Strawberry Pathogen Makes its Way to Georgia
Neopestalotiopsis is a disease found in strawberries, that has made its way to Georgia for the first time this year. The disease has been a major problem in Florida in the past. Dr. Phil Brannen is a plant pathologist with the University of Georgia. He says the disease is transported through contaminated rootstock from the nursery.
Brannen… “It's very aggressive. It causes symptoms that are similar to three or four other diseases. So it starts out with a leaf spot, that can be very confusing because it looks like phomopsis leaf spot or maybe one other leaf spot. And those are not generally that aggressive, but this one is, and it actually can defoliate the plant and really cause damage. It also calls us like fruit spot. And that's similar to anthracnose - looks very, very similar to anthracnose - but a very aggressive fruit spot, which means you can't market those fruit. And then the worst of all is it actually kills the plant outright. It goes into a crown and a root rot, which is similar to phytophthroa or anthracnose root rot. So it's got all these different diseases, almost packed into one. So it's, it's a bad, bad animal.”
Dr. Brannen hopes that the Georgia weather will help with the fight against neopestalotiopsis, but is concerned that the disease may take off when things warm up in the spring.