Bacon County Ag Update

Blueberry Pest Alert- Whiteflies and Root Rot (Phytophthora)

Whitefly pupae blueberry leaf

As summer progresses we continue to see insect and disease pressures mount.

White Flies

The whitefly pupae will appear as blackish and shiny on the underside of leaves. The nymphs and adults feed on plant sap. Typically, whitefly populations do not appear in significant numbers to be an economic pest to blueberries. Of Course, this year has been anything but typical! Dr. Sial, UGA Small Fruit Entomologist says that if populations are high and have fairly consistent distribution throughout a field treatment may be warranted. Dr. Sial recommends soil applied Imidacloprid insecticide as the preferred treatment. If applied as a foliar application, use high rate of water and make sure underside of leaves are covered.

Root Rot

Frequent soaking rains have left many of our blueberry fields saturated with moisture. This has been an ongoing event for the last several weeks. These wet soil conditions are very favorable for Phytophthora root rot to develop and spread from plant to plant. Dryer soil conditions will help plants recover from the disease, but fungicides are typically needed to control the disease. Ridomil Gold SL and phosphonates (Aliette, ProPhyt, K-phite and AgriFos and others) are the two chemical classes of fungicides labeled for control. For the first year we (UGA) recommends 4 total applications for the season and 2 applications in subsequent years. The phosphonates are labeled for control of many leaf diseases also.  Bottom line: if your fields’ been wet, you should consider an application of one of these chemical classes. With the amount of rainfall we’ve received in many areas of the county, plants bedded with plastic mulch may not be exempt.

Contact me at 912-387-5560 if you need assistance with these or other issues.