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Strange blueberry shoots

Posted by sportyredsaab 4a (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 9:09

Hi there,

I inherited some highbush blueberry bushes that came with the house we bought 3 year ago. The past two early springs I have pruned the bushes and am just about to get out there and prune for this season. Last year there were some abnormal shoots on one or two bushes that I pruned off. I had a really good season last summer with more blueberries than I knew what to do with! This year there are even more abnormal shoots. The bushes are located in partial shade under an evergreen. Any ideas why they are happening? Should I continue to remove these strange shoots?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

Another bush


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

It could be the start of witches broom....it is a rust / fungus. Do those misshapen shoots fruit or have normal leaves?


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

Yup your second picture confirms it.


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

I pruned them all off last year so they never had a chance to produce leaves/fruit. I am pretty new to gardening. What do I need to do about this?


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

Just did a Google search on witches broom, and sure enough, the fir tree nearby has the same sort of growth in it. I feel sad that I have infected trees.


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

Sadly there are no treatments for it that I am aware of....not saying there isn't, just that I don't know of any, sorry.


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

I have never heard about this before. Very interesting. I did a search too and was surprised by this:

In the case of blueberry bushes, witches’ broom is caused by a fungus that lives on balsam fir trees. This broom fungus always needs a blueberry and a fir as hosts and is very specific; a blueberry with the fungus can’t infect another blueberry. Most brooms caused by rust fungus need two host plants. The fungus that causes witches’ broom on balsam fir needs common chickweed as a secondary host, and the fungus that infects spruce needs the lowly bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi).

Here is a link that might be useful: Witches’ Broom: It’s Not What You Think


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RE: Strange blueberry shoots

Cut the fir tree down?


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