Vascular pathogens (fungal and bacterial) represent constant challenges for southern highbush blueberry (SHB) growers. N.C. Polashock, J. J., and Kramer, M. 2006. Blueberry stem blight has become one of the most severe diseases influencing blueberry productivity and quality in China. Otherwise, the disease will remain in the stem and continue on down to the crown, possibly killing the plant. Several cultural practices help prevent stem blight in blueberries. When cutting into the infected stem, brown discoloration inside the stem will be visible. — Read our Finally, use caution when mowing or using other equipment around the blueberry bush. Phytopathology 67:1481-1484. ... Botrytis blossom blight (Gray mold) Botrytis cinerea. Once identified, developing an integrated and comprehensive disease management plan will help you stay one step ahead of stem blight. Look for leaves that turn brown or red and a rapid wilting of the plant. Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Phomopsis twig blight lesions on blueberry. The fungus overwinters as mycelium in cankers on living plants. New infections occur following rains when tender new tissue is present … The most resistant cultivars are Murphy, O'Neal and Cape Fear, which have only rarely been observed to die due to this disease, although they will become infected on occasion. Avoid fertilizing the plant after mid-summer. Unfortunately, fungicides don’t offer protection against blueberry stem blight. Blueberry stem blight has become one of the most severe diseases influencing blueberry productivity and quality in China. Spores are carried by wind and rain from infected stems to wounds on healthy plants. Arrows indicate wilted, necrotic (dying) shoots at the base of a blueberry plant, caused by fall cold injury. ), native to North America, thrive in acidic soil and can be cared for like rhododendrons. Stem blight is the most common disease that kills our blueberry bushes in Florida. This will allow bushes to enter a natural dormancy and will reduce the chance of fall cold injury. Diseases caused by fungi (stem canker, stem blight, leaf spots and fruit rots) are of primary concern. The fungus grows profusely, producing a gray to brownish fuzzy material on infected parts. Stems killed by blight eventually drop their leaves after a few weeks and turn dark brown to black in color; these dead infected stems are noticeably darker than stems dying due to other causes. Does that mean you pruned out all of the damaged canes? Read our If any brown areas are visible in this cross-section, the cut must be made again further down the stem until all infected tissue is removed. Resistance of blueberry cultivars to botryosphaeria stem blight and phomopsis twig blight. When stem blight starts showing up in a production field, first check for all of the above discussed stressors, diseases, and pests. A stem blight-infected stem will have a uniform, light brown discoloration in the wood extending down the infected side of the stem. In most cases, stem blight finishes the job, but other stresses play a lead or contributory role. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Pruning serves two control functions: 1) It removes infections from bushes, preventing eventual death of the individual stem or plant, and 2) it reduces the number of spores released in the field by removing dead, spore-bearing stems. Phomopsis twig blight is caused by the fungus Phomopsis vaccinii. With good crop management, most blueberry diseases can be avoided. On stems, Phomopsis twig blight symptoms may be confused with symptoms of Fusicoccum canker (figure 2). While most losses are due to root rot, or to stem and twig canker diseases, fruit rots and nutritional problems can also reduce yields. A) Brown blighted shoots on blueberry plant affected by Botryosphaeria stem blight disease. The fungus often enters the blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) Find more information at the following NC State Extension websites: N.C. The most resistant highbush cultivars, Bluechip and Rubel averaged lesion lengths of 26 mm. Infected stems quickly wilt and die. The infection can also develop in wounds at the base (crown) of the bush in susceptible cultivars, resulting in rapid plant death without the typical flagging symptom associated with infections on individual stems. The disease has very obvious symptoms for which to watch. Botryosphaeria stem blight is the most common and damaging fungal vascular disease on SHB in the southern United States, causing stem and cane dieback and reductions in yield. In a normal year, stem blight infections become evident in June, soon after harvest in southeastern North Carolina. Phomopsis twig blight lesions ranged from 18 mm to 98 mm (Fig. These plants are frequently damaged by … Cultivars which are known to be very susceptible to stem blight should be avoided in areas where stem blight has been a problem. Aside from bearing fruit, the shrubs can be used in hedges, borders and even grown in containers on the patio. Blueberry stem blight is a disease caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria. Lowbush cultivars were the most resistant including ‘Chignecto and ‘Blomidon’. I have seen these Botryosphaeria stem blight symptoms in multiple fields in multiple counties. Botryosphaeria stem blight lesions on blueberry. Dark brown to black branches that will eventually girdle the stem and cause dieback. Editor’s Note: The Jan. 3, 2013 issue of the “Small Fruit Update”, published by Peerbolt Crop Management in Portland, OR, featured an in-depth look at bacterial blight in blueberries. More commonly referred to as dieback, stem blight on a blueberry is caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea. Those that have a history of stem blight problems include Bluechip, Duke and Misty. Blueberry is a crown forming, woody, perennial shrub in the family Ericaceae grown for its fruits, or berries, of the same name. Pruning to remove infected stems is the best method of reducing disease in established fields. Young plants are particularly susceptible. ), a parasitic higher plant. Receive Email Notifications for New Publications. Cultivar resistance is available and should be a primary consideration in the establishment of new plantings; remember that young bushes are the most susceptible. The stem blight fungus causes a rapid wilt with browning or reddening of leaves on individual branches, often followed by death of the entire plant as the fungus spreads downward through vascular tissue to the base of the plant. In this study, we examined the causal agent of blueberry stem blight at commercial greenhouse farms in the suburban area of Beijing, China. … This avoids new growth that may be damaged by frost, allowing a path of entry for the fungal pathogen. Indians. Blueberry stem cut away to show the discoloration caused by the fungus Botryosphaeria dothidea. B) Close up of symptomatic leaves turning brown before shoot completely turns brown. Another wounding phenomenon which occurs in new fields is caused by termites. Epidemiology and chemical control of phomopsis canker of highbush blueberry. Infected buds become brown and die. Remove a stem that contains both dead and green leaves and split it lengthwise. (fungi) Botryosphae- ria stem blight, commonly referred to as dieback, is a prevalent and destructive disease of blue- berries in the southeastern United States. Many plants are also susceptible to dieback fungi, including roses and citrus as well as blueberries. Cooperative Extension prohibits discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation and veteran status. Blighted blossoms on lowbush blueberry caused by Botrytis cinerea ... if the variety is very susceptible the cankers may kill the stem. Blueberry stem blight is a fungal disease caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea. Shortly after green tip, symptoms become visible. The disease also occurs on many other wild and cultivated plant species (including alder, holly, wax myrtle, blackberry and willow) which contributes to the survival and spread of the disease. Blossoms may shrivel prematurely as if injured by frost. Bacterial canker can be particularly severe on young plants in new plantings because a high proportion of the wood is succulent and susceptible to disease.
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