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What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Posted by shazaam NC 7B (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 12:44

Brown rot is firmly entrenched in my small front yard orchard. I've lost my entire stone fruit crop (nectarines and Japanese plums) to brown rot for three years running. I've tried good sanitation, but I haven't yet tried spraying. I'd planned to simply replace the trees with something with low disease pressure (persimmons, figs, mulberries, etc.), but I'm considering giving them one more year and implementing an aggressive (organic) spray regimen. I recall that scottsmith and harvestman have made the point in past threads that controlling brown rot with organic sprays isn't an easy task (especially in the humid southeast). So...given past crop failures and the limitations of organic controls, do those of you with more experience think my odds of success are at all favorable? I'd be thrilled if I could salvage even a partial crop.

My tentative plan is to use a combination of horticultural oil (Monterey Horticultural Oil) and copper fungicidal spray (Liquicop) for dormant sprays, followed by alternating micronized sulfur and Serenade sprays once the trees are in leaf.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Why alternate the sulfur with Serenade? If they are compatible I'd tank mix them as I don't feel that resistance development would be an issue. I believe sulfur will be useless if it isn't constantly present on the fruit throughout its development.

Scott will be a far more experienced guide on this topic.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Thanks, harvestman. I'd read that I shouldn't mix sulfur with oil, and, without thinking about it, applied that to Serenade as well. It would make sense to mix them as you suggested.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 14:13

Scott has posted Saf-T-Side is his best organic tool for rot. Based on his reports I think organic rot control is doable (although I believe he mentioned he is starting to use a few synthetic sprays as of late).

One other thing you might consider in your efforts is the harvest window. I've noticed peaches/plums that ripen in the very driest part of summer don't need much/any brown rot protection. For my area, the latter half of July or first part of August is generally pretty dry. Not only is there generally little rainfall, but there is no morning dew.

Of course cultivar can have an impact too. Some varieties are prone to rot.


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RE: Con't

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 14:22

Should have also mentioned if you can't get rot under control on your nects and plums, there is no reason to give up on stone fruits entirely. Peaches are a lot more resistant to brown rot than nectarines and they taste almost as good.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Thanks, olpea. Had I known what I know now, I would have made very different variety selections. It's been a good learning experience, I suppose. I'll definitely try stone more stone fruits in the future, but I'll spend a lot more time researching the right varieties for my location and climate.

Just as an aside for anyone else who's interested, I selected the Monterey oil because, at least according to Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, it's the same product as Saf-T-Side (which they say is no longer available, although it does appear that some retailers still have it in stock).


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Olpea, good to see you back on board- sure hope things are better. I too am glad that season from hell is over.

In the east we don't have a pattern of dry periods during any part of the year. Earliest ripening fruit seems to be least susceptible to rot as well as some of the older peach varieties when people selected them for resistance, I suspect.

Elberta and Madison seem to me to be considerably less rot prone that several of the newer varieties in their harvest season.

Generally the Canadian program looks more at brown rot and Harcrest is a very good quality later peach that seems resistant as well.

There are so many varieties of peaches but I know of no source of researched info about relative rot resistance.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 18:58

Hman,

Thanks. Hope you have plenty of work this winter. Watched the Dust Bowl series on PBS. That history, and new global warming make me wonder if we are in for more hellish growing weather.

Below is a link to Cornell which has a table of relative susc. of peach varieties. I don't know how researched based it is.

They list Georgia Belle as highly susc. which is contrary to my experience. Although taste was only mediocre, it never rotted for me. Just as you mentioned, they list Elberta as resistant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brown rot


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 20:45

Harvestman, that looks like the same list published by West Virginia University. They list "Dr. Don Peterson (ret.) - Penn State University" as the source.

This article is the most detailed I've seen. It has scab, scale, and split pit incidence, as well as brown rot, as seen in Arkansas, in 2003. Based on it, I've ordered the following for next year. All of them had 0 brown rot, and all but Jefferson had no scab. Of course, the article says that the peaches were sprayed with Fungicide, so this data shouldn't be taken to say that they are immune. It's also only a single year's data, but there doesn't seem to be much online, so I can't be too picky.

