Blueberry red ringspot virus in southern highbush blueberry
Williford, Laura Ann
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Blueberry red ringspot virus (BRRV) has become widespread in Georgia, but there is limited quantitative information on yield losses associated with this disease. A 3-year study on two southern highbush cultivars growing in containers outdoors with frequent harvests during the fruit ripening period revealed no effects of BRRV on total fruit yield. On cultivar Star, fruit maturity was slightly advanced in BRRV-positive plants in all years. Interactions between BRRV and Phytophthora root rot were studied in the greenhouse and field, revealing no evidence for synergism between the two diseases in symptom intensity or yield loss. Similar results were obtained in a field study where plants were affected by BRRV and abiotic root damage (presumed herbicide injury). Despite the absence of yield losses, it is important to improve propagation practices to prevent further spread of BRRV and other systemic pathogens that may not be as benign in their yield effects.