Blueberry Disease?

pitcom(7a)May 26, 2011

I was hoping someone could help me out here. I just recieved some blueberry bushes from a higly reputable online dealer. The problem is all of the bushes have red spots on the leaves which to me, curiously looks like a disease. After doing some research I am almost convinced that these bushes have red ringspot disease. I talked to the owner of the company who sent the plants and he claims that the red spots are normal and its just a pigmentation freckle. This makes absolutely no sense to me as i find it impossible for a plant to do this. I have many blueberry bushes and i do not want to plant these new ones because I am afraid they are diseased. Here are some pictures below.

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It doesn't look like the ringspot disease at all. If it is a disease it could be septoria leaf spot. I'd say 50-50 its that or no disease at all, but I am no blueberry expert so hopefully someone else will chime in.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:19AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Can't say that it is the same thing but my Santa Fe has had leaf spot issues for years. It hasn't hurt the crop that I can tell. I have a huge crop on this plant this year and the berries are very sweet. The leaves may defoliate earlier than normal but not by much.

The first picture may not be all the spotting but it looks somewhat like yours.

The next picture shows the underside of the leaves. Spots are more distinct on the underside than the top.

Upper leaf where spots are newer.

Overall my disease isn't severe and hasn't spread to about 10 other varieties.

I'd guess your nursery man knows what he is talking about. And usually if this is a disease it will show up no matter what you do. Airborne foliar diseases are very hard to avoid if the plant is suceptible and conditions are right for disease developement.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:30AM
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You have some beautiful plants.

According to this site, with red spot disease, the spots can only be seen from the top of the leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: red spot

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:45AM
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My personal interpretation is fungi infection similar to leaf rust. They shouldn't really happen in a clean environment. Here is what I noted in my experience.

(1) They tend to develop in wet weather or when water stays on leaves. That's typical for most fungi infections. To avoid that, water on soil directly instead of above the plants.

(2) The effect seems to be early defoliation of infected leaves and less vigorous plants, probably due to those weak leaves generating less energy.

(3) More severe on southern highbush plants and plants around those. Probably due to the southern highbush plants carry leaves over the wet winter and provide an overwinter medium for the fungi. In my case, I got rid of the few southern highbush I had for that reason.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:45PM
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Another thing to consider is micro nutrient Mn or Mg deficiency.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:58PM
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Thanks for all of the responses. Great pics fruitnut. The colors are the same between the spots on your leaves and mine. The only difference is i cannot see any of the spots from the underside of the leaf. Your yield does look good. A healthy blueberry bush should produce 16 berries per fruiting stem. The owner of the company has assured me that he does not think this is a disease, but is refunding my purchase price for the plants, which is was a pretty stand up move. He told me to supplement with nitrogen and iron (blackstrap molassess) and the leaves would clear up.

I feel like if it were that simple, it would have been done before they were shipped out. I'm not sure whether to just get rid of the plants, or start a really nice feeding regiment of hydrolyzed fish oil and sea weed to see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 3:15PM
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I would put a tablespoon of epson salts, and some slow release nitrogen fertilizer...What you are suffering in all probability is nitrogen and iron deficiency..We have had 76" of rain this spring so everything I put down back in Feb. is leched out because of all the heavy rains, and I too am seeing some of this but not to the extent you are....Just a few varieties here and there...
Remember to keep it simple and don't "over-medicate"

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 9:06PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I would agree that what the OP is seeing is more likely weather related than a disease. If they were my plants I'd have them in the ground. But holding them in pots until fall would allow observation before committing to planting them.

Blueberries are well known to have all sorts of leaf color issues during cold wet weather.

I think you should continue to do business with the man who refunded your money. In fact if the issue resolves you should return his money.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:09PM
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