Fungicide control of apple scab: 2010 field trial
Apple scab, caused by the fungal pathogen Venturia inaequalis, is a significant fruit and foliar disease worldwide (Jones and Sundin 2006). Apples grown in regions of California characterized by spring precipitation or damp microclimates are subject to infection. Initial pathogen colonization of green tissue occurs when water stimulates ascospore release from pseuodothecia located in overwintering leaf litter, followed by dispersal to leaves, flowers or fruit. Asexually-produced conidia from the primary sites of infection on the host can also colonize new tissue if spores are transported in the air or by water splash (Jones and Sundin 2006). In California, periodic applications of synthetic or organic fungicides from approximately March to June are required to control apple scab; the timing of fungicide applications is dependent on season to season patterns in precipitation (Gubler 2006). Based on research in other apple producing regions, additional control measures such as post-harvest fungicide applications at the time of leaf fall to reduce inoculum for the following growing season (Beresford et al. 2008), leaf litter removal (Gomez et al. 2007) or use of cultivar mixtures in an orchard (Didelot et al. 2007) may effectively reduce disease impacts.
We conducted a field experiment near Camino, El Dorado County, California (elevation 3200 ft) to test the effects of several registered and experimental fungicides on control of apple scab in mature Red Delicious Trees. Five applications were made from late March (green tip) to late May 2010 (post-bloom). We compared disease levels obtained on foliage in untreated trees with disease control exhibited by synthetic products in combination, with and without adjuvants, and in alternation with other products.