Link to home

Effects of Simulated Hail Events and Subsequent Fungicide Applications on Cranberry Fruit Rot Incidence and Yield

September 2013 , Volume 97 , Number  9
Pages  1,207 - 1,211

L. D. Wells and P. S. McManus, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 12 March 2013.

Storms containing hail are a common occurrence in Wisconsin, with a few or many cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) growers being affected every year. Growers usually apply fungicides immediately following hail events to prevent fruit rot, despite a lack of research to support this practice. We conducted field trials in 2010 and 2011 to address the question of whether applying fungicides to injured fruit reduces fruit rot incidence (% rotten fruit). Hail damage was simulated by forcibly projecting pea gravel into cranberry beds using a mist-blower sprayer modified for this purpose, and the fungicides azoxystrobin or copper hydroxide were applied to fruit immediately after applying gravel. Fruit rot incidence and yield were evaluated within 2 weeks prior to commercial harvest in late September and early October. Fruit rot incidence was greater (P ≤ 0.05) and yield was lower (P < 0.05) in plots treated with gravel than in the nontreated control plots in six of seven trials. Fungicides did not reduce fruit rot incidence (P ≥ 0.05) in gravel-treated plots compared to the nontreated control in six of seven trials. However, in a trial conducted on relatively immature berries, fruit rot incidence in gravel-treated plots treated with azoxystrobin was less (P = 0.0103) than fruit rot incidence in gravel-treated plots receiving no fungicide treatment. In that same trial, fruit rot incidence was not reduced (P = 0.1243) in gravel-treated plots treated with copper hydroxide compared to gravel-treated plots that were not treated with fungicide. Results suggest that under most circumstances, if cranberries are damaged by hail, it is unlikely that an application of fungicide will reduce the amount of fruit rot at the time of harvest.

© 2013 The American Phytopathological Society