Jostaberry characteristics: This new hybrid fruit has the R. x nidigrolaria species name. Belonging to the Ribes genus, it came from a cross between two Ribes species: blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum) and gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa).
First carried out in 1880, William Culverwell completed the cross, but the result was not fruitful. Later, in Germany, the hybridization was done twice until the fruiting one was created. Then the Jostaberry planting is done until now.
The fruit resembles its parents: blackcurrant and gooseberry. It has translucent, thorn-less, and deep black-purple fruits.
Its height and width could reach 2 meters, with branches growing in the middle of the plant or near the base. The leaves are round, three-lobed, and notched.
The flowers are purple and similar to the gooseberries’ leaves that emerge in pairs or solitary from April to May. Yet, it has no similar blackcurrant aroma. Lastly, the plant is self-fertile.
The ideal environment for Jostaberry planting
- Light: Like other berries, it thrives under full sunlight to partial light.
- Soil: three keys to the ideal Jostaberry soil are loamy, slightly acidic 5.5-7, well-drained, and rich in organic nutrients.
- Water: Water is equivalent to one inch weekly during the growing season. It needs more watering while the temperatures are high. Do not let it dry out during the first year.
- Temperature: the plant grows well in USDA hardiness zone 3-8. It comes from Germany, is frost tolerant, and could survive at -40 degrees Celcius.
- The required chill hours are 1000 chill hours. On the other hand, Jostaberry planting also needs high temperatures to grow fruit properly.
Jostaberry planting steps
Common ways to produce new plants of Jostaberry is by offshoots and cuttings. Once they are ready to be planted, here are the steps:
- Find the perfect location that fulfills the ideal environment criteria above.
- Give some space to other plants with a minimum of 3-5 feet away since its roots are quite competitive in absorbing nutrients.
- Dig a hole as big as twice the size of the root ball. The depth should be the same height as in the previous pot.
- Fill the hole with some soil and compost. Then water the Jostaberry planting. Remove all weak and small branches with 3-5 remaining strong branches. Cut the remaining branches leaving 30-40 cm in length.
Besides, it also could be grown in pots. The pots should be large to cover the spreading roots. Frequent mulching and fertilizing are also needed.
Tips on Jostaberry planting
- The perfect time to plant Jostaberry is during spring or late autumn, around November or March.
- The best to fertilize is in spring
- Josta, Jostine, Jogranda, Red Josta, and Orus 8 are the best cultivars of Jostaberry.
- Prune yearly should be done to stimulate vigorous and new growth and to give good air circulation. The pruning includes half of the new growth, especially those with odd angles and the less productive ones.
- Place a net around the tree to protect it from birds and other flying creatures while blooming, as the animals are attracted to the flowers and berries.
Jostaberry planting and care
Jostaberry usually takes up to five years to produce a large crop. A 6-feet-height tree can provide 12 pounds of Jostaberry each harvest.
To reach this point, there are four regular main care treatments to apply; they are pruning, fertilizing, watering, and controlling pests and diseases.
Pruning yearly is a must as it could prevent and cure several pest attacks, give the Jostaberry planting good circulation, and promote new growth.
Good fertilizers for this plant include bone meal, dried cow manure pellets, or compost. Using 10-10-10 fertilizer is also okay.
This should be given to newly planted Jostaberry no more than two years and the best month to give is February. This plant loves high potassium and a low chlorine level.
In addition, mulch the ground to keep it moist and the weeds away. Check the ground regularly by dipping fingers in the ground. If it feels dry, it is time to water.
Common pests and diseases on Jostaberry planting
- Red spider mites: their tiny bodies make it difficult to see them in the bushes. The clearest signs of this creature are webbing and mottling. To get rid of them, rub alcohol on the leaves.
- Cane borers: the first sign of insects is frass looking like sawdust. Another sign is the wilting cane tips. To make sure, split the canes and inspect any borers. Remove the infected canes to the ground before they spread.
- Aphids: mostly found under leaves or on stems, this little insect sucks the plant’s juices. It produces ‘honeydew’ liquid waste over the bush and makes the leaves turn curled, yellow, and fall. To avoid them, spray the neem oil to Jostaberry planting regularly.
- White pine blister rust: symptoms of this fungal infection are hair-like growth, yellow spots on leaves and pustules, and premature leaves drop. The only way to cure it is by pruning.