help! blueberry leaf rust

luv_figsFebruary 19, 2010

my sunshine blue blueberry plant has leaf rust, and i checked the undersides of the leaves and its worse than i thought. its affecting 80% of all the leaves! at this point, only 10% are dying, but it has infected nearly the entire plant.

its 2 years old and is currently producing its first berries. i would prefer not to use fungicides, but what choice do i have?

even worse, i have two young plants on the same balcony, and so far they aren't infected, but i fear they will. my balcony is not that big, and i try to keep them far apart, but i'm still concerned.



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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Eliminating the problem w/o fungicides or removing all the hemlocks within 600 yds (and the latter is not a quick fix by any means) is going to be an issue. Even good housekeeping in the future won't prevent recurrence.


    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 10:10AM
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There is a new organic fungicide on the market named Actinovate which has been certified in CA as an effective control of blueberry rust and many other fungal diseases. Do a search for it and you will quickly find companies that sell it online. Expensive. It is sold in 2 ounce packages for about $20.00 but each packet covers 5000 sq. ft. so you would be using a tiny amount for each of your treatments. It is your only hope of control in this situation as I note that even the commercial fungicides may not work as this rust is a tough one to control. Hopefully you will give it a try. If it works...please let us know.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2010 at 12:27PM
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hey guys,
thanks for the tips. i may buy it, but i wonder if its too late for my plant now, since its already producing fruit. will it be toxic to the fruits?

also, should i apply it on my two un-infected plants, just to be preventative?

also, what happens if i don't do anything? all the leaves fall off and the plant dies, or just 30% less yield?


    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 7:01PM
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lov figs I read the information provided by the manufacturer and they say its safe for fruits and vegetables.

Thanks nandina.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 11:34PM
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Hi nandina,
Thanks for the info. I did some research on Actinovate and couldnâÂÂt find any sites that said it was cleared for the leaf rust fungus. Can you direct me to the website that specified that?


    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:50PM
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Some further thoughts for Jenny:

1. Do a search for blueberry rust fungus + Actinovate and the information you seek will pop up on the top posts. For those questioning if Actinovate will control whatever type of fungus problem they have this is the way to find the information quickly. Put into search the name of the fungus + Actinovate. ie. brown patch fungus + Actinovate.

2. Relax. Your blueberries are not going to die. Even if every leaf falls off they will regrow leaves in the spring. Sunshine Blue is deciduous in northern areas and if you understand its growth pattern you will understand why I say this. Your job is to remove every fallen leaf from the containers, bag them and add to your garbage pick-up.

3. Please order a 2 ounce packet of Actinovate and purchase a 32 ounce hand held spray bottle available at Lowes or Home Depot in the gardening section. Also, from your Target store buy a bottle of organic Method Go-Naked dishwashing detergent. This company sells a number of liquid cleaning products, make certain you are buying the one labeled for dishwashing.

Now, do the following because you are treating only a few plants:

1. Fill spray bottle with water.
2. Put one drop of the dishwashing liquid on a finger tip and swirl it around in the spray bottle. This is all you will need. Be certain you do this first.
3. Open Actinovate packet carefully. Dip the tip of a paring knife into it and remove a small amount. Shake this off into the spray bottle. This is all of the Actinovate necessary for one treatment. Reseal packet tightly.

3. Screw the top on the hand sprayer, shake and spray the blueberry foliage.
4. Then divide the remaining liquid in the hand sprayer between your containers pouring it on top of the soil next to each stem.
4. After this first treatment, repeat again in two weeks. Then once a month thereafter, every month for your growing zone. If this is not doing the job then you may have treat every two weeks. I am unable to find specific instructions so you will have to experiment. Actinovate will not poison your blueberries. Please give it a try.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 2:25PM
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Hi Nandina,
Thanks for your response, I just bought the Actinovate. I am doing multiple searches for:
- blueberry Pucciniastrum vaccinii fungus + actinovate
- blueberry leaf rust fungus + actinovate

Can you help me? I donÂt see any mention of the particular strain "Pucciniastrum vaccinii. I also saw the below for the description of Actinovate, and I didnÂt see that fungus strain listed:

Either way, thank you for all your knowledge Nandina. I am going to follow the instructions you provided, but just wanted to read the details myself on how it works.


    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 2:56PM
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