Four protectant fungicides applied as midseason cover sprays were quantitatively assessed for their ability to reduce brown rot caused by Monilinia fructicola during the preharvest fruit ripening periods in the 2012 through 2015 growing seasons. No fungicides were applied during bloom or during the preharvest period. Treatment programs consisted of captan, sulfur, ziram, and thiram applications beginning at early shuck-split stage and ending with the final cover spray at 23 to 26 days before harvest. The incidence of brown rot at harvest was determined by examining 41 to 91 fruit for symptoms of rot on each of four replicate trees for each treatment. The incidence of sporulating blossom blight cankers was assessed during the preharvest period at 8, 15, and 22 days after the final cover spray. An in vivo bioassay was also conducted at 7, 14, and 21 days after the final cover spray to ascertain the level of fungicide residue during the preharvest period. The bioassay uses conidia germination as a quantitative indicator of effective residue. Results of the harvest assessment showed that captan cover sprays significantly reduced brown rot incidence in all years of the study. Furthermore, results of the bioassay demonstrated that fungicide residue was the mechanism by which this control occurred. None of the other fungicide cover spray programs contributed significantly to brown rot control at harvest in any year, and bioassay results showed insufficient residue to inhibit conidial germination. Antisporulant activity against blossom blight cankers was not observed for any fungicide program, indicating that reducing inoculum production from this source was not a mechanism for brown rot control. The captan and sulfur programs provided very good control of peach scab incidence and severity, caused by Fusicladium carpophilum, while the ziram and thiram programs failed to control this disease. These findings demonstrated that captan cover sprays can contribute significantly to control of brown rot at harvest, thereby augmenting the efficacy and consistency of management by preharvest fungicide programs. Furthermore, any reduction of the M. fructicola population by the captan cover sprays should reduce selection pressure against the site-specific fungicides commonly used during the preharvest period, thereby prolonging their useful life for brown rot control.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Plant Science