State Regulation of Ribes to Control White Pine Blister Rust

in HortTechnology

Recent interest in expanding commercial currant and gooseberry (Ribes L.) plantings in the United States has put pressure on the states with Ribes restrictions to review their regulations. A meeting on 9 January 1998 initiated discussion between the state agriculture regulatory agencies, forest pathologists, and horticulturists. Since then a white pine blister rust (WPBR), Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fischer) World Wide Web (Web) site (McKay, 1998) and list serve have been activated to facilitate communication. Vermont is a state that has no regulations on the books at this time. Connecticut and New York also have mentioned that infection rates are low. Maine retains a Ribes reduction program, and Massachusetts is strictly enforcing their regulations. The following summarizes the general consensus among the majority of regulating states: 1) It is desirable to find a way for both white pines (Pinus L.) and commercial Ribes plantings to coexist. 2) More research is needed to survey existing Ribes and pines, the potential impact of commercial plantings versus the impact of existing Ribes, and the potential impact of escape /volunteer seedlings from immune Ribes cultivars. 3) There is interest in permitting immune Ribes cultivars to be planted. 4) There is interest in having consistency in regulations from state to state.

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