Wild Blueberry Management Updates_ June 12, 2024

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

 

 

Hello, everyone

 

In this quick mid-week update, we show some highlights from a recent wild blueberry growers meeting.

-       Kentville Degree Day Accumulations

-       NS Wild Blueberry Weather Stations GDD Accumulations

-       Spreading Dogbane Management in Wild Blueberry Fields

 

Kentville Degree Day Accumulations

 

Figure 1: Heating degree day accumulations for plant (above 5°C) and insect (above 10°C) development from March 1 to June 9 for the past 17 seasons. Provided by Jeff Franklin (AAFC Plant Physiology).

 

As of June 9, this year’s GDD accumulation trend in NS is still ahead of the provincial 5- and 10-year averages. Table 1 shows the difference between the 2024 and 5-year average is about 50 (433.3-385). At this time of the year, we gain about 12 GDD daily across the province. That’s about 4.2 days earlier than our normal management schedule.


Table 1. Degree day accumulations as of June 9, 2024. All data are taken from the Environment and Climate Change Canada weather station located at the Kentville Research and Development Centre. Calculations are based on a start date of March 1 and calculated using the single-sine method.



Wild Blueberry GDD Updates_ April 1- June 10


Figure 2. GDD Summary, April 1- June 10

 

Spreading Dogbane Management in Wild Blueberry Fields

Figure 3. Spreading Dogbane with flowers and leaves

 

Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium L.) is a perennial plant and a troublesome weed in wild blueberry fields. In a 2017-2019 weed survey, this weed appeared in about 20% of the total wild blueberry fields in NS. Over the last few years, we have been noticing that this weed is spreading very fast and the occurrence of this plant in blueberry fields is increasing. The primary spreading method of dogbane is via horizontally growing roots which helps to form ever-expanding patches of dense shoots (Figure 4).

Figure 4. Dense Spreading Dogbane Patch in an infested wild blueberry field

 

Cutting, mowing, round up applications, and using Dicamba products (Banvel and Engenia) are all common from past conversations with growers. They have their own pros and cons. I only discuss further the industry-standard and research-based recommended management practices.

Growers can access Banvel and Engenia at the moment. Dicamba products will hurt wild blueberry plants so we only recommend spot spray the recommended products in wild blueberry fields. The initial application is recommended when dogbane patches are in the early bud stage (Figure 5). Further applications might be needed. A sticker/adjuvant is recommended to improve product efficacy and control results. Please read the product label. The below information is just some quick numbers (Figure 6) to help you to cross-check. Please also go through sections in the label including mixing instructions and spraying instructions to avoid any factors that might affect product efficacy.


Figure 5. Spreading Dogbane in Early Bud Stage

 

Figure 6. Recommended Product Rates for Spreading Dogbane Management

 

 

Have a great week!

Hugh

Wild Blueberry Management Updates_ June 10, 2024

Monday, June 10, 2024


Hello, everyone

I have received some notes from growers to inform me that this year’s yield looks promising. We have been getting all the positive growing conditions since the beginning of this production season. We have decent bloom and great flying weather for bees. Many areas in the province are in the middle of the petal fall (pinhead) stage and a small percentage of early green fruits (5-10%). Figure 1 is a good example to show the average wild blueberry crop stages in the province.

If you like to share your observations from your fields, please call or text Hugh at 902-890-0472 or email: hlyu@perennia.ca.

Have a great week.

Hugh

 

Figure 1. Wild blueberry petal fall (pin head) and early green fruits.

 

 

 

GDD Updates_ April 1- June 10

Figure 2. GDD Summary, April 1- June 10

 

Botrytis Blight Infection Report- June 10.

This year’s bloom period was significantly dryer than the 2023 season. We didn’t get any concerning spring frost during the bloom period. The botrytis infection level in crop fields was significantly lower than last year from my initial field observation. There was minimal Botrytis infection in dry fields and fields with fungicide application in proper timing, as well as sheep sorrel and goldenrod-free fields. In fields with wet conditions (including wet spots in fields, located in a wet area or close to the coastal line) and weed infestations from sheep sorrel, goldenrods, and other flowering plants, still show Botrytis infection symptoms. This is an early assessment of this year’s Botrytis blight infection.

