Strange blueberry shoots

sportyredsaab(4a)April 25, 2014

Hi there,

I inherited some highbush blueberry bushes that came with the house we bought 3 year ago. The past two early springs I have pruned the bushes and am just about to get out there and prune for this season. Last year there were some abnormal shoots on one or two bushes that I pruned off. I had a really good season last summer with more blueberries than I knew what to do with! This year there are even more abnormal shoots. The bushes are located in partial shade under an evergreen. Any ideas why they are happening? Should I continue to remove these strange shoots?

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sportyredsaab(4a)

Another bush

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:17AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

It could be the start of witches broom....it is a rust / fungus. Do those misshapen shoots fruit or have normal leaves?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:18AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Yup your second picture confirms it.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:19AM
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sportyredsaab(4a)

I pruned them all off last year so they never had a chance to produce leaves/fruit. I am pretty new to gardening. What do I need to do about this?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:23AM
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sportyredsaab(4a)

Just did a Google search on witches broom, and sure enough, the fir tree nearby has the same sort of growth in it. I feel sad that I have infected trees.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:33AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Sadly there are no treatments for it that I am aware of....not saying there isn't, just that I don't know of any, sorry.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 10:13AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I have never heard about this before. Very interesting. I did a search too and was surprised by this:

In the case of blueberry bushes, witchesâ broom is caused by a fungus that lives on balsam fir trees. This broom fungus always needs a blueberry and a fir as hosts and is very specific; a blueberry with the fungus canâÂÂt infect another blueberry. Most brooms caused by rust fungus need two host plants. The fungus that causes witchesâ broom on balsam fir needs common chickweed as a secondary host, and the fungus that infects spruce needs the lowly bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).

Here is a link that might be useful: Witchesâ Broom: Itâs Not What You Think

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:34PM
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pharmachad

Cut the fir tree down?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:49PM
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