PF-15A
Encore
Ruston Red
Jefferson

I also added White River and White County based on another article and Old Mixon Free from Scott's recommendation. Only 4 of the above seven will go in the ground, with the rest in pots.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Yes, it's hard to say if the list was based on research. I have managed Rariton Rose at many sites without the benefit of fungicide- at least after my initial 2 cover sprays in May where there might be some myclobutanil in the mix.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 21:59

Bob,

I've grown White County for several years. While it doesn't seem to rot for me it does have some other issues.

Contrary to what U. of Ark. says, it gets bac. spot pretty bad. Although not bad enough to destroy peaches, it does render them unsellable unless sprayed w/ mycoshield/flamout. It gets bac. spot worse than all but one of the 30 peach trees in my backyard. This probably wouldn't be an issue as long as you are using them for yourself.

It also has very high incidence of split-pits. In a typical year it can run 50% on this variety. Again this is something a home grower can live with.

Lastly, this summer we had temps in excess of 100F. The high temps caused a lot of internal browning of this variety. It literally cooked the peaches while they were still on the tree. It was only a problem with this variety and most of these peaches were inedible as a result. CT probably doesn't get as hot so they may do fine for you.

On the plus side, the peaches are huge. Easily soft ball sized (thin the tree heavily or you'll have broken branches). They are a sub-acid which some people go nuts over, while others (like me) prefer a little more tang to balance the sugar. It's a highly perfumed peach.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 24, 12 at 23:35

Thanks for the first hand info Olpea! It seems that they stretched "moderate to good bacterial spot resistance", if it is 29th of 30 for you.

I was already leaning toward putting White County in a pot, but this cinches it. I can put the pot under an overhang (10' high, SSE facing), where it misses mid-day sun and keeps most of the water off it. You're right it doesn't get as hot here- it never hit 100 this summer, though it came close. I just checked and found a high of 98 in late July.

Have you tried White River? It is supposed to have more acid to it, with similar brix (14.5% vs 14% for White County, per the UoA site). It is also mentioned in the above article as having a tree health of 9.7 vs the 8.7 from White County.

I like both high and low acid peaches, as long as there is enough sugar. If there isn't a lot of sugar, at least the acid will keep it interesting. The worst is no acid and no sugar. I had some from this category this past September from a PYO (Summer Pearl, I think), which were only 10 brix, even though they were completely ripe on the tree. They were juicy, so at least my wife liked them (her other favorites are watermelon and asian pears...). I also picked Autumn Glo, a large yellow peach, which were in the same brix range (maybe a tad higher to 11). They were actually pretty good, with plenty of acid.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Autumn Glo is a really big late peach that wants to rot here as much as anything I've grown besides maybe Lady Nancy. Encore is smaller but I think better flavored and a less demanding peach in its season.

Summer Pearl, and a lot of other new peaches (White Lady) get ripe on the tree and stay hard there for a long time. I assume that during that process they are getting sweeter but the ones like this I've grown don't have the quality of a really good, drops off the tree when ripe(or at least softens), peach to me.

I'm still curious how they research susceptibility- if it's just based on observation in any given season or string of seasons or if they innoculate each tree and keep them wet for an extended period of time or something like that.

The former would not in any way be definitive because it would have a lot to do with weather (temps, precip and humidity) as the peach nears ripe. You could compare it to peaches ripening at the same time and that might be pretty accurate if it was all done on the same site.


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RE:f beating brown rot organically?

If the list was based on conditions in Arkansas at a single site single season it really shouldn't be used by the Land Grants without a caveot. This is just something you have to put up with when dealing with agricultural info from the pedigreed gurus. Sometimes info is distributed that is little more than anecdotal but in the guise of scientifically derived and complete information.

At least the info I get on Garden Web doesn't generally pretend to be anything more authoritative than it is.

