Saturday, July 28, 2018

Continued heavy summer disease pressures

This past week marked a return to the heavy disease pressures noted from mid-May through early July. At our AREC in Winchester we recorded three extended wetting events: July 24, with 14 hr of wetting at 72° with 0.67 in. rain; July 24-25, with 12 hr of wetting at 70° with 0.44 in. rain and July 25-26, with 17 hr of wetting at 69° with 1.17 in. rain. Rainfall volumes varied considerably over the region, but with similar temperatures and length of wetting. These wetting events favored all summer diseases and rot activity on apples, and brown rot on ripening peaches and other stone fruits. 

For purposes of predicting the development of the sooty blotch and flyspeck (SBFS) fungal complex, we record accumulated wetting hours from rainfall or dew, starting 10 days after petal fall (from May 17 at Winchester). As of 8 AM July 27, AREC weather stations at three elevations had greatly exceeded the 250 wetting hour threshold for specific treatment against the SBFS fungal complex. These totals were: at 909 ft elevation, 678 hr; at 932 ft (the AREC NEWA station), 459 hr; and at the 983 ft elevation, 528 hr accumulated wetting hours (ACW). Sooty blotch and flyspeck are common on unprotected apple fruit in all areas of the AREC, including the higher elevations. Because early wetting hours this year were more a result of rainfall rather than wetting from dew, expect unusual SBFS pressures in higher elevation orchards, not typically threatened by these diseases. 

For central Virginia, we selected Apr 24 as the petal fall date for accumulation of wetting hours by weather stations at Tyro. As of July 5, a sensor placed at 1165 ft. has accumulated 322 wetting hours while one placed at 941 ft elevation has accumulated 733 hr. 

We see continued bitter rot activity at our AREC and there have been several reports of bitter rot and Glomerella leaf spot, as well as SBFS, from central Virginia orchards