3.1.15

Still no apothecia found in Corvallis, OR! But we’re getting very close!

And here’s a link to a table of blueberry growth stages! Click on the picture!

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.05.22 AM

Or Click here

 

Update: According to a comment left on the Mummy Berry Blog, Orca’s Island, WA has apothecia!

The star indicates the location of Orca's Island, where apothecia have been reported.

The star indicates the location of Orca’s Island, where apothecia have been reported.

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Update on Bud Break and Mummy Status

I just got back from the Botany and Plant Pathology Field Lab in Corvallis, Oregon. Here are some pictures of the blueberries.

Floral bud break on Bluetta blueberry bush

Floral bud break on Bluetta blueberry bush

Floral bud break on Bluetta blueberry bush

Developing flowers on Bluetta blueberry bush

Contrastingly, here is an image of bud swell occurring on Berkeley blueberry bushes.

Bud swell on Berkeley blueberry bushes.

Bud swell on Berkeley blueberry bushes.

And now for the mummies. Here is a sample of what I found today…

A germinated pseudosclerotium (mummy) with many stipe initials

A germinated pseudosclerotium (mummy) with many stipe initials

A pseudosclerotium (mummy) that is just about ready to produce an apothecium!

A pseudosclerotium (mummy) that is just about ready to produce an apothecium!

And another pseudosclerotium (mummy) that is primed and ready to produce apothecia (fungal fruiting bodies, much like mushrooms).

And another pseudosclerotium (mummy) that is primed and ready to produce apothecia (fungal fruiting bodies, much like mushrooms).

 

 

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Warm Weather This Early?! What’s the Threat of Mummy Berry Disease??

The warm weather has definitely taken many growers by surprise, with floral bud break on the Bluetta variety of blueberries already occurring. We’re getting many calls and emails asking:

“Are apothecia present yet? And should I be spraying?!”

Our field was checked on Monday of this week (2/23/15) and NO apothecia are present yet.

Mummies in the Field 2.23.15We’re still waiting on vegetative bud break, which is when apothecia develop. I’ll be checking the field again tomorrow (February 27, 2015) and will post pictures of bud break on both Bluettas and Berkeleys, along with more images of mummies in the field to give you an idea of what’s happening in Corvallis, Oregon.

In the meantime, if you want to know what stage your mummies are at, check out the Multimedia tab at the top of the page for a video about scouting for mummy berry in your fields!


 

Below is a list of the mummy berry stages you’re likely to see at this time of year

Stipe initial noun a hardened protrusion that grows from the pseudosclerotium (mummy) and serves as the foundation of the apothecium (mushroom or fungal fruiting body)

Mummies that are dormant in the field are less of a threat than those that have germinated. Mummies must have a stipe in order to produce an apothecium.

Pseudosclerotia that lack a stipe initial are less of a threat than those that have germinated. Mummies must have a stipe initial in order to produce an apothecium.

A pseudosclerotium that is at the "germination stage"

A pseudosclerotium that is at the “germination” stage. Stipe initials are up to 4.9mm long.

A pseudosclerotium at the "emergence" stage. This stage is characterized by stipe initials from 5mm up to 15mm typically.

A pseudosclerotium at the “emergence” stage. This stage follows “germination” and is characterized by stipe initials from 5mm up to 15mm typically.

Apothecia (fungal fruiting bodies) are produced coinciding with vegetative bud break, which follows floral bud break. They contain spores which serve to infect blueberry bushes. For a full description of the life cycle, see

The blue arrows indicate apothecia, which are produced from stipes. Apothecium development coincides with vegetative bud break, which follows floral bud break. They contain spores which serve to infect blueberry bushes. For a full description of the life cycle, see the Mummy Berry Disease Cycle tab at the top of the page!

 

As usual, if you have any questions or concerns, leave a comment below. Cheers!

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February 11 Workshop Recap

Last week, we held a workshop in Mt. Vernon, Washington for blueberry growers. The topics included mulching for mummy berry control options, environmental factors influencing apothecia production, spray options for control, spotted wing drosophila, and other pathogens of concern.

photo-1

Dalphy discusses environmental factors influencing apothecium production.

photo-2

Jay discusses spray options for controlling mummy berry.

photo-3

Participants view spotted wing drosophila demo.

14FieldResultsSimple

Jade discussed experimental results showing that 2 inches of Douglas Fir sawdust maintained until March significantly reduced apothecia emergence in comparison to bare soil and leaf cover.

Table: Most common commercial blueberry cultivars grown in the PNW (according to Strik’s Blueberry Production in the Pacific Northwest) and ranked from most resistant to mummy berry to most susceptible according to research (Ehlenfeldt). Remember that cultivars not recommended for commercial production (many of which are highly susceptible to mummy berry like Berkeley and Bluetta) are not included.

