What's causing this distortion?

2ajsmamaJuly 6, 2014

Blackberry psyllid? I just cut the old cane that I had tip rooted (new shoot doing fine) that CAES said had spur blight. While inspecting the other canes I found 1 new (but very thick) primocane in another roow that had twisted all around. The canes there are pretty thick. Leaves are distorted and dark green.

CAES mentioned the portion of dead cane I'd brought in had scale - could this cause this deformed growth? What's best to do - cut the cane off where it starts to twist, or cut it off at the soil line?

If this is some sort of pest (I know JBs are coming out, starting to chew on the leaves, might also have aphids) what's a good organic solution? I really don't want to use Pyganic b/c it contains rotenone and the rows are right near the house.

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alan haigh

If there are no signs of insects- aphids in particular, I've always assumed it was viral and cut affected parts- often even leaving the healthy part of the cane. Never grown blackberries at a site in the NE and not had some of that within a couple years but it's never become too serious. Not quite a full answer, but I often only seek definitive diagnosis when the obvious strategy doesn't work.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 4:05PM
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This cane did a U turn and started growing back down to the ground - leaves curled and dark green, very rugose but I can't find webs or worms or anything in them. Just not sure it was a good idea to cut a green cane even if it's as thick as my thumb? Will it seal the wound itself?

If it's not going to spread a virus to the rest of the canes, would it be better to let it go until next year?

Or I guess worst that could happen if I cut it now would be that I'd lose that cane, but no others. Not sure what's going on with the TC - first spur blight, now this. Raspberries look good.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 10:11PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It looks like a virus to me as well. Viruses you want out ASAP - any sucking insect could land on that cane and spread it to others. There is no problem with a wound at the cut, you can prune berries any time.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Thanks Scott - assuming virus, how far back do I cut it? To the ground?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:21PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

If it's virus, it's throughout the plant. If cut out, the plant is still virused.

If it's fasciation, it's one of those interesting things that can be cut out.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 4:41PM
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How do you tell the difference? And if it's virus, just take out that cane and the original it sprouted from (plus any others from same cane)? Or everything within X ft of it?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 5:32PM
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alan haigh

What Scot says makes sense but I've had plants where if I cut out entire canes nothing would be left and so I got in the habit of only cutting off affected plant parts. Apparently it is not necessarily distributed throughout the cane because the healthy parts will generally keep going strong and uncurled.

The viruses are just a constant part of our pest complex because infected native plants are all around us and the insects function as a continuous vector. It is weird how some years those natives will send out healthy canes here with robust crops and other years just be all shrivelled

No matter how you manage them you can't expect a stand of brambles to be long lived (or rather, long productive) on many properties unless they bare fruit on primocanes.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 6:11PM
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These TC were planted in 2012, we did try to clear all wild brambles within about 500ft of them but since we don't own that far to the NW I don't know what's up there.

We did also clear a lot of wild blackberries about 1500ft away last summer due to SWD.

No aphids but in the next row over I found a couple of leaves curled (not rugose like these) with black "pellets" and webbing in them but couldn't find a caterpillar. JB and another type of dull gray-brown beetle are on everything - mostly the veggie garden.

Rain tonight and tomorrow but I will cut that cane down to the straight part on Wed. Thanks

    Bookmark   July 7, 2014 at 7:00PM
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Found the culprit! On the underside of the twisted part I found white webbing and a couple of guys that look like pure white crickets close up (sorry if picture is blurred). So I suppose they introduced a virus? I just took a steak knife (so I could throw it in the DW) and sawed at the straight part just below the twist. Even though this is a primocane I think I need the loppers if I have to take this down to the ground. Or should I dig the whole crown out?

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 7:50AM
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Was trellising the floricanes and found a couple more primocanes with the rugose leaves and these bugs. Not twisting yet but I cut them off below the affected leaves. What are these things and how do I control them? Is cutting the canes back sufficient to keep this from spreading? Floricanes look good and the TC are the only canes affected (so far). But I'm worried I may not get any blackberries next year if all the TC primocanes are attacked - or worse, that the bugs/virus will spread to my raspberries in the same row and next row.