Figure 3 is a Botrytis infection symptom photo from our research plot taken this year.



Figure 3. Botrytis Blight Infection on Wild Blueberry Blossoms from a Research Plot (Photo Credit: Sarah Schaefer).

 

 

2024 Production Updates and Seasonal Outlook for NS_ 10th Blight Line Post_ June 5

Wednesday, June 5, 2024


Hi, everyone. As we get closer to the mid-late bloom, we are no longer under the Monilinia Blight infection window, but there are still infection risks from Botrytis blossom blight. We can see infection symptoms caused by Monilinia Blight in crop fields now, as well as some early blooming clones with Botrytis Blight infection. In today’s post, we will talk about infection symptoms from Monilinia Blight. Also, how the season’s weather is influencing this production year’s disease infections.

This will be our last blight line post for the year! Please continue to follow the blog. More updates to come!  

 

GDD Updates_ April 1- June 4

Figure 1. GDD Summary, April 1- June 4

·       Crop field wild blueberry stages: mid to late bloom across the province. Central and Mainland fields are at the late bloom stage. Higher ground and fields in Antigonish and Cape Breton are around mid-bloom stages.


·       Sprout field plant emergence status: more than 50-60% plant emergence.

 

Monilinia Blight Infection Report for the 2024 Season (updated)

 

Initial report (May 29): May is a traditional month with a high risk of Monilinia blight infection in wild blueberry crop fields because of the right crop stage and the Maritime spring weather pattern. As most of you are aware, May was pretty dry. The Kentville weather station recorded 25 mm of rain in May and that’s below the 75 mm 10-year average in the area. Although we received some rain in the last two days, May was very likely running into a precipitation deficit in the province.

The good news is that the Monilinia blight infection risk is low. We had two provincial-wide wet periods (May 8-9 and May 16-17) according to the weather station data, but it was short and mild. Most growers apply at least 1 Monilinia blight fungicide which was very helpful.

 

Updated report (June 4): after the last few days’ field scouting and growers’ reports, the Monilinia Blight infection was low to none if fungicide applications were conducted on time.

I still noticed high levels of the disease infection in unmanaged fields (no fungicide inputs for this season or fields had low to no inputs in the past). The blowing photos were taken from a crop field on May 31. I circled Monilinia Blight infection symptoms on leaves and flowers. If you are walking around crop fields, you can try to ID them.








 

Events and Webinars

A free webinar on Pesticide Drone Application:

-       This is a free webinar to talk about pesticide drone application. Time: June 19, 1 PM Halifax time. Zoom. To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvdu6hqjksGdES3pLq80Y8qvsuWtKge2fU#/registration

 

Perennia Events:

-       In-person: Davis Vantage Pro 2 Weather Station Maintenance Workshop – Murray Siding: June 7, 2024. 1-4 PM. Information and registration: https://www.perennia.ca/eventer/davis-vantage-pro-2-weather-station-maintenance-workshop-murray-siding/edate/2024-06-07/.

-       Understanding Alternative Nutrient Amendments – Virtual Series. June 25 to July 30 2024. Information and registration: https://www.perennia.ca/eventer/understanding-alternative-nutrient-amendments-virtual-series/edate/2024-06-25/.

 

WBPANS Wild Blueberry Field Day: July 17, 2024, in Debert, NS. To register: https://nswildblueberries.com/field-day/.

 

 

Have a great week!

-Hugh


 

 

BLUE FOCUS NEWSLETTER- May 2024

Friday, May 31, 2024

  

BLUE FOCUS NEWSLETTER- May 2024

(Perennia’s Wild Blueberry Production Newsletter)

Photo Credit: Sarah Sachaefer

 

Dear Growers,

Welcome to the wild blueberry bloom season! What a big change in the last two weeks in central NS where we switched from clusters of fruit buds to almost mid-bloom in a week. According to the weather station data, we had above-average temperatures over the previous two weeks in the province. The provincial degree day accumulations based on Kentville station indicated that we are ahead of 5- and 10-year averages. It is almost 2-3 days ahead of the normal schedule. In this update, we will talk about precipitation data as well.  

