Reducing diseases in fruit after severe storms

Quick action by growers can save significant losses in tree fruit that were damaged in the storms last night (June 21).

Strong storms moved through west Michigan last night (June 21) with high winds, heavy rains and, in some places, hail. These storms have the potential to cause and spread serious diseases in many fruit crops. Damage appears to be spotty and localized.

Stone fruit

In cherries, brown rot and wind whip are the main concern. Sweet cherries are coloring and close to harvest. This rain will have cracked many fruit. Sweet cherries are always susceptible to brown rot, and sprays to reduce the spread of brown rot should be applied if the trees were not recently treated for this disease. Tart cherries are not as susceptible to brown rot, but become susceptible as the fruit colors and controls would be helpful.

For more information on brown rot, read recent related articles on Time to scout and control American brown rot in cherries and Current status of sterol inhibitor fungicides for control of American brown rot in Michigan.

Apricots, peaches and plums need to be protected against bacterial spot.

Apple and pear orchards where there are fire blight symptoms should be sprayed to prevent the further spread of the disease. The trauma of this storm can spread the disease widely. Remember that Kasumin cannot be used after bloom.

Hail damage to young apple fruit
An example of hail damage to young apple fruit.

In grapes, unless the vineyard was directly impacted by hail, no special measures should be needed. Where there was hail, application of a fungicide will reduce rots and help damaged tissues to callus over.

In blueberries, unless the field was damaged by hail, no special measures are needed, but where there was hail, sprays targeting phomopsis should be applied.

In other small fruit where there was hail, growers should spray to control cane disease.

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