Two viruses plague Eastern, Midwestern strawberry fields

05/28/2013 10:16:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

starwberry virus symptomsCourtesy Virginia Tech UniversityVirus symptoms on strawberry leavesTwo strawberry viruses—starwberry mottle virus and strawberry mild yellow edge virus—are plaguing Eastern and Midwestern strawberry growers this spring.

The viruses are not new to the United States and can be spread when infected plants are unknowingly distributed to growers, according to a news release.

Last fall, some strawberry growers in the South began reporting poor growth.

Initially, they thought it might be caused by soil or fertility conditions, such as fertilizer burn.

Similar problems were observed in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

Further investigation linked them to bare-root plants or tips from the Great Village area of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Barclay Poling, a North Carolina State University emeritus horticulture professor, in December visited Canada to further investigate.

Eventually, an Oregon State University laboratory identified the viruses as strawberry mild yellow edge and strawberry mottle virus on samples it received from several matted row varieties. Both diseases are spread by aphids.

Poling reported that Chandler variety plants appeared healthier in Canada than Carmaroa and Winter Star.

The researchers have pinpointed the virus source as one nursery in the Great Valley area.

There is no cure for the viruses.

Plants infected with the viruses should be destroyed after this season's harvest to avoid potential carryover of the diseases, say Penn State researchers.

Read more recommendations at Rutgers University.

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