Many trials have demonstrated that apple and pear trees treated with the plant growth regulator prohexadione-Ca (BAS 125 W) are less susceptible to infestation by the bacterial disease fire blight. In further investigations we have studied the effect of this compound against fungal diseases, concentrating on scab (Venturia inaequalis) in apple. Working with apple seedlings and artificial inoculation under greenhouse and field-like conditions, scab infestation could be reduced by applications of prohexadione-Ca. Whereas this effect was rather marginal if inoculations were made shortly after treatment, highly significant effects were found in the time span of ≈1 to 4 weeks after application. Preliminary results from trials conducted under orchard conditions support these findings. We assume that, similar to the situation with fire blight, changes in phenylpropanoid metabolism are mainly responsible for the reduced scab incidence. It should not be ruled out, however, that anatomical and morphological changes caused by prohexadione-Ca may also contribute to this effect.
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