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Fungicide efficacy for control of foliar and fruit diseases on pomegranate in Florida

Katia Xavier: Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; University of Florida

<div>Pomegranate (<em>Punica granatum</em> L.) has emerged as an important alternative crop in Florida. However, anthracnose fruit rot and leaf spot, caused by <em>Colletotrichum</em> spp., can cause high yield losses. The efficacy of biopesticides and systemic and contact fungicides was tested against leaf spot and fruit rot on pomegranate. Replicated trials were performed in Plant City, FL (var. ‘Angel Red’) and Parrish, FL (vars. ‘Christina’ and ‘Wonderful’). Treatments included the biopesticides Serenade (<em>Bacillus subtilis</em>) and Tenet WP (<em>Trichoderma</em> spp.), the systemic fungicides Merivon (fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin) and Topsin (thiophanate-methyl), and contact fungicides Penncozeb (mancozeb) and Captan, plus a non-treated control. Based on AUDPC, all contact and systemic fungicides statistically reduced leaf spot severity compared to the non-treated control across the two trial sites. However, the relative efficacy of the biopesticide treatments differed at the two sites. In Plant City, all fungicide treatments statistically reduced fruit infection compared to the non-treated control; whereas in Parrish, only the systemic fungicides statistically reduced fruit infection. These results demonstrate that contact and systemic fungicides were more effective than the biopesticides in reducing foliar leaf spot and fruit rot. However, an integrated disease management program including cultural practices must be considered for commercial production of pomegranate in Florida.</div>