Below this newsletter, you will find the regular updates on wild blueberry production and management. Good luck with pollination and spraying! Please make sure you protect pollinators when performing field activities. Thank you for all the hard work from wild blueberry growers and their helpers, as well as the beekeepers!

 

Hugh Lyu

Wild Blueberry Specialist, Perennia

hlyu@perennia.ca; 902-890-0472.

May 31, 2024

 

Table of Contents: 

Nova Scotia Weather

Wild Blueberry GDD Updates and Management Recommendations

Management Resources and Tools

Upcoming Events

 

 

 

Nova Scotia Weather

 

2024 Degree Day Accumulations- Kentville

The below figure would give you an idea of how the season is progressing related to air temperature. This is based on Kentville Research Weather Station. Thank you, Jeff Franklin (AAFC) and Michelle Cortens for your contribution.

 Figure 1: Heating degree day accumulations for plant (above 5°C) and insect (above 10°C) development from March 1 to May 27 for the past 17 seasons. Provided by Jeff Franklin (AAFC).

 

Table 1: Heating degree day accumulations for plant (above 5°C) and insect (above 10°C) development from March 1 to May 27 for the past 17 seasons. Provided by Jeff Franklin (AAFC).


The degree day accumulations beginning on March 1 are ahead of the 5- and 10-year averages (Figure 1). There are about 40 GDD differences between the 5-year average and 2024. That’s about 2-3 days ahead of the recent years’ schedule.

 

Cumulative Precipitation (Kentville)

From late April to the end of this month, we had a fairly dry season but there were still some significant wet periods (May 8-9 and May 16-17). A dry season during the Monilinia Blight infection season is positive thus the initial observations of Monilinia Blight infection in NS are low.

The Kentville area received 25 mm of rain in May compared to the 25-year average of 75 mm as of May 29. Figure 2 shows the cumulative precipitation over the last five years and the 10-year average in Kentville Research Station. We had some significant rainfall events in March and early April so we have been above the 10-year average but a deficit precipitation will likely bring it below the average.

Figure 2: Both rainfall and the rainfall equivalent from snow at the Kentville Research Station from 2019 to 2024. Provided by Jeff Franklin (AAFC).

 

 

Wild Blueberry GDD Updates and Management Recommendations

 

Here is a summary of the most up-to-date GDD from 16 weather stations in wild blueberry fields.

 

Figure 3. GDD summary- April 1- May 31, 2024

 

Sprout fields:

 

In province-wide, we are looking at above 50% plant emergence across the majority of sprout fields.

 

At this point:

 

-       It is very risky to apply pre-emergence herbicides to sprout fields.

-       Consider post-emergence herbicide application (Callisto, Venture L, etc.) and spot spray

-       Consider granular fertilizer application

-       Consider sulfur application (soil pH management)

-       Please monitor insect pests, such as flea beetle, blueberry thrips, and leaf beetles. Figure 4 shows flea beetle infestation in a sprout field in early June. If damage is observed, growers should consider insecticide application if it is early or consider fertilizer application in damaged spots to help plants to re-grow.

Figure 4. Flea Beetle Infestation in a Sprout field

 

Crop fields:

The majority of crop fields in NS are in the early to mid-bloom stages. Please consider the following activities based on your own situation:

-       Placing beehives or bumble bees in crop fields to increase pollination efficiency

-       Blossom Botrytis Blight Management

-       Frost watch

 

 

Management Resources and Tools

 

Perennia Online Pest Management Guide

Beginning this year, all of the pest management guides are now available from an online tool. On the tool, you will find wild blueberries under the small fruit pest guides section. You can search and filter the information and/or print. To help you navigate the guide, we have developed a brief tutorial video as well as a how to use guide.

Upcoming Events

 

1.     Join us on June 7, 2024, from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM and learn how to properly care for your Davis Vantage Pro 2 weather station! During this in-person workshop, we’ll discuss the Davis recommended annual maintenance steps and some common troubleshooting. We will also cover how to access your station’s data. If you would like to follow along with the instructions on accessing your data, please bring a mobile device and the login information for your station, so you can access your account. Registration: https://www.perennia.ca/eventer/davis-vantage-pro-2-weather-station-maintenance-workshop-murray-siding/edate/2024-06-07/.

