Archive for May, 2012

Blueberry beneficial insects

May 31, 2012

What not to squash in the garden:

  • Blueberries and Honey Bees
  • Braconids in Blueberry
  • Ladybeetles in Blueberry
  • Assassin bugs
  • Green Lacewing
  • Ground Beetle
  • True Bugs
  • Damsel bugs
  • Minute Pirate bugs
  • Shield bugs
  • Predatory Mites
  • Flies (most)

Find out more about each one at:



A Billion Bees ‘From Away’ Are Essential to Maine’s Wild Blueberry Crop

May 30, 2012

Released May 21, 2012

DEBLOIS, Maine — The blueberry barrens of Down East Maine are literally buzzing this weekend with anticipation of a bumper crop of wild bush blueberries, given the recent importation of 1 billion honeybees trucked in from away to help ensure a hefty harvest.

“No bees, no blueberries,” said David Yarborough, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service’s wild blueberry specialist.

Field studies done in Washington County and elsewhere in Maine have shown that yields can be increased by as much as 1,000 pounds an acre for each hive servicing that acre, up to five hives per acre. Those results presume good weather, adequate soil moisture and good fertilization and pest management.

–continued on Maine Sun Journal:

Blueberries hasten muscle recovery – study

May 29, 2012

You may want to down a blueberry smoothie after a tough workout. See article below:

From Massey University

London fruit sellers may want to stock up on New Zealand blueberries after a study found athletes who eat them recover faster from exercise.

Massey School of Sport and Exercise head Associate Professor Steve Stannard worked with University colleagues and the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research on the paper, which has just been published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Dr Stannard says the findings could help Olympians and other athletes return to peak performance faster after strenuous exercise.

He and his team used a novel method that compared one leg of a participant to the other leg. “We put the study participants on a Biodex machine and had them work the thigh of one leg very hard to damage the muscle,” Dr Stannard says. “They did 300 maximal eccentric contractions, which causes micro-trauma to the muscle’s fibres.”

In the first part of the study, participants were given blueberry smoothies before, during, and for two days after the exercise strength tests, and blood samples were taken to monitor the leg’s recovery. Several weeks later, the exercise was repeated on the other leg, but a smoothie without blueberries, and therefore with a different polyphenol content, was consumed instead. Ten female participants were involved in the study.

The blood samples showed eating the blueberries, although possessing a similar total antioxidant content as the control, produced a higher level of antioxidant defence in the blood. This was associated with improved rate of recovery in the first 36 hours in one particular measure of muscle performance.

Dr Stannard says it is not yet clear exactly why the blueberries help. “But it is probably linked to the superior anthocyanin content of the New Zealand blueberry fruit interacting with and assisting the body’s natural antioxidant mechanisms,” he says.

Read the rest of the article here: 


Blueberries Serve as Healthful Snack (Video)

May 25, 2012

Maybe one of your New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthfully. Growing your own fruit can help you toward that end. In this edition of Get It Growing, LSU AgCenter horticulturist Dan Gill explains now is a great time to plant blueberry bushes – which produce some of the most healthful fruit around. (Runtime: 1:49)

May 24, 2012

Spotted Wing Drosophila has just been confirmed in Louisiana and Mississippi! Advise on monitoring and control:


The spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) – winged its way to North and South Carolina this past summer. The insect has the potential to cause up to 20 percent crop loss in host fruit. Go to the link here for more information on the SWD.

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Bird Damage to Blueberries may be Significant

May 23, 2012

Assessment of Bird Damage to Early-Ripening Blueberries in Florida

According to a report by Curtis Nelms, Michael Avery and David Decker, birds appear to have a significant impact on the early season fresh market blueberry industry in Florida. A report from the researchers shows the problem is likely to worsen as the planting of high-value, early-ripening varieties spreads to other parts of the state and ripening times overlap with wintering frugivorous birds. Bird damage to early-ripening Florida blueberries was estimated to be approximately 17 percent in 1988 (two sites) and ranged from 17 percent to 75 percent in 1989 (three sites) when a late winter freeze severely reduced expected yield. Monetary loss due to bird damage in 1989 may have exceeded $4,500 per acre at one site.

Access the original article at:


Non-insect Blueberry Pests (deer, birds, etc.)

