Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Deerberry Blight

I don’t know that there is really a disease that goes by the name Deerberry Blight, but that’s what I would use to describe what is happening to the Deerberry, Vaccinium stamineum, this year. The term blight is generally used to describe a discoloration, shriveling and drying of the plant parts. That’s exactly what’s happening here. This bush hardly has any green leaves left.

The affliction begins with small spots and then evolves into large brown patches. The older leaves were the first to suffer and the condition has progressed rapidly onto the new leaves.

Some of the leaves have browned completely and the stem is beginning to shrivel. I don’t believe this particular stem will be recovering. I would hate for this to be the fate of the entire bush.

Deerberry is closely related to the blueberry and I imagine is susceptible to many of the same diseases. These symptoms are similar to those seen on blueberries suffering from various fungal infections. The plants may be infected by more than one type of fungus.

Whole populations of Deerberry are feeling the effects of the blight. I’ve mentioned the above average rainfall we’ve had here and the resulting increased plant growth. Another thing that thrives in warm, wet conditions is fungi. Shrubs growing in these dry open areas are seldom exposed to extremely wet conditions. I think the plant infecting fungi have just had perfect growing conditions this summer and the Deerberry is suffering as a result.

These shrubs have suffered die-backs before and have always recovered. Extreme winter temperatures and severe drought conditions have both caused the death of most of the branches, but the plant has always recovered by resprouting from a healthy root system. I only hope we don’t have one of the root attacking fungi settle into these plants.


  1. Hi Steve...I want you to know I tryed to leave a comment on your very pretty post was long and funny...but found out I was not signed in the process of signing in I lost my lovely comment and was to lazy to do another one...Ha Ha ; } !!
    I liked the icing on the cupcake part...and you can post whatever you like...I do read them...but close my eyes when the pictures of snakes and the like come up !! ; }
    Blight is something that I have so much problem with on my roses.. powery mildew and black spot!! they are so hard to control.
    I'm off ...where back to muggies for a few day ..yuck!!

  2. grammie g - I've lost a lot of comments I was trying to upload. After I type it, I have to save it so I can paste it back in if something goes wrong. It's frustrating to click the post comment button, get an error message and then find your comment missing when you come back.

    We had a storm come through here late afternoon that shook the trees every which way. Temperatures went down for a while, but came right back up worse than ever.

  3. Have you found evidence of the "blight" on deer berry this year? I have an idea of what it could be.

  4. Hi, Julie. Some of the plants have spots on a few leaves, but overall look quite healhy this year.