Legalities of Growing

In the early 1900s the federal and state governments outlawed the growing of currants and gooseberries to prevent the spread of white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola). This fungal disease attacks both Ribes and white pines, which must live in close proximity for the blister rust fungus to complete its life cycle. Black currants (Ribes nigrum) and white pines (Pinus strobus) are extremely susceptible, and red currants and gooseberries exhibit varying degrees of susceptibility.

Although the federal ban was rescinded in 1966, some northern states, including New York, still prohibit the planting or cultivation of black currants. Some black currant types, such as the cultivars Consort, Crusader, and Titania, are hybrids that are resistant to the blister rust fungus. They can be planted in areas where other currants and gooseberries are permitted. Some towns and counties, however, restrict the planting of any Ribes species, so it is best to check with your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office to determine the legality of growing currants and gooseberries in your particular location.

Check with your local Cooperative Extension office to make sure it is legal to grow Ribes species.

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