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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Repeal the Ribes (Currants, Gooseberries, Jostaberries) Ban in Maine

Repeal the Ribes (Currants, Gooseberries, Jostaberries) Ban in Maine

David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,001
Show any proof that "resistant" pines are resistant to this new strain.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 650
I'm sure those tests will be done now that this strain has been identified. When they are and these pines show resistance it will not be surprising as the new strain is just one that overcame a form of Ribes resistance. Having said that, this is a biological arms race and we both know that it's possible that mutations in the rust might some day overcome this pine's resistance mode. Having said that, physical protection from a thickened wax coat is a pretty good mode of protection. I don't grow Ribes, but being so close to the NH border and having seen wild Ribes on hikes I see adding some resistant pines to the genome in my area as a good act of charity. Are you telling me that this is just a wasted effort? Is there already enough resistance in our white pine local genepool and we should just wait it out? I'm opposed to planting out lots of clone trees, but adding a couple of identified resistant trees into our genepool here seems proper. Is there any work here at all to show what level of resistance exists in Maine's white pines?
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 652
BTW David, thank you for posting on this new strain of rust. I'm sure many hadn't heard about it.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,002
Rusts and slime molds can mutate far faster than people can create cultivars to resist them. Since all the faux resistant Ribes are resistant on the same gene it's back to square one.

David
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 653
Reading the link you posted about the chestnut breeding program it was interesting to see that they calculated they'd need resistance genes from 20 different sources to induce resistance to the blight indefinitely in the trees. I hope that the breeding programs in Minnesota and Ontario are also doing due diligence in their breeding programs for rust resistance in pines. Looking at their work it's not obvious that they are.

It makes me think that adding only a few resistant pine trees to my forest might be counter productive. It could give the rust an easier hurdle to jump. The fact that there would be lots of pine seedlings around without resistance would give the rust a place to reside while it mutates to tackle the resistant trees. Is there a workable solution or is the status quo the best we can get? Would be interesting to know more about how resistance works in the pine species that are immune to rust.
Jesse S.
user 29709632
Harrison, ME
Post #: 135
Just came across a patch of eastern prickly gooseberry on a cedar harvesting trip. Growing on the edge of a logging road, plenty of healthy white pines around...

https://gobotany.newe...­

Another good candidate for an orchard companion: shade tolerant, edible berry, beneficial insect forage plant.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,034
I have noted that there are a lot of Ribes around. However, that in no way means bringing in more is a good idea. Jesse, you comment is purely anecdotal and I'm betting you did not study every tree around to be sure. The rust is not always easy to spot. If you bring in more that are "resistant" that in no way suggests that when they cross with wild berries they will be resistant. Further it should be noted that when such crosses happen you may get "hybrid vigor" in the first generation but in the second generation all kinds of recessive genes are likely to express. Importing Ribes is a bad idea and not one bit different than what brought us chestnut blight, Dutch elm disease and many others. Pick the wild ones.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 696
Certainly there's a niche that Ribes filled in this environment and that the wild plants are now refilling. Once their population hits a certain density/distribution it seems that the ban be completely useless short of Maine paying for eradication programs, no? At that point I would hope the state permits citizens the freedom to grow these plants. I too see wild Ribes in various wild places when I hike.
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 1,035
Geez Greg, The answer is obvious. Grow the wild ones. These "resistant" cultivars are as big of a con as any cultivar out there and I believe in many cases a con is all it is. Getting hustled for $$ for things that don't belong here and often don't really want to grow here and actually are NOT better. I have some pretty stark examples right here at my house. Move plants from state to state or country to country just repeats or adds to the big mistakes we have already made. A recent example of that recently was that sudden oak death was imported into Maine and luckily caught (?). The other issue is that crossing with wild adds up to genetic pollution and not much more. We don't need that. Most cultivars are far less genetically diverse. "Selections" usually involve trade offs. Considering our agricultural plants have lost 75% of their genetic diversity since 1900 continuing in this vein may lead us to a serious tipping point.
Greg M.
user 3541854
Acton, ME
Post #: 697
Good points. Particularly in this case there's a clear danger we can point to in moving plants from state to state. Clean seed seems like the safest approach if the state were to allow this legally. I think people are afraid that growing perennials from seed will result in poor plants, but I think seed offers a lot more promise for plants that will be best fit for a location. The diversity you see when you grow from seed is also much more interesting.
Are any of our wild Ribes productive and of high quality?
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