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Sridhar Polavarapu

A common practice in highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) culture is to use combinations of insecticides and fungicides to reduce the number and cost of pesticide applications. In response to apparent phytotoxicity observed in commercial fields that were treated with combinations of diazinon and captan formulations, phytotoxicity of two formulations of diazinon (Diazinon AG600 and Diazinon 50W) and captan (Captan 80WP and Captec 4L) was investigated on highbush blueberries during 1997 and 1998. Phytotoxicity injury similar to injury observed in commercial fields was reproduced in treatments with diazinon and captan mixtures in all experiments. The Diazinon AG600 and Captec 4L mixture was the most severe and caused significantly more phytotoxic-ity to fruit and leaves than individual treatments of Diazinon AG600, Captec 4L or untreated control. Separation of diazinon and captan applications by 8 h significantly reduced phytotoxicity compared to mixture treatments. Injured fruit and leaves recovered over time and most treatments showed only a mild injury at the time of harvest. Phytotoxicity on fruit and leaves caused by Diazinon AG600 and Captec 4L mixture was significantly affected by application date with the earliest application causing the greatest injury. These data indicate that diazinon and captan mixtures cause phytotoxicity on highbush blueberries and therefore the two should not be applied in combination.

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William Sciarappa, Sridhar Polavarapu, James Barry, Peter Oudemans, Mark Ehlenfeldt, Gary Pavlis, Dean Polk, and Robert Holdcraft

Four significant developments have occurred that amplify opportunity for certified organic growers to grow highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) successfully. First, there is the 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture national organic standard that defines organic production practices and crop labels that creates clarity and evens competition. Second, we have the continued increase of smallfruit and vegetable sales related to nutritional and human health reasons and the related market perception valuing organic produce more highly. Third, new tools are becoming available to organic growers that reduce the risk from pest problems such as the recent Organic Materials Review Institute listing of spinosad registered as a wettable powder (Entrust) and a fruit fly bait (GF-120 NF Naturalyte). Finally, the Rutgers Blueberry Working group has made considerable progress in refining integrated pest management practices and in developing new tools for organic production systems. This “work-in-progress” is investigating alternative approaches to some current agricultural practices in soil building, fertility, cultural approaches, and pest management. The authors' 7-year program has demonstrated organic methods in managing new sources of mulch, two key insect pests, two common diseases, and several weed species in establishing a commercial organic production system for highbush blueberries. As a programmatic result, organic acreage in New Jersey has increased from 0 to more than 150 acres, and more than 40 organic growers have adopted parts of this holistic production system in North America.