Impact of Fungal Gummosis on Peach Trees

in HortScience
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  • 1 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, 21 Dunbar Road, Byron, GA 31008
  • | 2 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Tree Fruit Research Laboratory, 1104 N. Western Avenue, Wenatchee, WA 98801
  • | 3 University of Georgia, Rural Development Center, 15 RDC Road, Tifton, GA 31793

Peach tree fungal gummosis caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea [(Moug.:Fr.) Cos & de Not.] is widespread throughout the southeastern United States. Until recently, its economic impact on peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] has been impossible to estimate, since no effective controls were known. Significant, though not total, suppression of gummosis on `Summergold' peach trees was achieved with an intensive 5-year spray program with captafol. Captan was far less effective than captafol. Both trunk diameter and fruit yield were negatively correlated with disease severity. After eight growing seasons, trees treated with captafol were 18% larger than the untreated trees. Yield of mature captafol-treated trees was 40% to 60% high er than that of untreated ones. Following termination of the spray program after 5 years, disease severity gradually increased on both captafol- and captan-treated trees. However, through eight growing seasons, disease severity was significantly lower on captafol-treated trees. This study demonstrates that peach tree fungal gummosis significantly depresses tree growth and fruit yield on susceptible peach cultivars.

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