This study was designed to determine the efficacy of canker excision (CE) followed by a subsequent application of cauterization (CAU) and/or fungicide treatment to the excised area for the management of anthracnose canker (caused by Neofabraea malicorticis) on cider apple (Malus ×domestica) trees. Three experiments were conducted from 2015 to 2017, with one experiment each year, in an experimental cider apple orchard in western Washington where trees were naturally infested with N. malicorticis. Treatments were applied once in December and data were collected January through March. Treatments in the 2015 experiment were CE + CAU, CE + CAU + copper hydroxide, CE + 0.5% sodium hypochlorite, Bordeaux mixture (BM) only, and CE + copper hydroxide (control). The 2016 experiment included the same treatments as in 2015 plus one additional treatment, CE + BM. In 2017, one additional treatment was added, CE only, and CAU treatments were removed as they caused significant injury to the trees. Canker size was measured pretreatment, and the treated canker or excised area was measured posttreatment every 2 weeks for 13–15 weeks. Compared with pretreatment, cankers treated with BM did not increase in size, while the excised area treated with CAU increased 28-fold in size on average, and the excised area treated with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite or copper hydroxide increased up to 4-fold in size. Each year new cankers developed in all treatments 13–15 weeks after treatment application, at a time of year when there should not be any spores present to cause new infections. Dark brown streaking, indicative of the disease, was observed in the tissue below the intact or excised cankers 15 months after treatment application all years. Although N. malicorticis was not isolated from symptomatic tissue, symptoms were observed in all treatments including where cankers had not been excised and there was no wounding of the cambium tissue. Findings from this study indicate that of the treatments evaluated, the application of copper hydroxide after CE was the most effective for limiting the number of new cankers, but it did not limit expansion of the excised area. Additional physical and fungicidal strategies need to be tested for effective management of anthracnose canker.
Anthracnose canker, caused by Neofabraea malicorticis, threatens the sustainability of cider apple (Malus ×domestica) production in the maritime climate of western Washington. In the short-term, the disease reduces overall orchard productivity and in the long-term it reduces an orchard’s economic life span. The disease is difficult to manage using cultural practices, and information on fungicide efficacy is limited and contradictory. To address this situation, a 2-year study was conducted to evaluate efficacy of zinc (4.49 lb/acre), basic copper sulfate (2.49 lb/acre), captan (2.94 lb/acre), thiophanate-methyl (0.69 lb/acre), pyraclostrobin plus boscalid (0.38 lb/acre), and combinations of these fungicides to manage anthracnose canker infection in young cider apple trees cultivated in a maritime climate. Trees used in the first year of the study (2016) were found to be infected by anthracnose canker on receipt, so the first year was a measure of disease control and the second year (2017) was a measure of disease prevention. In 2016, when fungicide treatments were applied every 3 weeks from March through October, none of the treatments evaluated inhibited the development of new infections or the expansion of existing cankers (77% increase in canker size on average for all treatments). In 2017, when fungicide treatments were applied every 3 weeks from February through April, two to three new cankers were observed 3 weeks after final treatment application for all treatments. Results from this study demonstrate that the current fungicides recommended for control of anthracnose canker are not reliably effective in the orchard environment of northwest Washington. Future studies should assess the fungicides evaluated in this study applied in rotation with additional systemic fungicides.