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Bacterial wilt killing blueberry crops in Florida

by Paul Rusnak, Growing Produce

There is a new threat Florida blueberry growers should be wary of: bacterial wilt. In a memo sent to members of the Florida Blueberry Growers Association, President Dudley Calfee strongly advised growers to scout fields thoroughly for this “new and dangerous pathogen.”

The disease has initially been confirmed on three farms, two in Desoto County and one in Lake County. On all three farms, the variety ‘Arcadia’ was the most severely affected, according to Phil Harmon, UF/IFAS Plant Pathologist. Other varieties also may be susceptible, but additional research is needed before we will know for sure. Continue reading

National specialty crop project explores new possibilities for grafted tomato and cucurbit plants

Five years ago, a North Carolina State University-led specialty crop project helped several U.S. growers use grafted tomato plants to return land plagued by bacterial wilt to production. The project paired needy growers with companies such as Ontario Plant Propagators that supplied grafted plants. Now NC State researchers are leading a new project that promises to find ways that grafted plants can give growers more choices to manage diseases and add value to their cucurbit and tomato crops. Continue reading

Scientists in Virginia and North Carolina research grafted tomatoes

At Southeast Farm Press

By Roy Roberson

Grafting plants can solve bacterial wilt problems in a field of tomatoes and can significantly reduce damage from rootknot nematodes, but that doesn’t mean that profit will follow, says Virginia Tech Horticulturist Josh Freeman.

“I’m not an evangelist for grafting, but I can make a field of tomatoes whole by switching from non-grafted transplants to grafted plants.

Continue reading