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Thursday, November 7, 2013
The Need to Know About White Pines & Ribes
With a cold taking the wind out of my writing sails, today’s post is a quick alert but certainly not one to overlook. A recent AP bulletin written by Rik Stevens updated the news industry about a mutant form of white pine blister rust. Caused by the fungus Cronartium ribicola, white pine blister rust first hit the United States in the early 1900s. Its host plant (called ribes) now has a brand new mutation going on. Typical of when blight occurs, the industry responds by developing disease resistant varieties. But here’s the crux of this article in a nutshell. What was developed in the fruit growing industry as resistant varieties of Ribes (currants and gooseberries are a Ribes sp.) may no longer be immune to white pine blister rust. As this article states, it is estimated that up to half of the plants previously thought to be immune have been found to be infected. That’s huge!
Because many of the people who visit this blog are interested in fruit bearing plant material, particularly those that fall under the ‘niche’ market category, it is equally important to keep up on the latest insect and diseases problems, including blights which can be devastating to an important species such as white pines. Many of the local farms and suppliers of Ribes have been mentioned in past posts. It’s a story for another day on how this affects a farm’s crops or the adjustments a supplier makes when selling these particular plant materials.
As always – pay attention to what you plant in your garden and keep up on its scientifically related plant news. Why you might ask? Just leave it to the experts. Sometimes it doesn’t trickle down until it ends up in your neighborhood. A moratorium was placed on planting currants and gooseberries last November in New Hampshire. Click here for a UNH cooperative extension bulletin with some useful information on the need to know about White Pines and Ribes.
As Albert Einstein so brilliantly stated, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.” So take note of this reemerging issue and what you plant but more than anything else – do not be apathetic thinking it’s not your problem. It’s a need to know for the upcoming year.
Image – Bilowz Associates Inc.© Photo taken by Greg Bilowz
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