[NAFEX] WVU management guidelines was "apple tree with fireblight"

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sun Sep 11 13:21:51 EDT 2011

I took a quick look at the text from home orchard recommendations of WVU
management guidelines and immediately came to this, which should pretty much
show why university guidelines are completely inadequate if one relies on
such literature exclusively when trying to get advice for pest control or
any other issues specific to home production.

This came from their discussion about scab infection in apples.  "Rain
disperses the conida from the infection lesion to healthy leaves and to the
young developing fruit, where they start a secondary infection. Thus, the
fruit and foliage must be protected from green-tip until harvest with
protectant fungicides."

No advice would be much better that this assertion.  It is so wrong that  I
have to wonder if anyone bothered editing this particular publication.  Here
in southeastern NY we probably have more scab pressure than in WVA as
farther south warmer spring temps are apparently not as conducive to this
fungus (so I've heard).  At any rate, no one sprays for scab after spring
here and I can get control with as little as 2 fungicide applications using
a sterol inhibitor mixed with Captan.  Even if one was to use only
protectants, by summer control issues shift from scab and cedar apple rust
to a different slew of fungus pests that may or may not need to be
controlled in a home orchard setting.

I have consistently found errors in these kinds of publications (though not
ever as egregious as this one) that could easily lead to failure, such as
Rutgers recommending Malathion applications every 2 weeks in spring to
control plum curculio and tarnished plant bug. Malathion lacks the
persistance for this program to be affective.  Of course the rec about scab
wouldn't necessarily lead to failure- it would lead to about 10X the number
of fungicide applications as necessary to control it.

The point is that just because a university puts something in writing
doesn't mean its reliable and I don't think much effort (i.e. funding) is
put into providing home growers the info they need, possibly because the
information base just isn't there.  Research based info tends to be only
about commercial production and many of the materials used there are not
available to the home grower.   What is available and the efficacy of these
products is usually not well known by the people who write these things as
far as I can tell.  Also, the home grower doesn't share the commercial
growers need to produce pristine fruit

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