Submitted to: Compendium on Blueberry and Cranberry Diseases
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/30/2009
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Stem blight, commonly referred to as dieback, is a destructive disease of highbush and rabbiteye blueberry primarily in the southeastern United States extending north into New Jersey. Losses are most severe in young fields where plants often become infected and die in the first two years. In older fields, stem blight is most commonly seen as a dieback on one or more canes in a bush. A dramatic increase in stem blight incidence over the past 50 years has been associated with increased mechanized harvesting, mechanized pruning, and a shift to more susceptible cultivars. Stem blight is also a major disease of low-chill southern highbush cultivars grown in the Gulf south. Besides blueberry, the disease affects other fruit crops including apple, blackberry, peach, and citrus, as well as many other woody plants in temperate and tropical zones around the world. This review article gives information on the pathogen, disease cycle, disease symptoms, epidemiology, and control of stem blight.