WSU Whatcom County Extension

Integrated Pest Management for Blueberries

Premature Fruit Drop

(unknown pathogen)

Diseases

 

Symptoms

At bloom, affected plants show a slight reddening of new leaves and flower corollas. As the season progresses the red coloration of the leaves disappears and by harvest time no visible foliar symptoms can be observed. Fruit initially develops normally, but only attains a size of 3-5 mm and usually drops several weeks prior to harvest. Because there is no fruit load, affected plants are much more vigorous and upright than healthy plants. Symptoms recur year after year on affected plants.

 

Life History

The incidence within fields increases year to year suggesting that a pathogen is involved. The cause of this symptom is unknown.

 

Monitoring

Inspect fields at bloom for red coloration of leaves. Following fruit set look for plants that drop immature berries. At harvest watch for plants which are particularly vigorous, upright and stand above the field canopy. Tag suspect plants.

 

Thresholds and Management

If a tagged plant continues to show more vigorous growth than others and/or the symptoms migrate to other plants, remove affected plants.

 

Resources

Agricultural Research Service; Research Publication; A Virus Associated With Blueberry Fruit Drop Disease

http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?SEQ_NO_115=203539

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WSU Whatcom County Extension • 1000 N. Forest St., Bellingham, WA 98225 • (360) 778-5800 • whatcom@wsu.edu