Observations on fruit rots in a southern highbush harvesting experiment, 2009.


Historically (when production was focused almost exclusively on rabbiteye cultivars), pre- and postharvest fruit rots were not considered a significant issue in blueberries in Georgia. For example, a survey in 1999 found that pre- and postharvest rots were deemed major disease problems by less than 5% of growers; 10 to 20% considered them to be of moderate importance, whereas as much as 75 to 85% of growers attributed little if any importance to fruit rots (Scherm et al. 2001). The situation has changed with the rapid expansion of the southern highbush industry during the past decade, owing to the greater susceptibility of southern highbush cultivars in general to the fungal pathogens causing rot diseases. Still, in most cases, these diseases are suppressed adequatly by routine fungicide applications and outbreaks occur only sporadically, often in response to excessive rainfall (as was the case in the spring of 2009). Because of the sporadic nature of fruit rot epidemics in Georgia, there is limited information on the composition of the pathogen complex involved, in cultivar susceptibility to different fruit rot pathogens, and on factors influencing fruit rot incidence.

Dixie Blueberry News 9 (5):7-11