Calcium and Silicon Fertiliser Influence on Fungicide Efficacy Against Guignardia Leaf Blotch and Apple Scab Management
Glynn C. Percival and Sean Graham
Abstract: Management of fungal diseases within urban landscapes relies heavily on repeat fungicide sprays. Environmental concerns have led to a need to eliminate or reduce fungicide use. Foliar sprays of calcium- (Ca) and silicon- (Si) based fertilisers have been shown to reduce symptom severity of several fungal pathogens. The aim of our research was to evaluate the influence of Ca chloride, Ca metasolate, tetra ethyl silicate, and potassium silicate fertilisers, applied independently and in combination with a synthetic fungicide (penconazole) at full and half strength, on apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) and Guignardia leaf blotch (Guignardia aesculi) symptom severity, as well as leaf chlorophyll content, fruit yield, and crown volume. Trials used container-grown Aesculus hippocastanum and field-grown Malus domestica cv. ‘Golden Delicious’. Applications of Ca, Si, and penconazole sprays alone significantly reduced scab and leaf blotch severity compared to water-sprayed controls; however, a significant difference between the type of Ca and Si fertilisers was recorded. A combined mix of a Ca or Si fertiliser with a full or half dose of penconazole was more effective at reducing symptom severity of both foliar pathogens than a full or half dose of penconazole alone. Data analysed with Limpel’s formula indicated positive synergistic effects between Ca and Si and penconazole in some, but not all, cases. The integration of Ca and Si foliar sprays as an alternative to, or additive with, penconazole for scab and leaf blotch management appears feasible based on results of our studies and may have applicability against other fungal pathogens.
Keywords: Disease Management; Fruit; Holistic Approach; Integrated Pathogen Management; Pathogen Control; Plant Health Care; Urban