May 22, 2012

The following chapters are available at:

1. Keeping Weeds, Pests and Birds Out of Blueberries
Updated: January 20, 2012

2. Weed Control in Blueberries
Updated: November 28, 2011

3. Fruit: Wildlife Damage
Updated: November 17, 2011

4. Use of Decoy Traps to Protect Blueberries from Juvenile European Starlings
Updated: November 17, 2011

5. Bye-Bye Birdie: Repelling Birds from Fruit Plantings
Updated: November 17, 2011

6. Common Starling Roosts: Implications for Control
Updated: November 17, 2011

7. How to Keep Deer Out of a Garden
Updated: November 14, 2011

8. Assessment of Bird Damage to Early-Ripening Blueberries in Florida
Updated: November 14, 2011

Looking to buy Blueberry bushes? Questions to Ask at a Nursery

May 21, 2012

Blueberry growers who plan to buy plants from nurseries should arrive with a list of questions to ask. Here are some questions to help you get started:
What are the best blueberry cultivars for my area?
When should I plant blueberries?
Are your blueberries certified virus frees?
What is the best way to plant blueberries?
How many blueberry plants do I need? (relates to pollination requirements and quantity produced)
Do blueberries require direct sunlight?
How far apart do I need to plant blueberries?
What size blueberry plants should I buy?
How old are your blueberry plants?
Do you have a replacement policy if my blueberry dies?
Do I need to do anything special to the soil for blueberries?
What insects or diseases affect blueberries?
How do I control insects and diseases in blueberries?
Can blueberries be grown organically?
When should I fertilize blueberries?
How much fertilizer do blueberries need?
What is the best blueberry fertilizer?
Do blueberries need pruning?
How do you prune blueberries?
When do you prune blueberries?
What is a good mulch for blueberries?
Should I irrigate my blueberries?
How often should I irrigate blueberries?
How much water should I apply to blueberries?
What is the best tasting blueberry?
How many years before a blueberry plant bears fruit?
When do blueberry fruit get ripe?
How long will a blueberry plant live?
Where do you get your plants from?


Powdery Mildew of Blueberry

May 18, 2012

The powdery mildew disease usually does not develop on blueberry leaves until midsummer after the crop is harvested.

A white fungus growth on the upper leaf surface of some cultivars, or it may be indistinct and confined to the lower leaf surface.
Chlorotic spots with reddish borders are common on the leaf surface and may be mistaken for symptoms caused by the red ringspot virus.
The leaves show light green, yellow or reddish areas and puckering.
Water-soaked spotting is visible on leaf undersides. In severe cases, plants may defoliate.

Disease cycle:
At the end of summer, yellow to black fruiting bodies (cleistothecia) form on infected leaves.
Airborne spores released by cleistothecia in the spring infect young leaves.
The mycelium is superficial and penetrates only the epidermis.
Secondary spores are produced on the leaves and dispersed by wind throughout the summer.
High temperatures and humidity promote disease development.

Disease Management:

Plant resistant cultivars.
Reduce humidity in the planting.
Use fungicides if the disease is severe.

Cline, W.O. “Bill”. Leaf Diseases of Blueberry. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
Cline, W.O. “Bill,” and Annemiek Shchilder. Michigan Blueberry Facts: Powdery Mildew. Retrieved 28 April 2010 .


Gloeosporium Leaf Spot or Anthracnose of Blueberry

May 17, 2012

Gloeosporium leaf spot can cause severe defoliation and reduction in yield of blueberry crops.

Symptoms include:
Small reddish flecks on young leaves and stems of succulent shoots.
Leaf and stem flecks do not develop further.
Large brown lesions (1/2 inch to more than 1 inch across).
Development of lesions results primarily from infection through hydathodes at the margins of the leaf, and to a lesser extent through wounds. Stem lesions first appear on current season’s growth as dark red circular to elliptical lesions around leaf scars. As the lesions enlarge, the affected stems turn brown and eventually become gray and die. On highly susceptible cultivars such as Jersey, the disease results in severe dieback, measuring up to 20 inches.
Secondary stem lesions can develop from leaf infections by growing through the petiole into the stem, and from bud infections late in the season.

Cline, W.O. “Bill.” Leaf Diseases of Blueberry. Retrieved 01 June 2010.
Cline, W.O. “Bill” and Gina Fernandez. Suggestions for Establishing a Blueberry Planting in Western North Carolina. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
North Carolina State University Plant Disease and Insect Clinic. Retrieved 01 May 2010.