The Blueberry News
Official Newsletter of the Florida Blueberry Growers' Association
Summer Issue, 2002
Editor: Jeff Williamson (Professor, Horticultural Science Department, IFAS, University of Florida)
Officers: Jerry Mixon, Jr. (president), Dean Deihl (vice president), Sheri Brothers (secretary and treasurer), Jeff Williamson (educational program
director and newsletter editor).
Board of Directors: Jerry Mixon, Jr., Dean Deihl, Ken Patterson, Jimmy Miller, Gerald Mixon, Bob Payne, Steve Blount and Paul Lyrene.
Disclaimer: The information in this newsletter was selected with good intentions by the editor It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor, the Florida Blueberry
Growers' Association or the Association Directors The reader should not assume that the information presented in the newsletter is being recommended for his or her farm Especially
where pesticides or growth regulators are mentioned, be sure to follow their labels exactly If you have comments, corrections, or suggestions regarding the newsletter, please write to
A Message from the President
Hello, I hope everyone had a great season. Someone once told me that every season is different and this season was definitely differently. It
ranged from too much cold to not enough cold to blistering heat in the beginning of April. One strong positive for the season is that prices
were strong through April. Hopefully, we all learned something about our farms and the varieties on our farms that will help us do better next
In March, at our last meeting, the Board of Directors approved the forming of a Research Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of
myself, Jerry Mixon, Bob Payne, Joe Keel, Jimmy Miller and Alto Straughn. This Council was formed to recommend research project funding
to the Board of Directors; and give guidance and suggestions to University of Florida researchers.
This Council met for the first time June 20. During that meeting Joe Keel was elected as Committee Chairman and Sheri Brothers as
Secretary,. Sheri wasn't originally appointed to the Council but agreed to, in addition to her duties as FBGA Secretary/Treasurer, take time out
of her schedule to act as secretary. You will be hearing from the Council in coming days.
One point made by the Council was the lack of monies to fund FBGA projects. It was suggested and approved by the Council to request
FBGA members contribute, in addition to their membership dues, to the FBGA research fund. So, I am requesting that those of you who
would like to, contribute to this worthwhile cause.
In this newsletter, you will also read from Jeff Williamson that Section 18 from Indar has been received. Those of you who take advantage of
this product in battle blueberry leaf diseases need to keep records and give information back to Jeff. This way, if necessary, we can receive a
Section 18 in following years.
I hope you all have a great summer and I look forward to seeing you at our October meeting.
Jerry Mixon, President
Indar WSP Fungicide Approved for Use on Blueberries in Florida to Control Leaf Spot Diseases
by Jeff Williamson
In early June, I was informed that a supplemental label for use of Indar WSP (fenbuconazole) fungicide to control Septoria and rust leaf spots
on blueberry in Florida has been approved by EPA and by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This exemption was
granted because of the loss of Benlate which was widely used for leaf spot control in Florida. Growers who wish to use Indar WSP must have
a copy of the supplemental Florida label in their possession along with the full label which is affixed to the pesticide container.
Our field experiments indicate that Indar provides good control of Septoria, rust and possibly several other common blueberry leaf spots.
Growers who have experienced fall defoliation before mid-November should consider including Indar in their summer spray program for leaf
disease control. You may view the Supplemental label for Indar WSP at the following University of Florida web site http://www.hos.ufl.edu/
iqwweb/williamson.htm Scroll to the bottom of the page where you'll find Extension and Research Programs and Activities and click on "Indar
WSP Fungicide Supplemental Label". The full label for Indar WSP can be found at http://www.cdms.net/ldat/ld802003.pdf.
Blueberry Insect Pests Research & Extension Update from the Small Fruit Laboratory at University of Florida
by Dr. Oscar Liburd and Erin Finn
Our program was initiated in the fall 2001 with a blueberry grower pest survey, which was sent out to the various counties throughout the state
of Florida. The purpose of the survey was two-fold: 1) to determine the major insect pest problems affecting blueberry growers in Florida and
2) to determine how we should allocate our research and extension efforts throughout the state. Approximately 50% of the surveys that were
sent out were returned. Blueberry growers indicated that the major pest problems were blueberry flower thrips, blueberry gall midge, blueberry
bud mite, cranberry fruitworm and blueberry maggot. Flower thrips and gall midge were identified as the two most important insect pests in
blueberries. The survey was followed-up with several on-farm visits to blueberry growers throughout the state. Because flower thrips and gall
midge were identified as the two most important insect pests in blueberries, most of our research efforts over the last six months were
directed against these two insect pests.
