Epidemiology of Blueberry necrotic ring blotch virus of southern highbush blueberry in Georgia
Robinson, Tanisha Sheree
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Blueberry necrotic ring blotch is a new viral disease of southern highbush blueberries (SHB; Vaccinium corymbosum interspecific hybrids) in the southeastern United States. Epidemiological studies were conducted to fill critical knowledge gaps related to disease development, and spatio-temporal spread of necrotic ring blotch in the individual plant and the entire field. Field surveys demonstrated that symptom spread within rows appears to be more rapid than spread across rows, suggesting that a slow-moving vector may be involved in transmission. The surveys also showed that symptoms appear earlier and are more severe in the interior of the bush. Symptomatic and asymptomatic foliage of susceptible ‘Star’ blueberry plants was collected to confirm the presence or absence of the virus via RT-PCR. Results suggest that Blueberry necrotic ring blotch virus causes local infections within the host plant and likely does not overwinter in SHB plants.