transplanting mature blueberry bushes with history of mummy berry
Hello, We have the opportunity to dig and transplant a number of mature blueberry bushes that have had mummy berry. The owner has sprayed them in previous years with a fungicide. Will these blueberries always have this disease once they've had them? Would it be a wise investment to transplant these to another area or to pass on the opportunity as they will continually need to be treated for the disease...I'm really not keen on using a fungicide.
I found this in the PNW Plant Disease Management Handbook http://pnwhandbooks.org/plantdisease/blueberry-vaccinium-corymbosum-mummy-berry In summary, mummy berry is caused by overwintering mummified fruit that develops spores that can re-infect plants. The most effective non-chemical control is disrupting the life cycle which involves 'burying' the mummified fruit by more than 1". You will likely get similar results with removing any old mulch and replacing it with new. However, the spores can come from >100 ft away. There are also varieties that are more resistant to mummy berry and there are varieties that do better in the PNW. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/pnw656.pdf is a good reference for the home garden. https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/files/project/pdf/... has a good table at the end for disease resistance (the publication is more geared to the commercial grower, but the table it helpful.)
If you do decide to transplant, you will need to do it soon and make sure the plants get adequate water during the dry summer months for at least the next two years.