Saw fly war

This year I was prepared. The first sign of sawfly on my gooseberry plants and I was out two or three times a day hunting down the larvae and squashing them. I’d already pruned and trained the gooseberry bushes into cordons instead of bushes so that I had easier access to the plants without tearing myself to shreds and this made it so much easier to keep on top of the problem. There seemed to be two generations of sawfly before the fruit was ripe, it wasn’t the best harvest we’ve had but at least the plants looked healthy.

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A few days away from home, a gentle walk round the garden to see how the British weather, local foxes and cats have treated our garden and ….. devastation! The sawfly had been back with a vengeance.

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Several cordons had been completely stripped and some huge sawfly larvae were crawling over the remaining bits of leaves. War was declared again.

So, I am looking for some way of managing these little critters. I don’t want to use man-made chemicals. I found somewhere that suggested planting egg plant below them, another site suggested sheet mulch, and someone suggested regular spraying with compost tea.

Have you any experience of this battle? Can you provide any suggestions? In the meantime I am back to squashing them as I find them.

Incidentally, the small bushes I have taken as layered cuttings in a different part of the garden are currently totally unaffected.

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