Screening for summer diseases in orchards

In today’s Almond Matters, presented by Valent, growers will want to actively watch for signs of summer diseases in orchards. Todd Burkdoll, field market development specialist at Valent USA, explained that Alternaria is likely at the top of growers’ list of concerns.

“It tends to be a late season issue. It is induced by the climate in your given orchard. If it’s a high-density orchard, you basically have restricted airflow,” Burkdoll said. “It may be better for production, but you also run the risk of creating a microclimate for diseases like Alternaria which can arrive late and cause defoliation. In fact, it can penetrate the fruits and damage them as well. With that in mind, you just need to look for it and watch out for the first sign of infection.

Preventative action is particularly important when dealing with fungal diseases, as curative approaches are not as successful in solving disease problems. Orchard composition and previous disease pressure can help growers make management decisions about disease prevention. “If they’ve had a history of Alternaria in the past, they better treat it preventively, otherwise it can go away pretty quickly,” Burkdoll noted.

Other summer diseases such as scab can be a problem for growers, but are more dependent on rainfall events to become a significant problem for growers. Burkdoll said the most important thing is to do diligent scouting to be aware of what’s happening in individual orchards and make the necessary applications before disease pressure gets too high. “I recommend Quash. It’s a triazole and it’s systemic. It’s probably the strongest triazole according to university guidelines and so on. It is good material. You can put out what started and keep it clean in the future as well,” Burkdoll said.

Listen to the report below.

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