University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) scientists have been conducting research on bacterial wilt of southern highbush blueberry caused by Ralstonia solanacearum. Phillip Harmon, a professor in the Plant Pathology Department at the University of Florida, is leading the study.
According to the UF/IFAS Extension Electronic Data Information Source, bacterial wilt is a newly discovered disease of blueberries in Florida. Symptoms of the disease are similar to those caused by Xylella and bacterial scorch.
The disease was initially confirmed on three farms in Florida, two in DeSoto County and one in Orange County. On all three farms, the blueberry variety Arcadia was the most severely affected.
Phillip Brannen, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension fruit plant pathologist, says that Georgia is not too concerned about bacterial wilt in its blueberries.
“We are aware of bacterial wilt showing up in Florida,” says Brannen. “So far, we have not detected it here in Georgia.”
Brannen says there was interest in tracking nursery plants to make sure it didn’t get introduced into Georgia, but the interest was not enough to back up the proper funding for that request.
“So, at this stage, I guess we have to say that producers are not overly concerned about it in Georgia, and we don’t have any reports of it showing up in Georgia,” Brannen says.
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