This things are fast and jump just like crickets though they are just a little bigger than aphids. Can't find them on the extension websites I've been going through looking at blackberry and raspberry pests.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:41PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Yes, blackberry psyllids.

See info at link, below

Here is a link that might be useful: blackberry psyllids and other horrors

This post was edited by jean001a on Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 20:51

    Bookmark   July 8, 2014 at 8:49PM
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But are blackberry psyllids white?

Looks like I need to find some Surround - that may help against SWD too, but I don't know how I'm going to get it off the raspberries if I spray those. Is it too late just to try to cover the berries with sheer curtains? Most of the blackberries have set fruit.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 3:08AM
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alan haigh

Interesting and surprising to me. You can suppress them with horticultural oil if we get cooler weather- don't want to try it until temps are well below 90, but maybe where you are it's cooler than here.

Surround indeed would be the ticket- even commercial growers often use it for psyla.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 5:27AM
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Yeah, cooler here (much better than last July heat wave!) but still hot for me. 82 yesterday (was supposed to be 87) and 84 predicted today, cooling off tomorrow. May even see lows in mid-50's the next couple of nights. Next week nice predicted mid-high 70's, lows mid-high 50's (though the pepper plants may not like it, I don't even bother to grow eggplant).

I've got insecticidal soap (Organicide concentrate I mix), will that work?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:12AM
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alan haigh

Never heard about it if it does, but I can see how it might, psylids are soft bodied.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 7:17PM
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Going to try it.

Now a different problem - looks like the squirrels have discovered the raspberries! I got a couple of ripe ones before the holiday, now I'm finding drupelets on the ground and berries half-eaten around the cone, ends bitten off half ripe ones!

Given the problem I had with keeping them out of the strawberries, with netting pegged down (I thought securely) on the edges, how on earth do I keep them away from the bramble berries? Do I have to build a roofed screened enclosure over my hillside rows???

I never see half eaten berries like this on the wild canes....

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 8:34AM
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I have something like these critters on my Triple Crown and Siskiyou blackberries as well-- no leaf issues for me yet. I'm no expert, but the closest thing I could find (here and elsewhere on web) were either nymph flatid planthoppers or some other leafhopper. That is, if they aren't psyllids. I don't know how psyllids act when approached, but leaf/plant hoppers decisively move to the other side of the stem. Then, if molested further, they jump a good couple of feet.

Along with the woolly ones, I have a few of what I think are adult leafhoppers. They are bigger, act the same, but lack the woolly stuff. The medium-size ones are green. The largest ones are multi-colored.

I'm not any help on the control. I use neem and castile soap whenever I see them. It knocks them down for a little while, but they come back in a couple of weeks. All of my plants are 1-2 years old.

See old gardenweb thread below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Gardenweb Thread

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 11:13AM
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alan haigh

For squirrels refer to Bucket of Death- check link. Otherwise, expect to need a full chicken wire enclosure, although netting will work if they are not too hungry- I like the woven kind- monofilamint gets tangled without a frame and is more easily torn through.

I've noticed that they don't like climbing plastic fencing, so it's possible if you devise a support system for it without posts they can climb (place on inside of closure, bury the netting at the base and nail arms out from the post to hold the netting up, for example) you wont need a full enclosure.

I noticed some panicked squirrels inside a plastic deer fenced enclosure and they wouldn't or couldn't go up the plastic and scurried until they found posts.

Actually, come to think of it, 4' of fencing with a couple charged wires can stop squirrels (and most other critters) as well, if it's rigged up right so the squirrel gets zapped while hind legs are touching ground or the metal fencing closely behind the hot wires. Best to use a constant charger instead of a pulsing one for that. They aren't available as solar powered units last I checked.

Here is a link that might be useful: bucket of death

    Bookmark   July 10, 2014 at 12:43PM
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