Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Glomerella leaf spot- New to Frederick County

Yesterday morning I was called to check a block of Golden Delicious trees that are losing one-third or more of their leaves. Before the morning was over I had observed symptoms of Glomerella leaf spot, a rapidly expanding disease, at our AREC and in five other orchards within two miles of our AREC. I also received an e-mailed image of the same problem from Rockingham County. Diagnostic symptoms (shown below), include leaf spots with concentric rings on Gala, Golden Delicious, and Cripps Pink (Pink Lady). The lesions start as purple spots, then growth with concentric rings, and may eventually coalesce. Symptoms may appear on both old and younger leaves and leaves may yellow and fall off.

Glomerella leaf spot. Early lesions are small purple, irregular spots (at bottom) which typically enlarge with concentric growth rings that may coalesce. Lesion enlargement and concentric rings may be due to secondary fungi.

Typical appearance of leaf yellowing caused by Glomerella leaf spot.

Glomerella leaf spot and fruit rot from Nelson County VA, 2011

Glomerella leaf spot was reported in TN in 1998. It built up in NC in 2004 and became more prominent with wet weather in ’05. The following winter I began to receive reports from growers and consultants who thought they may have seen it in southern VA. It became prominent again in southern VA/NC in 2010 and caused some problems in Nelson County, VA in 2010-11.

Fruit rot symptoms caused by Glomerella cingulata, a stage of the bitter rot fungus, tend to be darker than those usually associated with bitter rot. The rot spots often remain small but, like typical bitter rot, the fruit rot caused by the Glomerella strain has a cone-shaped pattern of growth into the fruit.

Recommendations for control as we approach harvest depend on market plan for the affected variety and the days to harvest. Pristine is the single most effective material that may be applied close to harvest. Other possible options include Flint + Captan and Captan + potasssium phosphite.

Leaves are an important overwintering site and overwintering inoculum can be reduced by shredding leaf litter with a flail mower or applying a foliar spray of urea at leaf drop. This can also aid in suppressing other foliar diseases such as apple scab and Alternaria leaf blotch.

WEEKEND WETTING: Split extended wetting periods of 14 hr and 10 hr occurred with a total of 0.75 inch of rain at 70° Aug 25-27. We also had several nights of heavy dews last week, bringing the accumulated wetting hour total from rainfall or dew since Apr 18 to 909 hours.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Extended wetting and summer disease pressure

Nine hours of extended wetting occurred with an 0.06 inch of rain at 69° Aug 14. We also had several nights of heavy dews last week, bringing the accumulated wetting hour total from rainfall or dew since Apr 18 to 835 hours. This total, generally indicative of sooty blotch and flyspeck pressure, is the highest for this time last year since 2003.

Bitter rot and some other rots have appeared on poorly protected apple fruit that were damaged by hail on July 31.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

More summer disease weather

Summer disease pressure remained high this week with several nights of heavy dews and with 14 hours of extended wetting with an inch of rain at 69° Aug 9-10.

I was away for a week, and on my return some changes were obvious- lots of apple trees with light green, new growth, and nice red color on ripening (and tasty!) Gala apples.

Where powdery mildew is a problem, the new growth will be susceptible to mildew infection, leading to more overwintering. In such situations, the fungicides Indar and Inspire Super offer some suppression of mildew and other summer diseases such as sooty blotch and flyspeck. Both Indar and Inspire Super have restrictions preventing their application closer than 14 days to harvest. We suggest including a general protectant fungicide such as captan or ziram with the above fungicides to broaden the spectrum and residual activity.

Yesterday I saw striking examples of the effects of fire blight strikes on the prevalence of bitter rot in Nittany apples (shown below). The bitter rot fungus can colonize the dead twigs within six weeks of the initial fire blight blossom infection and become a bitter rot inoculum source for the rest of the year. Any fire blight strikes in a tree should be taken as a warning of a potential rot problem. Notice that the fruit immediately below also has sooty blotch, and that indicates that protective fungicide is lacking which would also permit more rot problems.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Extended wetting August 5-6.

Extended wetting occurred Aug 5-6 with 13 hours wet at 73° and 0.41 in. rain. Accumulated wetting hour total from rainfall or dew since Apr 18 is now at 729 hours, 277 hours ahead the total for this time last year. This is the third highest wetting hour total for this time of the year since 1994. At our AREC, total rainfall for last week was 2.86 inches.

Watch for increased disease pressure from sooty blotch and flyspeck, fruit rots and Alternaria leaf blotch, the fungal disease that causes defoliation and poor fruit quality of Red Delicious apples.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Heavy rainfall and extended wetting event July 31

We had rainfall of 2.5 inches and 17 hours extended wetting at our AREC Jul 31-Aug 1. Most of the heavy rainfall occurred in mid-afternoon and it included scattered hail. But there were additional showers in the evening that extended wetting throughout the night. Mean temperature was 67°.

Most protective fungicides will not weather through 2 inches of rain, and favorable temperatures with some hail injury are likely to increase the potential for fruit rots as well as sooty blotch and flyspeck.