Save the Blueberries! Stop the Mummy Berry Fungus!

 Credit: Western Washington Fruit Research Foundation (WWFRF) February, 2016 Newsletter


Mummy berry is a disease of blueberries caused by the fungus, Monilinia caccinii-corymbosi, which causes berries to shrink, turn dusty pink and then shrivel up to a metallic gray, when they are called mummies.


The fungus can also affect new growth in the spring, causing new stems and leaves to shrivel and turn brown or black.


The mummies fall to the ground and, in the spring, small goblet-shaped mushrooms called apothecia grow to release spores to infect the plants all over again. The apothecia will be appearing near the end of February, so about the middle of this month is a good time to begin implementing your strategy to thwart their efforts to damage your blueberry crop.


Raking the surface of the soil around the blueberry plants disturbs the apothecia. After raking, mulching with about 2 inches of Douglas fir sawdust also helps reduce the number of apothecia.


During summer, when green infected berries are cut open, the white fungal growth looks like a white “flower” in the center of the berry.


Resistant varieties include: Bluetta, Liberty, Darrow and Olympia.


For more information and to see a photo of affected berries, take a look at this article from the Oregon State University Extension Service.