2

I want to give my new redcurrant plant the absolute best chance of not being attacked or infested with insects, so I have the idea to put a warming cap/fleece cover on the plant to keep insects and birds out. In England there isn't a huge amount of sun, but a good amount during spring/summer. Could the plant suffer or get too hot from using the fleece covering during spring and summer? Or would it be fine? It is fleece so it is breathable and not plastic.

The kind of fleece I would be using is this, it's not the thick clothing type fleece if that's what you were thinking - is this the row cloth you were talking about? Since this is what I've got, will this be ok? if you understand what I was referring to now?

fleece covering

I'm not sure insects it would be since there are none right now, but I've struggled with these green aphids/black fly type insects on my wild strawberry plants I've also had in pots, and I'm worried that they'll decide to live on and infest the redcurrant plant. I'm also in general just worried about any kind of insect or worm deciding to make the berries their home, since several months ago at a completely different house I saw how easily worms infested a huge blackberry bush at another house in the town where I live.

I do not know regarding white pines unfortunately. There are pine trees in this town but not close to my garden.

thank you @Ecnerwal - I also heard about that but thought while it's not fruiting, the covering could be ok. Or would it be detrimental to the production of berries/pollinating even when its not fruiting?

  • 3
    If you want fruit, you generally need to let the pollinators get to the plant. – Ecnerwal Apr 18 '17 at 15:31
  • @Ecnerwal good point, and one I forgot to mention! – Bamboo Apr 18 '17 at 17:02
  • @Ecnerwal correct. Time for "the birds and bees talk" with regard to plants ;-) – Stephie Apr 18 '17 at 20:25
4

Not a good idea - fleece will likely encourage fungal infection, will block or filter any available sunlight and daylight, and reduce the plant's capacity for photosynthesis, plus, unless its tied tightly round the plant (which will likely damage the plant anyway), is very unlikely to keep out aphids.

You can construct a small fruit cage later on to try to prevent bird damage to the fruits - for more information on blackcurrant pests and diseases, and how to control or deal with them, see here http://www.gardenfocused.co.uk/fruitarticles/blackcurrants/blackcurrant-pest.php

You may find you don't get any major problems anyway, especially if your blackcurrant is growing in a mixed planting area.

UPDATE

No, the fleece shown in your photo won't be alright - just leave the plant be, let it grow naturally outdoors as it's meant to, it needs unrestricted access to air, pollinating insects and that precious and relatively rare commodity in England, sunlight, and it doesn't matter whether it's a redcurrant, blackcurrant or any other kind of plant, they should not be covered up in this way throughout the growing season. Deal with any problems it may (or may not) get as it grows. One really good reason, other than the ones mentioned, is redcurrant's tendency to get fungal infections - keeping it covered in any way will encourage this by restricting airflow and by the fact the fleece will get wet frequently. Fungal infection in the UK is a great risk generally to many plants because of the humidity and general dampness, and there are next to no good fungicidal treatments available to amateur gardeners here. More info here http://www.gardenfresco.co.uk/growing-fruit/redcurrants/redcurrant-diseases-pests-problems

2

As others have pointed out, a shroud of fleece will trap moisture and prevent airflow, encouraging fungal diseases. It will also prevent pollinators getting to the flowers, but this is only an issue while the bush is flowering and before it sets fruit. Depending on your location, a currant may have blossomed already. My gooseberry has.

The main insect pest that will give you problems on a redcurrant is likely to be gooseberry sawfly - I've had these on a gooseberry bush and they stripped it bare. They are quite big caterpillars, though, and the remedy is to pick them off when you see them. If you cover it in something opaque you won't have visibility what's going on.

These bugs however eat the leaves; birds are the main pest with regards to producing bountiful soft fruits, and covering with mesh/netting is the normal practice to protect your harvest.

1

another good article about black currant

I'd like to know what insects Droopy is worried about? If you know, Droopy, then you could discover their cycle. When are they most active, most insects have a short span of time where they do damage. Fleece? There is a row cloth that is FOR this purpose to allow light and water and air movement yet keep insects out during the time they...do damage. The 3 main problems with Black Currant will not be solved by covering your plants with anything.

Mites that infect your shrub with a virus, birds and a fungus are your primary problems.

Are there White Pines in Europe? Do you live near any White Pines? This plant, your Ribes, is part of a cycle with White Pine to host White Pine Blister Rust, a fungus, that decimates forests of White Pine. They tried to restrict or quarantine the planting Ribes here in the U.S. but haven't been able to see if restriction of planting Ribes has helped. But in Europe there is no restriction.

Row cloth (white, semi opaque, allows air, water and light) will hamper larger insects but not mites. These mites infect Ribes with a virus or the virus is already there to be spread by mites, flying insects and birds...doubt that anything can deter that other than vigilance with a magnifying glass and hopefully you purchased a virus free plant from a reliable nursery.
black currant gall mite

Bird netting (black plastic netting) placed over your shrub when it has developed fruit to discourage birds from eating your crop is easy and only for a short time later in the season.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.