Northwest berry Foundation

Management Detail

Raspberry Bushy Dwarf Virus (RBDV)

in Raspberries

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Latin name: (no Latin name)


Reason for Concern:
1) Causes economic damage in B.C. and northern Washington.
2) Can reduce growth and cause crumbly fruit resulting in severe quality and yield loss.
3) The fruit from infected plants often will not make IQF grade and is sold as lower value produce.
4) If a field is infected with RBDV, it needs to be replanted on a 5 or 6 year cycle (compared to 15-20 years for healthy plants) because the yield and quality losses are too great for the grower to maintain any profit margin.

Most commercially recommended varieties do not show any leaf symptoms. Leaf tissue lab testing is the only way to confirm presence of RBDV. Crumbly fruit is the most common symptom, but other factors can cause crumbly fruit. Infected plants are neither bushy nor dwarfed, but stunting and shorter canes occur in some varieties. Some varieties, such as Autumn Bliss, may also show leaf yellowing.

Disease Cycle:
A seed and pollen-born virus that spreads during bloom, honeybees move the infected pollen from plant to plant. A pollinated blackberry flower infects the embryo and the mother plant. The exact mechanism by which RBDV infects the seed and mother plant is unknown. Temperature, humidity levels, insect vectors and spread from native vegetation can affect transmission. Studies have already shown that native Rubus species such as thimbleberry (R. parviflorus) can be naturally infected with RBDV.



  • Only raspberries in northern Washington and British Columbia appear affected by the virus. While some southern fields test positive for it, they don’t show typical symptoms.
  • Watch for yellowing leaf symptoms and crumbly fruit (particularly in Meeker varieties). However, these symptoms are also associated with various other diseases, so it is unreliable to diagnosis RBDV from these symptoms only.
  • Mark suspect bushes and have leaf samples tested at a laboratory.
  • If identified in field, monitor expansion and watch nearby fields for symptoms of new infection.
  • Document field age; older fields are more likely to have infection.
  • Not necessary to monitor resistant/tolerant varieties.

Cultural Controls:

  • Use certified planting stock.
  • Planting resistant cultivars may be an option in some situations.
  • Plant in large blocks to slow movement into new plants, especially if fields in the immediate area are infected.
  • If possible, establish plantings that are isolated from infected fields.
  • There is no cure for this disease. Remove infected plants to prevent bees from vectoring the disease through pollen transfer.


For information about chemical controls, check with our Pesticide Guide.


RBDV symptoms - photo by T. Peerbolt


photo by Oregon State University


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