Disease / Pest Management

Botanical Oils Provide Excellent Knockdown of Mites and Allow Quick Return of Beneficials

There are a number of good reasons for almond growers to add botanical oils to their mite control programs, but the fact that they are very effective at controlling mites is the most important one. Independent field trials have shown that botanical oils are just as effective as conventional miticides at controlling Pacific spider mites in almonds for up to three weeks post treatment. And while botanical oils kill adult mites on contact as do conventional pesticides, the oils are two to three times more active against mite eggs. The resulting disruption of the mites’ lifecycle provides effective control...

Botanical Oils Provide Almond Growers with Options for BMSB Control

Botanical oils offer new options for dealing with brown marmorated stink bug, a new pest to West Coast almond growers. Growers in the East and Midwest have been plagued by the BMSB, as it is also known, for several years, but it is only recently that it has been found in orchards in California. Adult stink bugs have piercing mouthparts, which they insert into the fruit and suck out plant juices. The resulting damage makes produce unmarketable. In almonds, the damage appears as necrotic brown lesions on the hull and the secretion of a clear gummy substance at the...

Botanical Oils Offer Excellent Repellant Action Against Spotted Wing Drosophila

As pests go, spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a relatively new one in mainland North America. While it was well known in Hawaii, SWD was first discovered in mainland North America in California in 2008. A year later it was found in the Pacific Northwest in Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. It has moved east since then, to Florida, the Carolinas, Michigan and other states. SWD (Drosophila suzukii) is related to the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), which is normally an annoying, yet harmless, pest that feeds on decaying fruits and vegetables. SWD is much more serious; it feeds...

Why Botanical Oils Work on Whiteflies

Whiteflies are so prevalent on so many crops, growers need to know every tool available to use for control. Development of resistance to conventional insecticides continues to whittle down the number of effective products, even as new ones are introduced. Botanical oils – those made from plant essential oils such as rosemary and mint, have a place in a whitefly program because of the unique benefits they offer. Dr. Murray Isman, Professor of Entomology/Toxicology at The University of British Columbia, lists these benefits as multiple modes of action, short residual activity, less toxicity to bees, zero preharvest interval (PHI),...

The Role of Plant Nutrition in Plant Resistance

Build-up plants’ pest and disease resistance through good nutrition Doctors often prescribe medicine for the treatment of illnesses and the prevention of repeat occurrences. But, if the medicine sits in the bottle, patients will have a hard time getting better. Mineral imbalances have the same effect in plants. When they are missing, plants become weaker and have a harder time fighting off disease. Recent advances in breeding have linked genetics to the success of disease-resistant varieties, while the impact of proper nutrition on disease control is often overlooked. The fact is, even the best disease-resistant varieties cannot reach their...

Managing Insects on Plants with Plant Nutrition

Sometimes the best approach to deterring insects is a good offense, for plants, that means keeping them healthy to shore up their defenses. Using plant nutrition as a weapon against the ongoing battle with insects is a preventative measure that can have long-lasting benefits. However, the key to using this integrated pest management (IPM) strategy is to maintain balanced nutrient levels. Disproportionate amounts of nutrients can have the unwanted effect of attracting insect populations instead of discouraging them. Nutrients strengthen plant defense systems Plant health influences the development of plant defense systems, both externally and internally. Mechanical barriers (e.g.,...

Cultural Practices for Pest and Disease Management in Vegetable Crops

Minimize pest and disease damage with beneficial growing practices Pests and diseases are responsible for millions of dollars in damages to vegetable crops each year. At the same time, the push towards reducing the use of pesticides and fungicides is growing stronger. Several beneficial cultural practices can meet both demands, helping with pest and disease control and minimizing the use of toxic chemicals. Disease resistant varieties should be used whenever possible. This is a simple, cost-effective practice that is especially useful in areas where disease is already prevalent or soils are infected. Remember that disease resistant labeling is not...
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