Table: Most common commercial blueberry cultivars grown in the PNW (according to Strik’s Blueberry Production in the Pacific Northwest) and ranked from most resistant to mummy berry to most susceptible according to research (MK Ehlenfeldt, 2010).
Remember that cultivars not recommended for commercial production (many of which are highly susceptible to mummy berry like Berkeley and Bluetta) are not included.

Check out the cultivar publication below!

Blueberry Cultivars for the Pacific Northwest

We discussed the benefits of harvesting mummies.

We discussed the benefits of harvesting mummies.


Responses from Surveys:

15MB

Most growers had some presence of mummy berry in the field. With most participants falling into the 1-15% range.

15Compare

Overall, mummy berry levels were “about the same” in comparison to last year.

15Mulch

Most growers report that they are currently mulching for disease control.

15Depth

Most growers mulch 1-2 inches.

15Timing

Most growers are mulching from January-April. Let’s move those March-April mulches to February! You risk apothecia sporulation by waiting until March-April!

15Type

Of course, Douglas Fir Sawdust is a favorite among mulch options.


Answers to Mummy Berry Questions:

Mummy berry infected fruit

Mummy berry infected fruit

Should leaves be removed and do they interact with apothecia?

From data collected in 2014 (unpublished), there was a slight association with leaves and fewer apothecia as compared to bare soil.

What happens if apothecia are produced prior to bud break?

According to our current biological understanding, nothing. We must have a susceptible host (at bud break), a virulent pathogen (M. vaccinii-corymbosi), and a conducive environment (favoring spore production).

Can a mummy last >1 season?

We’re currently looking into that question. Stay tuned for updates!

When do apothecia first appear in the PNW?

Between the months of March and April.

What’s up with this talk of beginning activity in November-February?

That’s when we begin to see germination. See picture below.

With the right environmental conditions, this mummy will produce an apothecium (fungal fruiting body, like a mushroom).

A germinated mummy. With the right environmental conditions, it will produce an apothecium (fungal fruiting body, like a mushroom).

Have you heard about using maple or oak leaf mulches?

I haven’t, but that’s something we could look into in future experiments.

What about using weed mats?

We’re first answering the question of whether mulching consistently works in suppressing apothecium formation. Later questions may include the use of weed mats. From my observations at a grower’s operation that had weed mats, mummies appear to fall between the cracks and germinate underneath.

Why did you look at leaf mulches?

I was looking at the potential benefit of removing leaves, which is why my experiment had both a leaf treatment and a bare soil treatment. I wasn’t looking at leaf mulches in particular.

Is weed management important for execution of this cultural control method?

We haven’t formally tested this, but from my observations, it is important. I went to a grower’s field that was lacking weed control and mulching on top of the grass was messy and uneven. It was difficult to tell whether we had fully covered the ground and with the winter rains, the mulch was likely to shift around.

What do apothecia look like?

Here’s a picture! See below.

Stipe and Apothecium

Apothecia arising from stipes

What about mummies that roll into the alleys?

For this reason, many growers choose to rake their aisles during the fall-winter months and dispose of debris. One grower reported to me that he found this practice to be effective.

Do apothecia arise from stipe initials?

Yes! First they germinate.

Mummies Breaking Dormancy

Germinated mummy during winter

Then, when conditions are favorable, apothecia will arise from these initials.

What happens if they’re disturbed?

We haven’t studied this in particular, but from my observations, it’s not very detrimental. I often bring collected mummies from the field into the lab and get them to produce apothecia. That’s a fair amount of disturbance.

What temperature is too hot for germination?

60F has been shown to be a temperature not conducive to apothecia development in experimental trials (Wharton and Schilder 2005).

What about day length? Are mummies sensing that?

We think so! But no conclusive evidence yet.

If you use a burner (hot water or propane burner), can you eliminate spores?

No experimental evidence of this yet, but anecdotal reports from farmers, say yes.


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The Visqueen-Mulch System

Next week, on Wednesday, February 11, we’ll be holding our next mummy berry workshop in Mt. Vernon, Washington in affiliation with the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides.

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

In anticipation of sharing ideas and research regarding blueberry production and mummy berry control, I’m answering a recent inquiry I received as a blog post. It regards the control a mummy berry using Visqueen, which was discussed at the field day we held last June in Alvadore, Oregon.


Disclaimer: This method of disease control has never been scientifically tested and we have no evidence, other than reports from one farmer, regarding its efficacy. This information is shared in hopes of facilitating information exchange between farmers and to provide ideas of how management techniques can be used together.


