Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Summer diseases and powdery mildew; Pre-harvest apple disease outlook in the Winchester area

In the past month we recorded only two major extended wetting events at our AREC in Winchester: Jul 22-23 (18 hr wet at 68° with 2.74 in. rain) and yesterday, Aug 13-14 (14 hr wet at 72° with 0.5 in. rain). However, there were also nine other wetting events less than 5 hr in length, with relatively small amounts of rainfall, and some of those may have had greater amounts of rainfall and stayed wet longer in surrounding areas. 

Due to comparatively delayed wetting hour accumulation this year, sooty blotch was slower to make its appearance, and was first observed at our AREC last week (shown below).
Sooty blotch (and scab) observed on unprotected Fuji apples August 8, 2019.

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. This year we chose May 2 as the petal fall date for Winchester, so the start of wetting hour accumulation (ACW) was from May 12. As of Aug 14, total wetting hour accumulation by our AREC NEWA weather station was 342 hr and the 250-hr action threshold was reached Jul 11. In 2017 by Aug 14 we had recorded 462 ACW, the threshold was reached July 5 and SBFS was observed July 7. By contrast, during the extremely wet year last year (2018), we saw 630 ACW by Aug 14, the 250-hr threshold was reached June 12, and SBFS was observed by June 27.

In trees not protected by fungicides this year, bitter rot is more common than SBFS, indicative of early summer disease pressure in May and June.

Powdery mildew on late shoot growth: As frequently occurs following heavy rains after a dry period, the 2.7 inches of rain Jul 22-23, promoted a flush of renewed late season growth that was very susceptible to mildew (see below). 
Powdery mildew on late season growth, Granny Smith apple, July 31, 2019

Late infection often leads to a lot of mildew carryover in buds, and a recurrent problem and a significant reduction in yield the next year. This is particularly true with very susceptible varieties like Granny Smith, Idared, Ginger Gold and Honeycrisp, and in situations like this, it is prudent to select late-season fungicides with mildew activity as well as rot and SBFS activity. Examples include products such as Merivon, Luna Sensation, Pristine, Inspire Super and Indar. Caution: Remember to observe allowed pre-harvest intervals for all fungicides as well as insecticides and other products.