Effect of Sterol-demethylation Inhibiting Fungicides on Apple Fruit Set, Fruit Size, Total Yield, and Gross Returns

in HortScience

Effects of three sterol-demethylation inhibiting (DMI) fungicides and a contact fungicide were compared over two years at each of two locations to determine if fungicide treatments had differential effects on productivity, fruit size and shape, or gross returns for `Empire' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). Treatments were applied four to five times per year during the primary apple scab season. Effects of treatments were assessed by comparing fruit set efficiencies, number of fruit per tree, total harvested fruit weight, and fruit length: diameter ratios at harvest. No significant differences were noted among individual treatments in any of the four trials. However, when treatments were contrasted by grouping individual treatments, significantly larger fruit size was noted for triflumizole treatments vs. combined fenarimol and myclobutanil treatments in one of the four trials and for captan or mancozeb compared to fenarimol and myclobutanil treatments in two trials. None of the DMI fungicides compared in these trials had any consistent adverse affect on fruit size, total yield, or estimated gross return per hectare. We conclude that the plant growth regulator effects of DMI fungicides are inconsistent and are unlikely to have significant economic impact on commercial apple production.

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