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New Zealand Plant Protection 68 (2015): 411-414

Herbicide injuries on blueberry provide suitable infection sites for Neofusicoccum ribis

K.M.S. Tennakoon, M.V. Jaspers, H.J. Ridgway and E.E. Jones

ABSTRACT

Botryosphaeria dieback of blueberry is caused by several botryosphariaceous species including Neofusicoccum ribis. This research investigated whether stem damage caused by three herbicides could allow for penetration of blueberry stems by this pathogen. Results showed that all the herbicides damaged hard green shoots, of which 100% were penetrated by the inoculated N. ribis. Mean lesion lengths were similar for all herbicides and the inoculated wounded control (P=0.240). Isolations from bark and wood showed similar infected proportions for bark (P=0.14) but different proportions for wood (P=0.035). These mean proportions were: 76.4% for bark and 82.5% for wood when treated with glufosinate-ammonium, 74.6% and 75.0% with paraquat+diquat, 66.9% and 61.4% with carfentrazone-ethyl, and 58.1% and 60.4% for the inoculated wounded control. This study has indicated that herbicide damage can create entry ports for stem pathogens, and highlights the importance of careful herbicide application to manage understorey weeds in blueberry farms.

Keywords: dieback, blueberries, stem damage.

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