New Home for This Blog

Soon, this blog will be moving to the official Mississippi State University website. Currently, all blogs are housed at blogs.msucares.com, but those may also move in the future.  So for the time being it is likely this blog will be there if you care to find it.

I plan to continue on and do the same types of posts there as I have done here. I hope you will follow along on this new journey.

A Chilling Tale of Three Blueberry Cultivars

The number of chill hours we received this year has been lower than usual (see Chill Hour link on right side of this page). I am in the process of accumulating chill hour data from the last 15 years or so to see how (or if) it has changed over that time period. At any rate, this year was somewhere between 500 and 600 hours here in Poplarville.  Enough for most blueberry cultivars, but not all. To this point, see the photo below.

From left to right: Springhigh, Jewel, and O'Neal southern highbush blueberries. Notice that O'Neal has no leaves compared to the other two.

From left to right: Springhigh, Jewel, and O’Neal southern highbush blueberries. Notice that O’Neal has no leaves compared to the other two.

Springhigh has a low chilling requirement of 200 hours. It is also very early blooming which causes problems in our location most years. This cultivar was released in 2005 out of Florida.  Jewel has a similar chilling requirement of about 250 hours. It too is from Florida. O’Neal is much different from the other two.  For flowering it requires about 400-500 hours of chilling; however the leaves have a higher requirement. Although I would not consider the flowering good on this bush it has some. Leaf development is known to be slow and sporadic on O’Neal anyway in the spring. This cultivar is from North Carolina.

I suspect that the amount of chilling we received fell in the area of enough for O’Neal flowers but not quite enough for O’Neal leaves. Leaves will continue to emerge but may take longer than normal. That delay in full leafing may affect the quantity and quality of the crop on O’Neal, whereas both look fine on Springhigh and Jewel.

This publication from Georgia has good information on these cultivars and chill hours.

Klendusity

Have you ever run into a word that you cannot believe you have never heard before in your life?  You think, “How did I make it through school without learning this?” Or, “Did I hear about it but forget that it even existed?”  That is how I felt yesterday.

The word is klendusity and I came across it in a publication from 1961 on Pierce’s Disease of grapes in Mississippi (full citation at the bottom). The exact line from the paper is, “This species may be resistant, or it may have escaped infection because of klendusity.” So, obviously, I had to look up the word to find its exact meaning.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the short definition of klendusity is “disease-escaping ability”.  The fuller, and more descriptive definition is, “the tendency of a plant or variety to escape infection as a result of having some property (as a thick cuticle or hairy surface) that prevents or hinders inoculation.”

Now, I have a Ph.D. in Plant Science — I should know this word, right?  Yes, probably, but as with anything in life there are always new things to be learned. So instead of beating myself up about not knowing this word (or having forgot about it), I decided to revel in my discovery. And it feels great. I hope my discovery has led to a new one for you too.

Citation:

Loomis, N.H. 1961. Symptom Expression and Occurrence of Pierce’s Disease Virus at Meridian, Miss. Proc. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 77:331-336.

Mississippi Fruit Problems 2015

Every year the Mississippi State University Extension Plant Diagnostic Lab published a list of the pathogens/problems that were identified.  The Lab can be found online here: msucares.com/lab.  In 2015 several pathogens/problems were seen on fruit crop plants in Mississippi.  Below is the run-down. The number after the name indicates how many times it was diagnosed in 2015:

Apple (Malus x domestica)
 Abiotic (Potassium deficiency suspected) (1)
 Alternaria blotch (Alternaria mali) (1)
 Bitter rot (Colletotrichum sp.) (1)
 Burrknot (genetic) (1)
 Cedar apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virgianae) (1)
 Cedar apple rust resistance reaction (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virgianae) (2)
 Flyspeck (Schizothyrium pomi) (1)
 Leaf spot (Gloeosporium sp.) (1)
 Leaf spot (Pseudocercospora sp.) (1)

Banana, Japanese (Musa basjoo)
 Root rot (Pythium sp.) (1)

Blackberry (Rubus sp.) ‘Arapaho’
 Abiotic (herbicide injury) (1)

Blueberry (Vaccinium sp.)
 Canker (Fusicoccum sp.) (1)
 Leaf and Fruit Spot (Exobasidium maculosum) (1)

Cherry (Prunus sp.)
 Leaf spot (Cercospora circumscissa) (1)
 Shot-hole (Wilsonomyces carpophilus) (1)

Chestnut, Chinese (Castanea mollisima)
 Abiotic (high pH) (1)

Fig, Common (Ficus carica)
 Fig canker suspected (Diaporthe eres) (1)
 Web blight (Rhizoctonia solani) (1)
 Wood boring beetles (1)

Lemon (Citrus limon)
 Alternaria leaf spot of rough lemon suspected (Alternaria sp.) (1)

Mayhaw (Crataegus aestivalis)
 Rust (Gymnosporangium sp.) (1)

Muscadine (Vitus rotundifolia)
 Leaf blight (Pseudocercospora vitis) (1)

Peach (Prunus persica)
 Bacterial spot (Xanthomonas arboricola pv. Pruni) (1)
 Brown rot (Monilinia fructicola) (4)
 Shot-hole (Wilsonomyces carpophilus) (1)

Pear (Pyrus sp.)
 Bacterial shot-hole disease (Pseudomonas syringae) (1)
 Cedar quince rust (Gymnosporangium clavipes) (2)
 Leaf spot (Phoma sp.) (1)
 Spot anthracnose (Elsinoë pyri) (2)

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
 Aphid injury suspected (1)
 Burl (undetermined cause) (1)

Plum (Prunus sp.)
 Black-knot (Apiosporina morbosa) 91)
 Gummosis (Botryosphaeria sp.) (1)
 Shot-hole disease (Wilsonomyces carpophilus) (1)
 Shot-hole borer suspected (1)

Satsuma (Citrus reticulata)
 Abiotic (nutrient deficiency suspected) (1)
 Abiotic (alternate bearing) (1)
 Fruit drop (abiotic) (1)
 Fruit split (abiotic) (1)
 Sweet orange scab suspected (Elsinoe fawcettii) (1)

Strawberry (Fragaria sp.)
 Abiotic (acetochlor plus heavy clay soil plus cold wet weather suspected) (1)
 Abiotic (nutrient deficiency suspected) (1)
 Abiotic (root stress-too wet) (1)
 Bacterial leaf scorch (Xylella fastidiosa) (1)

 

Is Mummy Berry Starting Already?

