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Pomegranate Panic

June 2, 2014
pomegranate tree


Fruit killer: Mystery surrounds devastation of Sunraysia’s pomegranate trees

A MYSTERIOUS killer is devastating Sunraysia’s infant­ pomegranate industry.

The unidentified lethal agent is killing­ thousands of young pomegranate trees planted over the past five years, and is even destroying mature, 30-year-old plants. And it is not restricted to Sunraysia. Newly planted pomegranate orchards are being devastated in an arc from Mudgee, in NSW’s Hunter Valley, down through the Murrumbidgee irrigation area, along the Murray Valley through Sunraysia and the South Australian Riverland, to the Murray mouth.

Hopes were high among those in the citrus industry that pomegranates might be the next big cash crop. Scientists have not yet identified a fungal, bacterial or virus disease that might explain the mass deaths of recently planted pomegranates.

But Barbara Hall, manager of horticulture pathology with the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), told a recent meeting of Sunraysia pomegranate growers there was no evidence that the disease is infectious.

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From → Biology, Geophysics

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