Flower Thrips. Our goals were 1) to identify thrips species that were abundant in Florida blueberries and 2) to initiate sampling protocols
for detecting thrips within blueberry plantings. A third objective was to investigate reduced-risk insecticides that can potentially be used for
controlling flower thrips. Our lab worked closely with Dr. Joseph Funderburk from the North Florida Research and Education Center and Dr.
Kenna MacKenzie from Agriculture Canada to identify thrips species affecting Florida blueberries. Dr. MacKenzie also played an integral role
in helping to develop sampling protocols for thrips. Our preliminary results have indicated that the Florida flower thrips, Frankliniella
bispinosa (Morgan) is the main species that occurs in the north-central region (Highlands County to Columbia County). The data also
indicated that thrips density peaks during the flowering periods for southern highbush and Rabbiteye cultivars. Thrips have sucking/rasping
mouth parts and are believed to interfere with flower bud development and potentially reduce fruit-set. Thrips may also damage fruit by
scarring, which is particularly problematic for a high value crop such as southern highbush blueberry. In our reduced-risk insecticide trials the
data indicate that SpinTor at 6 oz per acre significantly reduced thrips population. However, thrips tend to move back into the planting after 72
hours (3 days) post application. The removal of thrips host from surrounding blueberry plantings or using additional management tools such
as biological control with minute pirate bugs, Orius spp. may help in reducing thrips population. Further research will be required to confirm
this hypothesis. Our work on developing sampling protocols involved investigating simple techniques that included the use of sticky colored
boards as well as destructive sampling of blueberry shoots. Preliminary results have indicated that blue and white sticky boards are highly
attractive to thrips. However, counting thrips on sticky boards could be very difficult when populations are high.
Gall Midge. Our work on gall midge paralleled our thrips research. Our initial goal was to study blueberry gall midge phenology and
develop sampling protocols for detecting midges in blueberry plantings. Secondly, we wanted to quantify blueberry gall midge damage within
rabbiteye and southern highbush plantings and to identify potential reduced-risk insecticides for control of blueberry gall midge. Our gall
midge research started by investigating suspected cecidomyiid species believed to be feeding on young blueberry shoots. After much
taxonomic research, we were able to effectively rear blueberry gall midge Dasineura oxycoccana (Johnson) from infested Rabbiteye
blueberry shoots in the laboratory. We were also able to rear all stages of the blueberry gall midge life cycle in the laboratory using samples
taken from various plantings. Although anecdotal evidence has previously suggested that midges favor flower buds as opposed to leaf buds,
we are attempting to confirm this observation using results from our field experiments. With respect to reduced-risk insecticides, the results
indicated that Provado 1.6 F may reduce blueberry gall midge densities. Provado 1.6 F is currently not registered for blueberries, although
there is potential for it to be registered in the future if data continue to support its efficacy in suppressing blueberry pests. Field data on gall
midge phenology continues to be collected from blueberry plantings on a weekly basis.
Other Pests. Several occasional pests, including leaf-footed bug, stink bug and fall webworm have been found at several plantings
throughout Florida. These pests vary in numbers and may be dependent upon growers' management practices. We will continue to monitor
for these pests in upcoming years. If any of these occasional pests change status to "key pest," we will redirect our attention to develop
additional management practices for their control.
Research Grants. Our project recently received national funding from USDA Pest Management Alternatives.
Summer Leaf Spot Disease Control
by Jeff Williamson
With the passing of the busy harvest season, and the summer vacation season at hand, don't neglect your blueberry fields. Those of you who
have read this newsletter for the last several years are no doubt growing tired of reading about summer leaf diseases. Nevertheless, it is
extremely important that Florida growers stay aware of the potential problems caused by leaf spot diseases and take a pro-active approach to
leaf disease control. There are a number of fungal pathogens which have been known to attack blueberry leaves during our humid summer
months including Septoria, Microshpaera (powdery mildew), Gleosporium, Dothichiza, and last but certainly not least,
Pucciniastrum (rust). During any given year one or more of these fungi can become significant leaf pathogens of blueberry resulting in poor
fall leaf condition and/or premature defoliation depending on such factors as weather, cultural practices, age of plantings, cultivars, and
probably many other factors we don't fully understand.
One thing we do know is that it's important to keep blueberry leaves present and healthy into the fall period because healthy fall leaves are
necessary for good flower bud initiation and vigorous spring growth the following season. Work by Paul Lyrene (with rabbiteye) and later work
by myself and Paul Miller (with southern highbush) have clearly shown the importance of leaf retention into the fall for adequate flower bud set
the following spring. All of the research points to the same conclusion the presence of healthy leaves in mid to late fall is essential for flower
bud initiation and development in blueberries grown in Florida.