 

2.     Wild Blueberry Growers Meetings: June 12, June 26, July 10

For meeting details and registration, please visit this link: https://www.perennia.ca/eventer/in-season-wild-blueberry-meeting-series-2024-production-season/edate/2024-03-27/.

 

3.     Free Webinar on Pesticide Drone Application: June 19, 1 PM Halifax time; Over Zoon.  To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvdu6hqjksGdES3pLq80Y8qvsuWtKge2fU#/registration

 

4.     WBPANS Field Day. To register: https://nswildblueberries.com/field-day/.

 



 

2024 Production Updates and Seasonal Outlook for NS_ 9th Blight Line Post_ May 29

Wednesday, May 29, 2024


GDD Updates_ April 1- May 27

Figure 1. GDD Summary, April 1- May 27


Nova Scotia Wild Blueberry Crop Stage Updates


Sprout fields:

 

In province-wide, we are looking at above 50% plant emergence across the majority of sprout fields.

At this point:

 

-       It is very risky to apply pre-emergence herbicides to sprout fields.

-       Consider post-emergence herbicide application (Callisto, Venture L, etc.) and spot spray

-       Consider granular fertilizer application

-       Consider sulfur application (soil pH management)

-       Please monitor insect pests, such as flea beetles, blueberry thrips, and leaf beetles. Figure 2 shows flea beetle infestation in a sprout field in early June. If damage is observed, growers should consider insecticide application if it is early or consider fertilizer application in damaged spots to help plants re-grow.

Figure 2. Flea Beetle Infestation in a Sprout Field

 

Crop fields:

 

The majority of crop fields in NS are in the early to mid bloom stages. Please consider the following activities based on your own situation:

-       Placing beehives or bumble bees in crop fields to increase pollination efficiency

-       Blossom Botrytis Blight Management

-       Frost watch

 

 

Quick Monilinia Blight Infection Report for the 2024 Season

 

May is a month with a high risk of Monilinia blight infection in wild blueberry crop fields because of the right crop stage and the Maritime spring weather pattern. As most of you are aware, May is pretty dry. The Kentville weather station recorded 25 mm of rain in May and that’s below the 75 mm 10-year average in the area. Although we received some rain in the last two days, May is very likely running into a precipitation deficit in the province.

The good news is that the Monilinia blight infection risk is low. We had two provincial-wide wet periods (May 8-9 and May 16-17) according to the weather station data, but it was short and mild. Most growers apply at least 1 Monilinia blight fungicide which was very helpful.

After this marathon-like spraying period, most of us will look at fields most closely and frequently. If I see obvious infections due to Monilinia blight, I will share.

 

A free webinar on Pesticide Drone Application.

-       This is a free webinar to talk about pesticide drone application. Time: June 19, 1 PM Halifax time. Zoom. To register: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvdu6hqjksGdES3pLq80Y8qvsuWtKge2fU#/registration

 

Have a great week!

Hugh

 

2024 Production Updates and Seasonal Outlook for NS_ 8th Blight Line Post_ May 22

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

 GDD Updates_ May 21, 2024

Figure 1. GDD Summary, May 21, 2024


Blueberry Frost Risks

As we are getting closer to early flowering, spring frost can pose a severe risk to blueberry blooms if low temperatures occur in crop fields with a good percentage of open flowers.

Below, you can see each blueberry bud/flower stage has a minimal tolerant temperature. For example, fully open wild blueberry flowers could get structural damage under -2.2 c for just 3-4 hours (Figure 2).

This information will be helpful for growers to determine their crop fields’ damage risk and level based on their crop field crop stage and local weather conditions (wild blueberry weather stations or Environment Canada). 

 Figure 2. Blueberry Frost Risks

 

 

Frost Damage? Disease Infection? Monilinia VS Botrytis?

Many growers are wondering how to tell the differences between frost damage and disease infection on leaves and flowers. The UMaine Wild Blueberry Extension team produced a very nice factsheet and this is a good one to print and keep handy. 


Figure 3. Photo and information credits: UMaine Wild Blueberry Research and Extension Group