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July 28, 2009

Fungus threatens blueberry yield

Several Maine blueberry fields will be burned in response to a potentially devastating fungus that has appeared in Jonesport, Township 24 and Sumner.

Blueberry pathologist Seanna Annis found Valdensinia leaf spot in four locations on Sunday, bringing the total of detected infected fields to seven, according to the Morning Sentinel. Although the fruit remains healthy, the moisture-loving disease causes leaves to fall off and fields must be burned to prevent its spread. The disease migrated to Maine from Canada, where it has caused complete defoliation in Nova Scotia fields.

Annis predicts a bleak future for next year's blueberry harvest is infected fields aren't detected and treated. The fungus can survive over the winter and reinfect come spring.

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