Here’s the inquiry:

Hi Jade
My wife and I have an small organic Blueberry farm . We are interested in the system Ken Berg uses to manage mummy berry.
We would like to know how early people are putting down the Visqueen plastic for this season. We have had a mild winter here, and assume we would have to be ready pretty soon.
How wide are the strips of plastic – how far into the row middles from the plant does he place the plastic, or is it all the way across the rows. We have grass row middles, and there are probably some mummies in there, although we tried to mow and “vacuum” with our mower as close to the ground as possible during the fall clean-up.
We also picked up all visible mummies from around the plant – but we are never able to get them all.
Would it be possible to be on your email list, and to receive any new information that you may have through your research on organic Blueberry production?

What are the weights/sizes for Visqueen that are appropriate for this purpose? And would we find them in greenhouse supply outlets, or is there a special supplier?

Any answers you have would be very helpful, and much appreciated.
Thank you.


Response:

Site Description

Ken Berg’s operation has been in production since 1990. It is mostly a U-Pick operation with fresh market and some frozen market. He conducts only on-farm sales. He has 20 rows of blueberries, including the varieties: Draper, Chandler, Blueray, Spartan, Collins, Liberty, and Patriot. He also has netting to protect fruit from birds.

Berg Site

 Site History

He began to worry about mummy berry in 2010, when he had an 83% crop loss. After that, he raked the whole farm, disposed of debris and mummies in barrels, and hauled them off. The next year (2011), he had 87% crop loss due to mummy berry. At, that point he decided to use another technique. Berg then developed a system to create a protective barrier between mummy berry apothecia and his blueberry plants.

The Visqueen-Mulch System

Berg Sawdust

When is the Visqueen laid down? When are the blueberries mulched?

In early February, Berg begins to put Visquene plastic down after mulching the crown of every blueberry bush. He leaves it on until after all the blooms are gone/done, or the vast majority anyway – which is generally around the end of May.  Then he spends the time in as carefully as he can, removing the Visqueen and saving it (storing it away) for next season.

How often is the Visqueen replaced?

He spends a total of $600 on a >1 mil Visquene plastic (including freight delivery) and reuses it for multiple years (>2).

If the Visqueen is 1 mil or less, it may only be useable for one year.

How wide are the strips of plastic/ How far into the row middles from the plant do you place the plastic?

The plastic goes from the edge of every alley to mid-row and joins in the center between the bushes. So if you measure that width, you should be able to find the width of Visqueen needed.

What are the weights/sizes for Visqueen that are appropriate for this purpose?

Find as heavy of a “mil” weight Visqueen as you can find! Berg has used a mere “1 mil” weight in the past and was only able to use that Visqueen for one or two seasons. With a higher weight Visqueen, the plastic is more durable.

And can the Visqueen be found in greenhouse supply outlets, or is there a special supplier?

Berg orders from Robert Marvel Plastics in Philadelphia.  That is where he has found his best deal for the most product.  Locally, there was no one who could supply the amount he needed at a price he could afford.

Sorry, but 25 and 50 foot rolls, is not gonna do it for me, when I needed 8,000 ft of material! -Ken Berg

And as for his take on his mummy berry levels…

It is phenomenally diverse.  From an all time high of 87% loss, down to about 10% in two years time.  Last year, due to turkeys tearing up large sections of the Visqueen, it jumped up to approximately 34% this last berry season.

Take Away Points:

  1. Start pruning as early as possible. Berg recommends starting in November.
  2. Order your Visqueen in December-January and have your mulch ready
  3. Begin the Visqueen-Mulch System in early February
    1. Pull back the previously laid Visqueen (or if this is your first year, keep Visqueen set aside) and mulch the blueberry bushes with Douglas fir sawdust to about 2 inches.
      1. This year, Berg wanted to encourage worm activity, so he is also adding in a compost into the mix.
      2. Mulch the entire row, on both sides
    2. Then, starting with one side of the row, begin laying down the Visqueen plastic over the sawdust and/or compost mixture.
      1. Plastic should reach from the edge of every alley to the mid-row and join in the center between the bushes.
      2. To secure the Visqueen in place, use additional mulch added on top of the Visqueen, along the edges of the plastic.
    3. Repeat this on the other side of the row
  4. Pull back the Visqueen after all the blooms are gone/done, or the vast majority anyway – which is generally around the end of May. This will allow mummies to naturally drop at harvest, so they can be covered again the next February.

 

So there you have it! The quick and dirty synopsis of the Visqueen-Mulch System. But since there’s interest in this system, I’m looking into creating a how-to video and more footage of this practice taking place.

