Ribes60 at aol.com Ribes60 at aol.com
Thu Nov 22 10:56:11 EST 2001

You wrote:

Can anyone tell me more about TIRA (The International Ribes Association)? 
I visited their web page ( http://www.msu.edu/user/sleightd/tira/index.html 
), but I am looking for personal opinions of the group. I see that Ed 
Mashuburn has contributed to their newsletter. They also do not mention how 
much their dues are. Luckily for me there is a chapter no too far from me. 
Also, has anyone heard of grafting bush type ribes to a tree form of ribes 
(R. aureum)? It would certainly make an unusual ornamental. It is mentioned 
on this web page; 
Thanks for any information you can offer on TIRA or this "tree" variety of 

My response:

Tom and all, 

I have been on the TIRA board for the past ten years and served as president 
for six. It is an organization that is  related only to Ribes. In more recent 
years is has moved more towards commercial production. I do write for the 
quarterly publication, The Ribes Reporter and am the Northeast 
representative. The dues at the present time are 20.00 per year and there 
have been some discussions toward raising that in the near future. There are 
reports from Europe, Canada, and the US. My input is generally towards the 
home grower and small commercial producer.

There is a very good grower near you at Milton, Andrews Scenic Acres

I wrote an  article about "Tree Gooseberries" some time ago and had 
experimented with them for a number of years. There are some pros and cons to 
the system. I still have about 20 plants. I grafted gooseberry scions to 
Jostaberry rootstock, to Pixwell and to ribes aureum. The results were 
somewhat disappointing, I had been used to 90 to 95% takes with apple, pear 
and plum, I got about 50% the first year and later improved to about 65 to 
70%. Some of the problems were that the grafted plants were shorter lived - 5 
to 8 years generally. Those on Josta often suckered badly and the suckers 
almost always "overgrew" the original plant. Cutting them off just increased 
the number of sucker the next year.

I grafted the rootstock at about 12 to 15 inches above ground and used a wire 
trellis to train the plant as it developed. I will try to find the original 
article that I wrote and send it to you. I still think that there is some 
merit to the process but would not use Josta as a rootstock. I also grafted 
to R. Aureum but the takes were even less. I had some pretty good results 
grafting to gooseberry rootstocks of cv Glendale. It is a very vigorous, tall 
growing selection (about 7 feet) but it is very thorny and suckers also, but 
not as much as the Josta. My theory  was that getting the plants up high 
would reduce the mildew problem, would make harvesting easier and would be 
the reverse of the "dwarf apple" process. I think it works pretty well with 
most varieties, but did very little for Hinomakki Yellow, you still get a 
plant that wants to grow horizontal instead of vertical. One big drawback is 
that if the rootstock died, you lose the whole plant, with a bush that seldom 

I also grafted at a height of 6 to 8 inches to form a single stem bush plant 
or a "leg" this gave about the same results as the tree form but was a little 
less work. You still had the "bush" but  a little taller and could keep the 
area under it cleaner with ample mulch or cultivation.

I hope that this has been of some help

Ed Mashburn

Northumberland BerryWorks
707 Front Street
Northumberland, PA 17857
Ed at currants.com
(570) 473-9910

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