Spots on Blueberry Leaves

shazaam(NC 7B)April 13, 2012

I added 10 new blueberries this year, three Rabbiteyes from Simmons (all doing very well) and seven from nusery X*, including two Northern Highbush (Toro, Reka), three Southern Highbush (Sunshine Blue, Southmoon, O'Neal), and two half-highs (Tophat, Northcountry). Six of the seven from X are showing small red to brown spots on the new growth. The spots are very small in diameter (too small to easily measure), they're visible in both sides of the leaf, and they appear to be sunken (I'm inclined to call them lesions). They're most prevalent on the half-highs (nearly every leaf). My existing bushes are free of spots (all Northern and Southern Highbush), so I'm a little concerned that I've imported some kind of fungal leaf spot from X. On the plus side, the spots don't really look like the photos of leaf spot diseases that I've found online, so I'm hoping someone else has a less ominous explanation. I can't post photos until tomorrow evening (the camera is at work), but impatience leads me to go ahead and ask for input. Any thoughts?

*I don't want to unnecessarily slander the nursery in question since I don't yet know if this is a disease issue, so I'll leave them anonymous for now.

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Most likely it is fungus, septoria or rust or...there a few types. Just look up BB fungus and match the pics to your plants.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:31PM
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DWD2(10a, Sunset 17)

shazaam, You may be fortunate. One of the world experts at identifying & controlling blueberry diseases is in your home state at North Carolina State University. His name is Dr. William (Bill) Cline. Since you live in NC, there is a high likelihood he would respond to an email. My suggestion is to take your pictures and send him an email. His email address is:
A response from him would almost certainly be far more authoritative than anyone on this forum.

Below is a link to home garden blueberry info from NCSU that has some nursery recommendations. As an aside, the horticulture department at NCSU is one of the 2 or 3 best in the country. There is tons of great info on their site although it is not super user friendly. If I am correct, I think they have a duty to respond to reasonable requests for help from NC citizens.

If you are really into blueberries, I HIGHLY recommend getting a copy of "Blueberries for Growers, Gardeners, Promotors." It is really, really well done. Do not get it from Amazon unless you want to overpay. Get it from here:
They also have a book on Rabbiteye Blueberries that I have not been able to get a copy to look through to decide if I need it.

Good luck with the blueberries!

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Blueberries in the Home Garden

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 11:53PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

Thanks for the suggestions. I looked through images of various leaf spots diseases before posting, but, to my eye at least, nothing looks quite right. If it is fungal, perhaps I'm seeing it at a very early stage. My hope, though, is that there's an alternative explanation. I'll post some photos this evening just in case someone can identify what I'm dealing with. I'll also take your advice, DWD2, and e-mail the photos Dr. Cline. As a precaution, I'm going to quarantine the affected plants in the far corner of my yard -- fortunately, they're all in containers and easy to move.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:04AM
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I had new plants that showed these exact symptoms on a pair of Jewels last season, I removed the most damaged leaves after fruiting, and by August the plant was 100% healthy again.

Sometimes plants grown to close together in the nursery suffer these kinds of symptoms, I would not worry too much about it.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:12AM
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