Causes and Prevention of Cane Blight Disease in Blackberries

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Phillip Brannen

Phillip Brannen, an Extension plant pathologist with the University of Georgia, recently spoke at the Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference on the danger of cane blight on blackberries and action to take to control this disease.

Cane blight is one of the main blackberry diseases in the Southeast. This is mostly due to the wet, humid weather conditions in the region. One of the few diseases that can completely destroy a plant, cane blight mainly enters through pruning wounds or injured canes.

Symptoms of cane blight can include dark red or purple lesions on the plant. Infected fruit will have small, black bumps embedded in the tissue of the blackberry, which are visible using a hand lens.

Brannen recommends some ways to prevent cane blight. He suggests removing the old floricanes as soon as the harvest is complete. When pruning, he recommends pinch pruning or pruning as early as possible to ensure the cut is small. Since the disease mostly enters through pruning wounds, creating a small cut will lessen the chances of cane blight occurring.

Brannen also suggests not pruning blackberries unless they have four days of dry weather conditions first. “That will allow infection, if rain occurs,” he said. Brannen added that it is a good idea to apply fungicides to blackberries after pruning to prevent cane blight infection.

Hear the full interview:

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