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The leaves are coming out on the gooseberries. Last year I had sawfly problems. Should I be carrying out any prevention treatment yet? If so - what?. If not now - when? I would prefer an organic solution.

flowering rose

yes make sure there is open spaces in the bushes so as the air can flow between the branches (sawflies don't like this) and I would and I do give one spray to prevent them taking hold.

Singing Gardener

I'm afraid I spray mine once as well. According to the RHS website there is a nematode you can use but I don't know how effective it is.


Opening up the Gooseberry plant helps. I do not use any chemicals on fruit and veg and the only thing that I do to help is to look at the leaves every so often and remove the larvae - they tend to come out all at once enmasse, so is quite horrific. Just cut off the leaf and dispose of the pest. Soak with water to wash off any hidden ones and that seems to work.

Which spray do you use?


Singing Gardener

I used Provado Ultimate Bug Killer last year. It says you can use it up to 3 times in a year but I only had to use it once. I'm hoping that I might not need to use it this year.

Thanks so much - Coming to UK next week so shall stock up with preventions against horrors and buy a decent garden fork. Don't exist in France!


Limnanthes douglasii - poached egg plants are a really good companion plant for gooseberries as they attract hoverflies which keep the sawfly caterpillars under control. They also self seed so will come back every year and are good ground cover for under gooseberry bushes so keep the weeds down too.  And they are pretty!


PoddingtonP, I have never been able to grow Limnanthes douglasii, either in London or here in Norfolk. Is there some trick that I am missing?


I started some off in trays in the greenhouse and then just chucked the rest of the packet on the raked soil. They all grew and form a carpet which then just self seeds the next year. I don't know what the trick is, I certainly didn't do any mollycoddling. Sorry not to be more helpful. 

3 years ago I had sawfly on my gooseberry bush for the first time. The bush must be not much short of being 100 years old. lots of delicious fruit every year until then. I've tried removing them, spraying with soapy water, using a bug spray, and thinning out the plant. Nothing seemed to work. 2 years ago I had such a small crop it wasn't worth picking. Last year there were 3 gooseberries, and this year, despite spraying with nematodes, there were none, and the sawfly caterpillars were more prolific than ever, even spreading to my redcurrant bush.

I'm tempted to just get rid of the bushes altogether if I can't find a prevention.  

I lost all leaves and fruit this year despite spraying - Has anyone any bright ideas??


They pupate in the soil overwinter so you need to try and kill them off in the soil too, the nematode you spray on them can also be watered into the soil

Steve 309

I picked a load off in about April/May and then sprayed with garlic/olive oil emulsion, which seemed to work.  Shame I wasn't able to keep it going....

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