What's wrong with my PAF Blackberries?

Blooms on my PAF blackberries are shriveling up, even before opening. Many berries also showing small number of drupes. Having some tip die-back. I understand that blackberries are affected by several different viruses…Is this one of them? I have been leaf mulching my blackberries…Is that a bad idea?

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I don’t know about the berries drying up. I have had that but generally either in bad drought or very early in the year and I blames missing pollination for that. The rust leaves though I have had but not usually this early in the year. I hit mine with Serenade and then with Immunox. I think the Immunox helped.

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Problem solved! I over-reacted, expecting a virus, and thought I would have to destroy my blackberries (viruses are difficult to control). But today I opened a few buds and noticed extremely tiny insects: They are thrips, perhaps “Flower thrips”. The pictures were taken from my microscope at 40X magnification. It has been an extremely dry spring here in North Florida, and I read that thrips can be abundant in dry weather. I’m just so glad I don’t need to destroy my PAF blackberries…I’ve grown attached to them.

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