Because of the importance of leaves for flower bud set, growers should follow cultural practices which encourage the retention of healthy
leaves into the fall (early to mid-November). The farms which seem to have the best success at this routinely prune after berry harvest (June/
July) and maintain a good fungicide spray program for control of leaf spot diseases throughout the summer rainy season and into the fall. One
possible grower misconception is that a fungicidal spray program should be initiated after symptoms appear on the leaves. Rather a
preventative spay program should be used. By the time symptoms are observed, it is often extremely difficult to get adequate disease control.
Even pre-harvest fungicide sprays aimed primarily at controlling fruit rot diseases may be more beneficial than we realize at gaining the upper
hand on summer leaf spot disease control. We are fortunate to have a new fungicide (Indar WSP) available for this use. See page 2 of this
newsletter. Ongoing research at the University of Florida is evaluating additional fungicides that may someday be available for use on
BLUEBERRY PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Blueberry Hill Nursery. Come by and see our plants, potted rabbiteye and highbush. We're in Salt Springs. Call (352)685-2769. Lic.
BeeSmart Bees and Beneficial Insects Bumblebees are available for pollination. Pre-orders are being taken through the
month of December. A full line of beneficial insects is also available for controlling pests as an alternative to chemicals. Call Tommy at (863)
665-1863 or cell (863) 712-3309.
Call the Doc! Doc Applications, Inc. is booking orders for the fall 2000 and beyond. We grow the latest varieties including Gulfcoast,
Sharpblue, Sapphire, and Emerald bare root and in containers. Call Dave Weber (863)325-8215 for price and availability. Lic. no. 47219637.
Elixson Wood Products, Inc. Pine bark shredded, nuggets, or fines available. Ph (904) 964-6649.
Island Grove Ag. Products. Don't buy plants until you've talked to us. We have all varieties including the new highbush releases from
U of F. We will grow specifically for your needs. Contact Sheri Brothers or Ken Patterson at berrygirl629(@aol.com or (352)481-5558. Lic. no.
Miller Blueberry Nursery. Rt. 3, Box 5700, Palatka, FL 32177, Telephone (904) 325-7373. Let us supply your blueberry plants. All
varieties. All sizes. Bare root and potted. Please call for prices. Lic. no. 04720531.
Mixon Family Farm, Inc. We have excellent quality blueberry plants for sale. We have Misty as well as all the newest releases from the
University of Florida including Sapphire, Jewel, Star and Sante Fe. We will custom grow for your specific needs. Call Jerry Mixon (863)439-
8335 for price and availability. License no. 472255191
My Blue Heaven Blueberry Nursery. Southern highbush varieties. Centrally located in Dade City. Give us a call, we're happy to
help. Debra Troyer (352) 567-4256, 18414 Lawrence Rd., Dade City, FL 33523. Lic. no. 47221916.
Southern Highbush Blueberry plants for-sale Several varieties. Call for prices and availability. Bob Waldo, Hudson, FL, (727)
863-4214. Lic. no. 47227344.
Strickland Blueberry Farms and Nursery. 4956 Slaten Rd., Plant City, FL 33567 Phone (813) 754-3866. FAX: (813)754-8717.
'Gulfcoast' and 'Sharpblue' in 1, 15 and 25 gal. containers. Large quantities available. Come see an alternative planting method. Lic. no.
We welcome advertising from blueberry nurseries and suppliers. The cost is 30 cents per word per issue of the newsletter in which your
message appears. Send your blueberry-related message and a check payable to FLORIDA BLUEBERRY GROWERS'
ASSOCIATION to our address given below under membership information.
To join or renew your membership to the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, mail a check payable to FLORIDA BLUEBERRY
GROWERS ASSOCIATION to our address:
Florida Blueberry Growers Association
P.O. Box 141733
Gainesville, FL 32614
The Association annual dues depend on which membership category you fit best.
1. Regular Florida Member $10.00 per acre of blueberries, except a minimum of $50.00 and a maximum of $200.00.
2. Out-of -state member $50.00
3. Associate member $100.00 (Equipment and chemical companies, etc.)
4. Educational and Research $10.00 (University and USDA personnel who do not grow blueberries commercially)
University of Florida
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Horticultural Sciences Department
Florida Cooperative Extension Service
This page is maintained by Susie Futch zsf(mail.ifas.ufl.edu.