I received the information below from University of Georgia Plant Pathologist Dr. Phil Brannen. It states that in Georgia, mummy berry infection is likely right now due to the warmer weather conditions.  We have also had these conditions in Mississippi, so it would be a good idea to keep mummy berry control in mind, especially for southern highbush blueberries.  Meanwhile, rabbiteyes are not far behind.

Dr. Harald Scherm ran the mummy berry model today, and it indicates that we are currently in a DANGER period for mummy berry disease initiation.  Harald stated that the temperature-driven model indicated that apothecium (spore-forming structure that develops from overwintered mummies on the ground and in debris) emergence should be well underway based on the balance of chill-hours and degree-days received. In fact, there could be a chance that the apothecia ejected spores earlier than normal, possibly allowing for infection of early-blooming southern highbush varieties. This assumes that soil moisture conditions have been favorable, which they likely have been.  Rabbiteyes will soon be showing green tip or early bloom, which should initiate the spray program for mummy berry management.  For additional information on fungicides which are available for management of mummy berry, refer to the blueberry IPM guide at www.smallfruits.org. “

Grape and Muscadine Pruning Workshop Recap

Here is a recap of the grape and muscadine pruning workshop by Dr. Coker.

The VeggieDr Blog

Yesterday was a beautiful day to play in the vineyard at the Beaumont Horticultural Unit!  Dr. Eric Stafne discussed proper pruning techniques for both grapes and muscadines.  Participants had the opportunity to pull out their pruners and get some hands-on training!

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MSU Workshop to Teach Grape Pruning Basics

The Mississippi State University Extension Service invites grape growers in the state to a pruning workshop to be held Feb. 3 in Beaumont.

The event will cover the basics of vine anatomy and pruning techniques for bunch grapes and muscadines. After the presentations, in-field demonstrations will show participants correct pruning techniques. Novice and seasoned growers are invited to attend.

The event will be held at the MSU Beaumont Horticultural Unit in Perry County from 10 a.m. to noon. There is no cost to attend, and no preregistration is required. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. Participants are encouraged to dress for the weather expected, as part of the workshop will be spent outdoors.

The Beaumont Horticultural Unit is located at 478 Highway 15 in Beaumont. Contact Eric Stafne at 601-403-8939 or eric.stafne@msstate.edu for more information.

First 2016 Issue of Mississippi Vaccinium Journal

Dear Faithful Readers:

Below is the link to the latest issue of the Mississippi Vaccinium Journal.  In this issue we cover new cultivars, diseases, presentations from the Mississippi Blueberry Education Workshop, and more.

Mississippi Vaccinium Journal Volume 5 Issue 1

As always, you can see past issues at this link: http://msucares.com/newsletters/vaccinium/index.html

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me.

Presentations from the 2016 Mississippi Blueberry Education Workshop

The 2016 Mississippi Blueberry Education Workshop was held on January 14 in Hattiesburg. There were 55 attendees that heard the following speakers.  To access a PDF copy of each talk (if available), click the linked title.

Speaker Line-Up and Schedule:

1:10-1:40 pm Dr. James Barnes (MSU-ES):

The Economics of Marketing Blueberries Using Facebook: Some Lessons Learned from the Mississippi Bricks to Clicks Extension Program

1:40-2:10 pm Chaille Clements (Mississippi Dept. of Agriculture and Commerce):

Farm to School Presentation (Market Ready)

2:10-2:40 pm Dr. Eric Stafne (MSU-ES):

Update on Harvest-aid Technologies to Improve Harvest Efficiency

 

2:40-3:00 pm Mechanical Harvest Survey and Break

 

3:00-3:30 pm Dr. Rebecca Melanson (MSU-ES):

Recognizing and Managing Blueberry Diseases

3:30-4:00 pm Dr. Donna Marshall-Shaw (USDA-ARS, Poplarville):

Blueberry Cultivars for Small and Local Markets

 

4:00-5:00 pm Questions/Discussion/Evaluation

 

What is Your Marketing Plan?

You might be surprised to find out that this is usually my first question when someone says they wish to put in a planting of fruiting crops.  Not soil types, not cultivars, not cultural management, and not diseases.  All of those things are critically important, and believe me, I would I could stick only to those things (because that is my knowledge arena).  However, the world of growing and selling fruit is not an easy one to navigate. Overproduction and excess supply of some fruit make selling it difficult.  Sure, you can be a great grower, but if you are not a good marketer then you might as well forget it.

I don’t know how many times I have talked about marketing to the many, many growers I have dealt with. It is so crucial to understand that growing the fruit is not enough. The thought is, “If you build it, they will come.”

Wrong.

It should be, “If you build it, you better hustle and work to make sure they can find you.” Upfront education and the willingness to develop a marketing plan that is adaptive to change is key, because doing the same thing year after year (also called stagnation) is also a losing proposition.

I’m not a marketer. It is not my area of expertise. But, if you are planning to get into fruit production you need to become an expert or have the help of one in order to survive.