Blueberry Bush Problems

Asked May 18, 2018, 12:48 PM EDT

It appears all of our blueberry bushes (Duke, Darrow, Patriot, and Bluecrop, 2 each) have some type of stem canker problem (see attached photos). All the leaves/blossoms/green fruit that are left on the plants look ok, but several branches have lost leaves. It is really bad on the Duke and Darrow plants, not quite as bad on the Bluecrop. We obtained these plants last year from 3 different sources, planted them in a newly tilled spot, and watered with a soaker hose last year. PNW Plant Disease Handbook says to cut out and destroy infected branches, but it appears most, if not all, of the branches are infected. Our question is would it be better to just pull out the entire plant if all branches are infected? And how do we make sure the infection isn't lurking in the ground when we plant new blueberry bushes? We ar new to Oregon (moved here from Utah 2 years ago) and have not had this problem before. We appreciate your help.

Marion County Oregon blueberries

1 Response

Hello,

Yes, that either looks like a canker or phomosis. I haven't seen much of this in healthy fields in Oregon, but it usually comes from planting material. The source for your plants should be license nursery that can supply a phytosanitary certificate and produces plants from tissue culture to avoid this kind of issue. The only way for you to confirm what you have is to send samples to the OSU plant clinic. You can find the details here: http://plant-clinic.bpp.oregonstate.edu/submit/#plant
Once you receive your results I suggest you inquire with the plant pathology specialist Jay Pscheid as he has the most experience with blueberry disease at OSU. pscheidj@science.oregonstate.edu
Thank you,