Evaluation of Silicon Fertilizers and a Resistance Inducing Agent for Control of Apple and Pear Scab under Field Conditions
Glynn C. Percival
Abstract: Two field trials were conducted using established apple (Malus cv. Golden Delicious) and pear (Pyrus communis ‘Williams’ Bon Chrétien’) to assess the efficacy of a range of silicon (Si) fertilizers, a resistance-inducing (IR) agent based on salicylic acid and a combination of Si + IR when applied at four growth stages of tree development (i.e., bud break, green cluster, 90% petal fall, early fruitlet) against the foliar pathogens apple (Venturia inaequalis) and pear (V. pirina) scab. In addition, a comparative evaluation of a conventional synthetic fungicide (penconazole) used within the UK for apple and pear scab control was performed. Greatest protection against apple and pear scab was provided by a combination of a Si fertilizer + IR agent and the synthetic fungicide penconazole in both the 2014 and 2015 field trials where statistically comparable degrees of control were achieved. Efficacy as scab-protectant compounds (i.e., reduced scab severity of leaves and fruit) enhanced leaf chlorophyll content and fruit yield, and was confirmed when each Si fertilizer was applied at four growth stages during two growing seasons; however, there was little difference in the degree of control conferred by each Si fertilizer. The IR agent used alone proved the least effective scab protectant compound.
Keywords: Evaluation of Silicon Fertilizers and a Resistance Inducing Agent for Control of Apple and Pear Scab under Field Conditions