[NAFEX] Gooseberry on Jostaberry graft new question

lee reich lreich at hvc.rr.com
Tue Sep 6 09:34:25 EDT 2005

You might be interested in what I wrote in my new book Uncommon  
Fruits for Every Garden (Timber Press, 2004):

             Clove currant (Ribes odoratum, and the closely related  
R. aureum, both uncommon fruits of this book), Worcesterberry (R.  
divaricatum, with edible fruit, incidentally), and R. sanguineum  
provide suitable rootstocks and trunks for tree-form gooseberries. Be  
warned that clones of clove currant vary in their compatibility with  
gooseberry scions and in the vigor, and hence yield, they confer to  
those scions. In a Hungarian study, clones named ‘Fritsche’ and  
‘Brecht’ were best for rootstocks.

Although I have not yet tried it myself, it seems that Ribes aureum  
would make a particularly suitable rootstock. My R. aureum plants are  
much more upright growing than either R. odoratum or josta, and also  
tend to sucker less.

Lee Reich, PhD
Books by Lee Reich:
Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
A Northeast Gardener's Year
The Pruning Book
Weedless Gardening

On Sep 5, 2005, at 11:51 PM, Charles Paradise wrote:

> Quoting a post Ed Mashburn made in 2003 June 10 regarding his  
> experience grafting gooseberries onto Jostaberries, I would like to  
> ask if the system would have more in its favor if a Jostaberry  
> stock were found that was resistant to suckering?
> Thanks Charlie Paradise in Massachusetts
> Ed Wrote:
> I think that I wrote that article, it was in Pomona and Northland  
> Berry News.
> The grower was (is) Peter Howenstein in Switzerland. I had met  
> Peter through
> the internet and regular correspondence and was intriged by his  
> planting. I
> had thought that grafting gooseberries to Josta would solve a lot  
> of problems,
> such as getting them higher, opening them up (by trellising them)  
> and may
> reduce the problems of mildew. One comment was "wouldn't it be  
> great to have
> Hinnomaki Yellow berries growing at fout feet above ground". The  
> plan was to reverse
> the "dwarf apple concept" and have larger, more upright plants.  
> What often
> happened was that you wound up with the same type plant at a higher  
> level.
> There were several problems with the overall plan, gooseberries are  
> very
> difficult to graft and Josta has a great tendency to throw suckers  
> from the base,
> these grow faster and larger than the graft and cutting them off  
> produces even
> more shoots to grow. The grafts were placed at 12 and 18 inches  
> above ground
> level and I also did a number of them at 6 inches to form short  
> trees. Most of
> the grafts lasted about 8 to 10 years some longer and some much  
> shorter. I
> still have a few that are about 15 years old. I have lost some  
> enthusiasm for
> this venture and just prune and train the plants to a trellis now.
> I also grafted to Pixwell and Glendale, two easy to propagate  
> rootstocks,
> that are much more upright tall growing gooseberries with a little  
> better
> results. They were easier to graft and the sucker problem was less  
> than with Josta.
> Josta, at that time, was reputed to be immune to mildew, which was  
> another plus
> for it. Josta was not immune and was in fact more susceptible than  
> Pixwell or
> Glendale. I used several grafting techniques including standard  
> whip, saddle
> grafts and reverse saddle grafts. The gooseberry scions were  
> significantly
> smaller than the Josta and the thickness of the cambium were much  
> different, good
> matchups required a lot of attention. Bench grafts were not very  
> productive.
> I have lost track with Peter now, but he had a great planting and sent
> pictures, which I used in a presentation at a NAFEX meeting some  
> years ago at Penn
> State. All in all, I do not think that it solved more problems than  
> it created,
> and I no longer graft gooseberries except to propagate selections  
> that need
> to be increased and maintained. It seemed like a great idea at the  
> time, but in
> retrospect, was a lot of work that did not pan out as I had thought  
> it may.
> Ed Mashburn
> Northumberland BerryWorks
> 707 Front Street
> Northumberland, PA 17857
> (570) 473-9910
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