 


My goal in running the OSU Mummy Berry Blog is to encourage information exchange and partnerships between growers. I coordinate grower meetings, not only to provide a platform for sharing my own mummy berry research, but to highlight methods that farmers in the region have used, and to discuss new ideas. If you as a reader have ANY information you’d like to hear about, whether it regards controlling mummy berry, or blueberry production in general, please don’t hesitate to write a comment, or email me directly.

- Jade Florence

 

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Extension Publications

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Sustainability on YOUR Farm!

Have you ever heard that agriculture is one of the leading contributors to water pollution? Do you know what you can do to prevent it?

A very cool report from NPR, addresses the issue in Iowa:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/02/02/382475870/heres-how-to-end-iowas-great-nitrate-fight

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This Invitation Just Got More OFFICIAL!

 

Below is the final save the date postcard that was mailed out to farmers throughout the Pacific Northwest. It’s hard to get one sent to everyone, so here’s a copy, just in case you missed it!
2015 Blueberry Workshop 1Up_Page_1The back reads:

Blueberry Workshop

$25 (includes lunch)

Resister at www.pesticide.org or contact Sarah (541-344-5044 ext 19), agworkshops@pesticide.org

Agenda:

Mummy Berry

Cultural Controls: Jade Florence, OSU and Dalphy Harteveld, WSU

Commercial Products for Organic Production: Dr. Jay Pscheidt, OSU

Organic Grower Perspective: Jim Meyer, Cascadian Farms

Other Diseases of Blueberry

Jay Pscheidt and Dalphy Harteveld

Weed Management and Mulching

Jade Florence

Spotted Wing Drosophila

Beverly Gerdeman, WSU

New! Whole-Farm Revenue Insurance

Learn about expanded coverage for specialty crop, organic, and diversified farms. All crops and livestock are allowed under one policy.

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New Resources for Growers!

In early 2015, a blueberry workshop will be held for Washington growers!

In early 2015, a blueberry workshop will be held for Washington growers!

The planning is underway for the blueberry workshop for Washington blueberry growers. The workshop is geared toward organic production, but growers from all production systems are welcome! Most of the techniques covered are applicable to any system- organic, conventional, no-spray, biodynamic, you name it! So far on the itinerary, we have:

  • A first-hand report of managing mummy berry on a large-scale organic farm
  • A talk on mummy berry biology, environmental factors, and controls
  • A talk on weed management on farms
  • A discussion of spotted wing drosophila
  • A discussion of other blueberry diseases including: Botrytis, Pseudomonas syringae, and silver leaf

For the discussions, grower questions will drive the direction of the conversation. So if you have any questions on diseases of concern, management, or specific symptoms you’ve noticed on your crop, come prepared to ask away!

In other news…

New Publication Coming!

New Publication Coming in 2015!

I’m currently working on a publication intended for small-scale organic blueberry growers in the Pacific Northwest, although the included control tactics can be applied to all blueberry production systems. It briefly describes the mummy berry disease cycle and organic methods available for mummy berry control organized by the season in which you would implement them!

This will be especially helpful to any growers who have been unable to make it to our workshops or growers who attended, but would like to have a copy of the content with more detail and presented in an easily-accessible format.

It will include plenty of color photographs, diagrams, and tables to help you create a disease management regime that works for you! I’m hoping to have it finished and available online by early 2015!! And possibly, a Spanish version may be made available later in 2015. I’ll keep you posted!

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Mummy Berry Workshop Will Be Held in Washington!!

Jade Presentation Workshop

Great news! I’m currently working to organize and hold an organic-focused blueberry/mummy berry workshop in Washington in conjunction with NCAP (the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides). Growers from Washington have previously traveled to Oregon for our educational events in 2014 and requested that we offer a workshop in Washington, so we are planning for one in Mount Vernon in February.
We’re still in the planning stages, but in order to make this workshop as valuable as possible for growers in the Pacific Northwest, I’d like to get YOUR feedback on a couple of questions:
1) Are there any meetings for berry growers in the spring that we should be sure to avoid? 
We know the Blueberry Conference in Portland is January 27, although we don’t know that they focus much on organic methods.
Organicology is Feb 5-7 in Portland. Do you know if many of the WA blueberry growers attend?
2) Could you suggest how we should focus our advertising to reach blueberry growers interested in alternatives to pesticides? Are there any organizations that I should be sure to reach with information about this workshop? Any groups with email lists or mailed newsletters that blueberry growers are plugged into? Where do you hear about events? 
Please respond in the comments section! More information regarding the workshop and current field experiments will be posted soon!

 

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