May 7, 2024
Virginia apple growers: act on fungal infections, fire blight

In a recent update from Virginia Tech, apple growers are advised to take immediate action against major fungal infections and the looming threat of fire blight, following significant infections reported on May 4-5.

Dr. Keith Yoder, a plant pathologist at Virginia Tech, highlighted the urgency of addressing the fungal infections in the update. “Yes, we had major apple scab and cedar-apple rust infections on apples May 4-5,” the updated stated.

He recommended a combination of mancozeb and DMI fungicides to combat these infections effectively.

Virginia Tech Tree Fruit Pathology lab

“The fungicide coverage needs to be continued on all locations up to 2 weeks after the date of primary scab season end,” Yoder emphasized the importance of ongoing fungicide coverage in the update.

However, he expressed difficulty in pinpointing the end of the primary scab season due to inaccuracies in weather station data, particularly in central and southern Virginia.

Regarding the imminent threat of fire blight, growers were urged to monitor the situation closely.

“If any cider apple cultivars are still in bloom, fire blight infections were and will be highly possible from 6-9 May,” Yoder advised in the update. He recommended utilizing the EIP model to guide streptomycin applications and implementing rescue treatments promptly to prevent further spread.

In light of the challenges, Virginia Tech researchers underscored the importance of proactive management strategies to safeguard apple crops against fungal infections and fire blight.

To review the entire update, growers are encouraged to visit the Virginia Tech website.

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