Sunday, June 1, 2014

Apple Tree Diseases: Management of Premature Leaf Fall

This is in continuation to my previous post on Diseases of apple: Disease Monitoring System for Farmers. In today’s post we are going to discuss about the management of premature leaf fall. The holistic way of the disease management includes

1.     Phytosanitation: High and early disease incidence in shady areas is the key for the disease monitoring. The diseased leaves fallen on orchard floor must be removed from orchard floor and destroyed with the help of either by burning or decomposing in the composting pits. The cleanliness reduces the primary inoculum of the disease causing agents. This simple principle if followed the severity of the symptoms could be reduced to economic levels. Thus helps in reducing the costs.

2.     Cultural Practices: First attack of the disease takes place in shady and damp places from lower brances inner core of the tree, where the moisture remains high and air temperature is above 20oC, sun doesn’t reach. All these conditions gives an indication that the disease causing environment essentially missing the sun, so improving the reach of the sun to the different parts of the tree will help in managing the disease. Pruning is the key. Follow proper cone shape of the tree that will enhance the sunlight penetration and air circulation thus reducing the dampness from the inner core of tree and not allowing the disease causing agent to initiate the infection without enhancing the cost to a greater level.

3.     Biological Control: Introduction of biological control agents to the phylloplane is always a good idea. Trichoderma viride and Pseudomonads help the plant in fighting with plant pathogens.

4.     Chemical Control: The epidemiological studies have now established that the disease cycle begin in first week of June in most suitable and hot spot sites. The best management strategy is through preventive method. The infection sites can be cured with few systemic fungicides. Hence the assured control measures with the tank mixing of standard brand of mancozeb (0.3%) plus carbendazim (0.05%) fungicides in first week of June to 3rd week of June depending on the location of the orchards at different elevations. This first spray is preventive and can provide disease control for next 30 days. This spray combination can be repeated for second spray after 30 days to get the complete control over the disease. The farmers not adopting this method cannot control the disease later even with the above fungicides or number of sprays at short intervals. New generation chemicals like strobulins in combination with contact fungicide are also showing good results in the field.The apple blotch disease causing mid-season defoliation is a menace hence, needs appropriate selection of fungicides and spray at right stage for assured success in the management.

In my coming post I shall be discussing about sooty blotch of apple.

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