Gooseberries Falling Off - Knowledgebase Question

King of Prussia, PA
Question by vondra
May 16, 1998
Last year while the gooseberries were developing they turned brown (a cocoa color) and fell off. The same thing is starting to happen now. The bush does not look diseased to me. The berries that fall off are not shriveled up, they are very plump.

Answer from NGA
May 16, 1998


Based on your description I suspect the problem is the gooseberry maggot, which is the larval stage of the currant fruit fly. The adult flies emerge in mid spring and are yellow or orange, about 1/5" long, and have dark bands across the wings. The female flies lay eggs just under the skin of the gooseberries. When the maggots hatch, they burrow in and feed on the berries. This causes the berries to turn reddish and sometimes drop; a severe infestation can cause significant fruit drop. The maggots move from the fruit to the soil and overwinter there to emerge the following spring as adult flies.

To control them, you can place tarps under the bushes to prevent the larvae from entering the soil to pupate, or you can remove and destroy all of the infested fruit each day. There is no chemical control for this.

You must be signed in before you can post questions or answers. Click here to join!

« Return to the Garden Knowledgebase Homepage

Member Login:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by arctangent and is called "Sun brings out freckles"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.