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Fungicide resistance alert - threat to strawberry growers

Fungicide resistance alert - threat to strawberry growers

By Blake Jackson

Strawberry growers in Pennsylvania beware! A recent study found a common strawberry disease, Botrytis or gray mold, is developing resistance to fungicides. This can make it difficult to control the disease and protect your crops.

Botrytis thrives in wet weather and can quickly spread during ripening, causing significant fruit loss. The study tested different fungicides used on strawberry farms and found that the fungus is developing resistance to all of them.

This is especially concerning because most fungicides used are single site, meaning they target one specific weakness in the fungus. When this target changes due to resistance, the fungicide becomes ineffective.

So how can you protect your strawberries? Here are some tips:

  • Promote good air circulation: Plant strawberries in narrow rows, remove dead leaves in plasticulture fields, and consider wider plant spacing. This helps dry foliage and discourages moisture buildup, making the environment less favorable for Botrytis growth.
  • Choose resistant varieties: Opt for strawberry varieties known to be resistant to fruit roots.
  • Manage plant health: Careful management of nutrients can help reduce excessive foliage growth, which can trap moisture and create ideal conditions for Botrytis.
  • Use a multi-pronged approach: Combine cultural practices with fungicides for better control. When using fungicides, choose multi-site fungicides like Captan and Thiram, which are less likely to see resistance develop.
  • Time fungicide applications wisely: Apply fungicides before rain events and use them more frequently during wet weather. In dry periods, you can extend the interval between applications.
  • Look for alternative solutions: Research on biological fungicides is ongoing and may offer additional control options in the future.

By following these tips, you can minimize Botrytis infection and protect your strawberry crop, even with the emergence of fungicide resistance.

Photo Credit: pexels-pixabay

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Categories: Pennsylvania, Crops, Fruits and Vegetables

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