Gooseberry mildew

When we moved in to our new house we were delighted to inherit dozens of currant and gooseberry bushes. I should have taken more heed of my vintage gardening book, How to Prune Fruit Trees, as the gooseberry bushes were in no fit shape to render mature fruits. They have developed a furry white powder mildew, also known as American gooseberry mildew.


These bushes are very old and seem to have remained unpruned for a few years. We will tackle the mildew in a number of steps:

– Remove infected branches now
– In winter, remove all old wood branches down to the ground
– Keep this year’s branches, as they will provide fruit next year
– Aim for goblet shaped bush with ample circulation between branches
– Resist temptation to leave branches, resulting in more but smaller fruit
– In Spring remove all but 3 strongest shoots, removing others
– Keep ground free of weeds and well mulched
– If all else fails, re-plant with resistant varieties like Invicta


Have you had any experience with white furry mildew on your gooseberries?


9 responses to “Gooseberry mildew

  1. I’m afraid I don’t have any advice to offer, but it sounds like you have an action plan. What a shame you’re not going to get any gooseberries this year though.

  2. Every time I grow gooseberry bushes the resulting fruit, when almost ripe is covered with a thick brown fungus. The fungus can be washed of when the fruit is picked but it does not make the berries very appetising.

    Cure advice please?

    Thank you.


  3. Hi. Your two pictures are exactly my problem. Last year not so bad. I can wipe the powder off the fruit but this is a LONG job. Isn’t there a solution to this problem with a spray of some kind?

    Thanking you, Peter

    • Hi Peter, it’s a drag isn’t it? We gave ours a serious pruning in February to give them more circulation, so far so good. If that fails we’ll replant with Invicta variety which is meant to be more resistant. The chemical route would be to spray with myclobutanil or sulphur dust – but can’t attest to their success as we grow organically. Good luck!

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  5. Is the mildew caused by the fluffy white aphid type fly, seen in the country at various locations this year?

  6. John MacLaughlin

    Hi. I too have had a lot of American mildew on my gooseberries this year, even though the bushes were pruned and are planted about 6 feet apart. My friend on the allotment has bushes which are completely engulfed in overgrown grass and weeds about 4 feet tall and his are clear.. Cuttings he took last year are smothered in mildew even though the parent bushes are clear. We have also noted that mildew seems to only appear on the darker leaved varieties as all the very light coloured leaves on his, mine and other allotmenteers are clear.

  7. thank you for the mildew tips. It can surely help me.

  8. I have 2 gooseberry bushes planted about 3 to 4 feet apart one is afected by mildew the other is clear, both are pruned the same way and both are Invicta.

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