By Erica Faber – Technical Manager
- MANAGE ORCHARD SANITATION: Chipping or mulching prunings, removing dead wood and mummified fruit from the canopy and removing windfall fruit from the orchard floor reduces the source of fungal inoculum within the orchard.
- PRUNE: Pruning plays an integral part in reducing the severity of fungal diseases as it allows better air movement throughout the canopy and sunlight into the orchard, thereby improving drying conditions.
- MANAGE CALCIUM LEVELS: Calcium is important for ensuring cell wall strength. Strong cell walls are more resilient to penetration of fungal hyphae as well as post-harvest bruising. Calcium is not very mobile in plant tissue, which makes foliar applications especially important during the three month period of rapid cell division and growth following fruit set.
- HARVEST DURING DRY CONDITIONS: Follow industry harvest protocols and do not harvest if there has been more than 5mm of rain in the last 24 hours. Lenticels are susceptible to handling damage after rain when the cells around and in the lenticel, expand and fill with water and may rupture with added impact or compression during harvest handling causing visible browning. Not only does this impact on packout but the damaged cells are also more susceptible to fungal diseases.
- APPLY COPPER SPRAYS: For more effective and judicious chemical control, ensure the copper you use has a particle size of <1.0 micron and is one of the least soluble for more fungicidal persistence.
- MONITOR TREE HEALTH AND NUTRIENT STATUS: A healthy tree is a more resilient tree and is less prone to diseases. Take regular leaf samples in order to better understand the nutrient status of your trees and also to correct any nutrient deficiencies or imbalances before they have an effect on tree health, performance and production.