I Saw, I Picked, I Squished

Sawfly larvae devour the leaves of a gooseberry bush.

This is the second consecutive year I have had to pluck mass infestations of sawfly larvae off the gooseberries. It is one of the most time-consuming and least productive of garden chores. Even if you get all the little chompers, as long as there is one tasty leaf left on your plant, another sawfly will come along and lay her eggs. You may as well leave them to it. This year, I dug out two of the bushes, leaving only one, which will be easier to monitor and debug. A couple of things I may try next year: stripping off the lower leaves, where the infestations start; planting garlic around the bush (can’t hurt); laying newspaper or barrier cloth under the bush (to catch the larvae once I’ve shaken them off the leaves).

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