Shipping Blueberries Under A Scorch Virus Quarantine
Q: I ordered some Pink Lemonade blueberry plants but discovered that they cannot be shipped into Georgia because we have a state-wide quarantine due to blueberry scorch virus.. I shipped them to a friend in Tennessee. Is there a specific length of time I can keep them quarantined with her and watch for signs of scorch virus before bringing them here?
A: Blueberries are the number one fruit crop in Georgia, so it makes sense that we’d try to protect the plants from imported disease. Blueberry scorch virus devastates blueberries. Any company that wishes to ship plants into Georgia is required to test for blueberry scorch virus. Transmission can occur between early May through early August. Once a plant is infected, symptoms may take 1 to 2 years or more to develop. This makes early detection vital for controlling the disease. ‘Pink Lemonade’ is a garden novelty due to the pink color of the fruit but the pink berries likely wouldn’t be the best tasting blueberries you ever had. Knowing how much is at stake, I’d let your friend have them and buy one of the new varieties listed at bit.ly/GAbluenew.