online now 'Allo 'Allo !
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    The more caterpillers that survive will mean even more next year!

  7. #7
    fran_james is offline Germinator
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    I've picked the last few caterpillars off, but a lot seem to be on the floor. Should I use something to kill them? My father-in-law said there is some kind of spray you can get for these things. To be honest I'd rather remain as organic as possible, so I'm reluctant to go buying this spray.

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    sewer rat is offline Early Fruiter
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    Gooseberry sawfly will decimate the plant in a week or so and you need to do something with those on the ground as the eggs are laid at the base of the bush and you will continue to have this annual problem. I threw my bushes out two years ago - got fed up of nurturing them only for them to become sawfly central.
    Do not concern yourself with other plants in your garden - at least as far as Gooseberry sawfly are concerned -sawfly are plant specific.
    Rat

    British by birth
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