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Effect of Prohexadione-Calcium Dose Level on Shoot Growth and Fire Blight in Young Apple Trees

October 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  10
Pages  1,099 - 1,106

J. L. Norelli and S. S. Miller , USDA-ARS, Appalachian Fruit Research Station, 45 Wiltshire Rd., Kearneysville, WV 25430

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Accepted for publication 24 May 2004.

Prohexadione-calcium suppresses both shoot growth and fire blight in apple. In young apple orchards, there are conflicting requirements to control fire blight and allow sufficient tree growth for tree establishment. Application of prohexadione-calcium to various cultivars of orchard-grown apple trees ranging in age from newly planted to fifth-leaf trees indicated that fewer high-dose (125 or 250 mg ·liter-1) applications of prohexadione-calcium provided a better balance between fire blight control and growth in young orchards than multiple low-dose (30 or 63 mg·liter-1) applications. The response of early-season shoot growth to prohexadione-calcium treatment dose was linear. However, trees that received high doses of prohexadione-calcium tended to grow more in the latter part of the season, resulting in little or no difference in total seasonal growth between trees that received a few high or multiple low doses of prohexadione-calcium. Enhancement of fire blight resistance by prohexadione-calcium was correlated with shoot growth suppression at the time of inoculation, and the resistance response to prohexadione-calcium treatment dose was linear. Fire blight management strategies that use prohexadione-calcium in young apple orchards are discussed.

Additional keywords: Apogee, Erwinia amylovora, Malus × domestica, plant growth regulator, shoot blight

The American Phytopathological Society, 2004