Crumpled blackberry leaves

glenn_russell(6b RI)July 13, 2009

Hi guys-

I posted this last year, but I never really got the answer that I was looking for. I get this both on my Chesters and also my Triple Crowns. I am familiar with aphids as they appear on my apple trees, but I just checked the leaves again, and I'm not seeing any signs of them. Any idea what this is? Thanks, -Glenn

Nice new growth:

The problem:

Here is a link that might be useful: crumpled leaves post from last year.

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A wild guess, virus from insect(s). Did it just develop on those leaves or has it been there for a long time in those leaves alone? Check the undersides of the leaves for critters.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 2:15PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Hi Michael-
So, you think this is a virus from a nearby wild blackberry transmitted by an insect? I haven't seen any of the wild blackberries with crinkled leaves like this.

Yeah, I've opened up quite a few of those leaves, and really didn't find much crawling around inside. The leaves pretty much seem to start out this way... i.e. they don't develop normally, then crinkle up... they just kinda start out crinkled up.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 2:28PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

I think herbicide damage is much more likely.

The berries are very near a lawn/grass. Do you use weed killers there? that would include weed-and-feed stuff.

Herbicides drift when sprayed, and many kinds can volatilize on warm to hot days, then move on a breeze to nearby plants.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 5:27PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

That's an interesting idea Jean. I don't actually use any weed killer myself, but we do have True Green come and spray our grass. (Yeah, I know, tisk tisk). Though I've never seen any similar damage on any of my raspberries or any other plants. -Glenn

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 6:10PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Some plants are more sensitive than others. Also, depends upon which way the spray droplets moved.

You might ask them what they use on the lawn.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 12:25AM
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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Glenn--It may be some herbicide damage, but I've also seen this kind of damage on other leaves. Never had it really diagnosed, but what appears to be happening is something is damaging the leaf edge about the time it starts to come out and expand. It appears to scar over, then doesn't expand with the rest of the leaf, so you end up with these deformed and bulbous leaves trying to grow while the leaf edge doesn't. Don't know what causes it, but I've wondered if it was some insect damage about the time they were emerging, some sunburn on the leaf edges, or even something just causing the edges to dry out, such as windburn.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 12:48AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Right. What I'm seeing is very similar to what your describing. Now, if we just new what caused it! Do you have any herbicide spraying that would do it? At least for me, it's just on a small number of the leaves. Probably under 5% of them. Thanks, -Glenn

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:18AM
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Glenn, I've got the same crumpled leaves on my blackberries without any proximity to herbicide application. Based on my memory of a conversation 3 years ago, I recall that the owner of Edible Landscaping told me that he that it was aphid damage. He said that he just pinched off the crumpled leaves and that seemed to take care of it (I'm sure about this last part). I've never seen actual evidence of aphids on mine either, so I'd guess it must be a virus they transmit or a symptom of their prior feeding.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:40AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Doing some more searching today, I think my original post had it right... This is Leaf Curl Virus transmitted by aphids.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raspberry Diseases in Michigan

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 8:55AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Glenn, leaf curl virus usually affects the whole plant, not just a few leaves. I have seen some of that and since it never took over the whole plant I never thought twice about it. Too many big fish to fry for me to worry about the little ones.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 10:57AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

Thanks Scott. Good to know I'm not alone and it's usually not a big deal. True, bigger fish to fry. Still, I like to understand these things in case they ever get out of control. Since it happens to a lot of us, it would be nice if we could definitively diagnosed it... especially if the solution was simple. But, I won't loose any sleep over it. Maybe I'll go out and trim those leaves off though. -Glenn

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 11:37AM
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Hi Glenn: it doesn't seemtoo unusual for some small insect population to move into a plant, do some damage and then they are gone. I am not experienced enough to tell the difference between all the herbicide possibilities and all of the virus possibilities. However, continue to educate yourself about all of the insects in your garden at various times of the year and you'll be doing yourself a favor. I'd be looking on the other leaves and especially the ones that are at the stage your crumpled up ones were when they started having the problem. For example, some of my apple trees have Obliquebanded Leafroller damage on their 3 - 5th most recently emerged leaves. If I looked at all the 3 - 5th leaves I'd never spot the little buggers chewing on the newest leaves that they obviously prefer just the carnage from their having been there.

As far as your lawn service, you might find out when they come next and flag some shoots of that and other previously affected plants and watch them for several days post-spray.

The wild berries are probably there because they can handle all the hazards of life better than your cultivated varieties.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 4:43PM
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I read somewhere that leaves will curl up if the roots can not take up enough water. The leaf cells have been rapidly expanding from an abundance of water and have outgrown the roots' ability to take up the same amount of water. I believe this usually occurs after a period when there is a lot of moisture followed by a dry or drier period. I have noticed it on my peach trees this year. All the leaves are not affected as obviously some water is being taken up. This should correct on its own.

Also, I agree that aphids can also cause the leaves to curl, I have had that happen and the damage is never too severe.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2009 at 6:23PM
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I have similar looking crumpled leaves on one of my cherry trees which is multi-graft but I know what caused it. This cherry tree and another 'Evan' cherry tree were infested with colonies of tiny black bugs near the tips of the branches on new shoots during late spring. I sprayed it with soap water and I think it helped it a bit because only very few tiny bugs were able to turn to larvae. Also these black tiny bugs left the adjacent two apricot trees alone. After the bugs disappeared, the Evan cherry leaves did not show any deformity but the multi-graft cherry tree has most of the leaves crumpled like in the picture above. I am afraid that the tree may not get enough vigour during the growth season to survive zone 5 winter. Is there anything I can help this tree with to gain enough what it takes to survive the winter?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 3:32AM
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I know this might come two years too late, but here is the answer.

"Blackberry psyllid, (Trioza tripunctata), causes severe curling on both thornless and thorny blackberries. Psyllid damage is often mistaken for a plant disease since the curling continues for some time after the insects are gone.

Psyllid damage is only a problem when blackberries are grown in close proximity to conifers, which serve as an overwintering site for adults."

Taken from Cornell Fruit website.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell Fruit

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 5:40PM
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