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Blueberry Rust Alert

DSC00163 DSC00155We are currently receiving field reports of blueberry rust, likely as a result of the recent heavy rainfall observed in many blueberry production areas.  I have had one confirmed report, and it is a good time to start scouting for rust if you have not already done so.  The blueberry IPM guide at provides information on specific fungicides for rust management.  If a variety is susceptible to rust, early defoliation can result, and this will reduce yields next year as a result.  Scouting is required to determine whether rust is developing in specific varieties.  Many fungicides applied for other leaf spots will also have rust activity; this is particularly true of the strobilurin (Abound, Pristine, etc.) and DMI fungicides (Proline, Quash, Tilt, Orbit, Indar, Bumper, etc.).  Producers should be concerned about post-season leaf spot management, and they should consider fungicide application as needed to prevent premature defoliation due to rust, Septoria, and anthracnose leaf spots.  Follow all label directions, particularly as they relate to preharvest intervals — especially important this time of year.

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About Phil Brannen

Phil Brannen is a Professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate degree in Plant Protection and Pest Management, where he also received an M.S. in Plant Pathology, followed by a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Auburn University. He has extensive experience with disease management programs in numerous cropping systems. He serves as the extension fruit pathologist for Georgia – conducting research and technology transfer for multiple fruit commodities. His blueberry efforts are directed towards developing IPM practices to solve disease issues and technology transfer of disease-management methods to commercial blueberry producers. He also teaches the graduate level Field Pathology Course, team-teaches the IPM Course, coordinates the Viticulture and Enology in the Mediterranean Region Course (Cortona, Italy), and guest lectures in numerous other courses throughout the year.