Wise fungicide use helps growers manage peach scab

04/07/2014 07:09:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

click image to zoompeach scabCourtesy University of GeorgiaPeach scab, a fungal disease, thrives under warm, moist conditions like those experienced last summer in Georgia.In spite of wet weather conducive to peach scab last season, growers saw few incidences of the fungal disease, thanks in part to newer fungicides.

Phil Brannen, a University of Georgia plant pathologist, has been part of an effort the past three to four years to fine-tune fungicide control of peach scab, according to a news release.

The disease ranks just behind brown rot as the most troubling disease peach growers routinely face.

If left untreated, scab causes cosmetic lesions that reduce the fruit's marketability.

High scab incidence also can cause the fruit to crack, opening it up to other pathogens, such as brown rot.

During last year's wet summer, Brannen's untreated test plots yielded fruit with 300-400 spots. Treated plots experienced few, if any, lesions.

Those results were mirrored across the state.

“Last year was incredibly wet; I think if there’s any year where you would have had problems with brown rot and scab on peaches, it would have been last year, but we simply did not," he said in the release.

But Brannen was quick to point out that growers can't become lax in resistance management if they want to retain these valuable tools.

Growers need to alternative fungicidal modes of action or tankmix products with different modes of action.

Brannen continues to monitor for fungicide resistance development.

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