Why Are Gooseberries Illegal? (Explained)

Gooseberries are a fruit that grows on gooseberry bushes and is edible. The main sources of these berries are European gooseberries and American gooseberries.

Gooseberries contain a lot of antioxidants and have a lot of health benefits. Gooseberries are high in minerals like copper, manganese, and potassium, as well as vitamins C, B5, and B6, yet they’re also low in calories and fat.

Despite the fact that it has a lot of nutrients, this fruit is either forbidden to produce or considered unlawful.

There are numerous reasons for this problem. This is a question that many people have. We shall answer the question, “Why are gooseberries illegal?” in this article.

We also provide instructions on how to plant. Because this plant can be grown in regions where it is not restricted. Follow the advice in this article to identify the best method for your garden.

Why are gooseberries illegal?

Because these plants functioned as an intermediary host for white pine blister rust, a government law made it illegal to cultivate all ribs, including currants and gooseberries, in 1911.

This means that the disease must spend some time on a present, gooseberry, or related species before it can complete its life cycle and infect white pine trees.

The much-strong lumber industry, which is predominantly found along the East Coast and east of the Mississippi, defeated the lowly Ribes plant genus, resulting in the ban.

why are gooseberries illegal

The nationwide ban was abolished in 1966, thanks to the later development of new disease-resistant plant varietals, permitting individual states to determine which sorts of Ribes plants to allow. Growing currants and gooseberries is governed by a complicated patchwork of regulations that differ from state to state.

This federal restriction had a significant influence on currants and gooseberries in the United States, as they were virtually non-existent for over half a century.

Because black currants are still considered a critical intermediary host for white pine blister rust, they are still prohibited in many jurisdictions, but red and white currant varietals, as well as gooseberries, face fewer restrictions.

State regulations, on the other hand, can be difficult. In Massachusetts, for example, black currants are outlawed statewide, and local governments decide how to plant red, white, or gooseberries. In catalogs, you’ll also discover that nurseries will only transport these plants to specific states.

Which is the best variety of gooseberry for growth?

European gooseberry cultivars, such as Invicta, a disease-resistant white gooseberry, are larger, sweeter, and more powerfully flavored.

Pink Champagne is ideal for a variety of purposes with white currants, including juices, jams, and jellies. Consort is a particularly rust-resistant black currant, though it has the potential for poorer fruit quality. Rovada and Red Lake are strong red currant varietals, both in flavor and hardiness, and Consort is a particularly rust-resistant black currant, though it has the potential for poorer fruit quality.

Currant and gooseberry plants can produce for up to 40 years if planted in a sunny, well-drained location. Perform a soil test before planting to check if you’ll need to add soil amendments to alter the pH level.

Gooseberries prefer soil that is somewhat acidic, with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Early fall or early spring are the best times to plant. Trim the plant’s tops to 6 to 10 inches and cut back any dead roots.

For appropriate planting, different gooseberry varietals require different depths, so consult your local nursery’s advice. Plants should be spaced 3 to 5 feet apart in rows of 8 to 10 feet.

Weed control is an important aspect of gooseberry maintenance. A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch will assist keep moisture in the soil and keep weeds at bay. Mulch can be made from lawn rakings, compost, or grass clippings.

Pruning the older wood in the early spring, while the plants are still dormant, will result in three or four of the best canes for each plant, with the oldest canes being removed annually.

Where you can grow Gooseberries

The soil condition is more significant than the position in which gooseberries are planted when it comes to gooseberries. Gooseberries thrive in soil that is well-drained and rich in natural nutrients. In order to avoid being waterlogged, the soil must be able to retain moisture.

Create these circumstances in the region where you wish to plant your gooseberry bushes if they don’t exist naturally in your garden. The addition of masses of well-rotted organic material will substantially improve both light and very heavy soils. Before planting, thoroughly incorporate this into the soil.

Gooseberries prefer an open, sunny location that is protected from high winds in terms of location. Although gooseberries dislike the heat of a hot summer day, they do the most of their growing and fruit production before mid-summer, thus they require plenty of cool sunlight.

Gooseberry bushes are incredibly tough plants, even tougher than apple trees. Don’t be concerned if a late frost hits after the blossoms have formed. Even if there is a frost during the flowering season, your gooseberry shrub will be unaffected.

Gooseberry bushes are self-fertile, so you don’t need to plant two or more of them together to produce a good supply. A good crop can be produced by just one plant. However, when insects have access to gooseberry plants, they produce much more fruit, therefore don’t net your bushes before the fruit has set.

Read more: Why Are Golden Berries Sticky?

How to Plant Gooseberries

Nurseries usually sell gooseberries as bare-root plants for early spring planting. Amend the soil with organic matter as needed and plant the gooseberries as soon as they arrive and before they leaf out. 

Plant them about one inch deeper than they were planted at the nursery. Gently tamp down the soil around the plants and cut the canes back to 6 to 10 inches above the soil line. Space the plants at least three feet apart. 

Water them deeply during the first growing season until established, and more frequently in hot weather or the absence of rain.

How to care for Gooseberry 

how to care for gooseberry

Gooseberries are easy to grow and care for. Harvesting can be difficult, though, due to the thorns. Always wear long gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants.

Trellising or staking the canes prevents them from flipping over, which can happen when they’re heavy with berries.


Gooseberries grow well in both full sun and light shade. They require protection from the scorching midday or afternoon sun in hotter climes. It’s best to choose a spot that is shadowed by a building, fence, or tree.


Gooseberries may grow in a variety of soils, but the best soil for them is a well-drained sandy loam rich in organic matter. Sandy soil that becomes hot and dry in the summer sun, as well as heavy clay soil with poor drainage, are not appropriate.

To keep the soil cool and moist, apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch in a 3-foot circumference around the base of the plant.


Water once the plants are established, they only need to be watered if there is no weekly rainfall. Slowly and deeply water the plants.

Humidity and Temperature

Gooseberries require a chilly climate with at least 40 days of freezing temperatures between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. They don’t fare well in the scorching heat of summer.

Frost in late spring can kill the blossoms and ruin the yield. Plant gooseberries away from low-lying frost spots.

Gooseberries are highly susceptible to illness in humid weather. 2 This emphasizes the importance of proper air circulation, so spacing your plants 4 to 5 feet apart and prune them once a year.


Spread one quarter to half a pound of balanced fertilizer in a circle around each plant in early spring, before the growing season begins, and lightly work it into the soil. Gooseberries are nitrogen-loving plants, so using composted manure in addition to synthetic fertilizer is a good idea.


Gooseberries ripen on canes that are one, two, or three years old. The purpose of pruning is to have three to four strong canes of each age on the plant at any given time and to let an equal number of new canes grow each summer.

Cut out all older canes in the winter while the plant is dormant, as they will be clearly identifiable by their darker hue. Remove any canes that are damaged, deformed, or diseased. Pruning the plant on an annual basis keeps it fruitful while also ensuring optimum air circulation.

Don’t worry if you unintentionally chop out too many or the wrong canes; gooseberries are hardy growers who will bounce back the next year with proper care.

Final thoughts

Gooseberries are banned because of this. However, this directive has been modified, and this healthy fruit can still be grown in some areas. Hopefully, you will find the preceding information beneficial.

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