Pest Alert: Mummy Berry Emerging This Week
Date: March 5, 2013
From: Bill Cline, Extension Plant Pathologist
Mummy berry is now active in southeastern North Carolina – the photos below were taken yesterday. The disease begins each spring with the emergence of the fungus from last year’s infected fruit (mummies) that have overwintered on the ground. The first sign of activity (and potential for infection) is the appearance of apothecia or “mummy cups” in spring. Spores from these small brown cup-shaped mushrooms infect emerging blueberry shoots. Yesterday at the NC State University Horticultural Crops Research Station in Castle Hayne, the spore-producing (infective) stage of this disease was visible on the ground underneath bushes in wet areas of some fields (click on images to enlarge):
The emergence of this fungus coincides with emergence of new shoots on blueberry bushes, so the disease will appear later in colder areas of the state where bushes are still dormant. Fields in southeastern North Carolina with a history of this disease should be sprayed with fungicides as soon as possible, especially in early-blooming cultivars where flower and leaf shoots are beginning to emerge. See further descriptions, and images of other stages of this disease. For specific recommendations on control, go to the North Carolina Agricultural Chemicals Manual.