Rariton Rose has for me over the last 25 years proven to be one of the best home orchard white peaches in my area. I'm not crazy about the fruit, although it's better than many whites (not a white fan) but no other peach can be more beautiful on the tree with so little attention to brown rot and scab. The peaches look so beautiful when strung throughout the branch structure and almost ripe that it is a stunning ornamental.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 25, 12 at 9:48

Bob,

I had White River planted once but never harvested anything from it. It bloomed for two years 2007 & 2008. We had the Easter freeze out in 2007 and in 2008 it rained like mad and the tree collapsed and died with a bunch of peaches on it (it was in a poorly drained spot). I always wanted to see how it tasted but never got to. I do recall it bloomed a week earlier than my other peaches which is part of the reason I've never tried to grow it again.

I don't think you'll be disappointed in the sugar of White County. It's my wife's favorite peach. Because it has such low acid, I find people really love it or don't like it much at all (not much middle ground).

Hman,

Thanks for the insight on Raritan Rose. I planted it last year. Scott has also mentioned it's not the best white out there.

I tasted Lady Nancy for the first time this summer and liked it, but it tastes a lot like a yellow peach to me. I gave one to a customer who buys a lot of peaches and he really loved it. I ordered one more for this spring. I'm approaching this one cautiously because you've repeatedly warned it has rot problems. The thin yellow line in the white flesh of the peach is pretty cool.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Olpea, I'd guess LN will ripen for you in about mid-Aug which I think you stated is a relatively dry time for you so it should do just fine- dry seasons here it is fine.

Lady Nancy is a sport of Jersey Queen, I believe, so it isn't surprising you find it more like a yellow peach. However, I expect you will find a fantastic commercial acceptance for it if it performs well there. In Rutgers taste tests it has been in another league next to other whites (common commercial ones) in years past, as I realize you've already read in previous posts.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

I have Raritan Rose...first year with fruit. large peaches, white flesh, sweet... good peaches, not out of this world, but not bad either. I'm sure there are better. NO rot on any of them that I remember.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

I'd like to hear what scottsmith has to say now that he has started using Monterry Fungi fighter. Is organic Brown rot control a lost cause in humid areas?


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Hi, I just noticed this thread. I did use MFF a bit last summer, but not enough -- I didn't use it after May. I was testing the idea of hammering the rot early in hopes of keeping the rest of the summer at a low level only. It didn't work, mid-summer MFF sprays are also needed. Overall though it was perhaps a bit better than my usual organic regimen, and I didn't use any sulphur, oil or serenade to try to help the MFF. My Flavor King rotted completely for the last four years and this year they did not rot at all. But St. John, one of my worst rotters, completely rotted as usual. A few things rotted this year which are normally OK, so it was not strictly better.

Back to the original question of organic rot control, I would say you can successfully grow stone fruits organically in a hot and humid climate, BUT you need to be doing a fair number of sprays AND you need to regularly be removing any source of spores, AND you need to be very careful on variety selection. I did not make any strong conclusions on whether sulphur, serenade, or oil was the best spray, but I have gotten more positive on sulphur than I was a few years ago and expect it is probably the best. I generally do not mix Serenade and sulphur: Serenade is a bacterium and sulphur is a bactericide. Its too bad there has been no study that I could find which showed whether the sulphur was neutralizing the Serenade, sulphur is not a strong bactericide and I expect it is likely fine; but to be safe I don't mix them. I definitely never mix copper and Serenade, copper is a stronger bactericide. So, I generally either do sulphur alone, or Serenade plus Saf_T-Side as my brown rot sprays.

Here is a rough spray guide based on what I have used in past years. The timing here is peaches and I hit the plums and 'cots with the same tank more or less.

Pink: copper plus a sticker
Petal fall: sulphur
Dime- to nickel-sized: sulphur (this is important for peach scab)
Surround spraying period (shuck split to quarter sized): include Serenade/Saf-T-Side with every Surround tank, but use sulphur in the dime-to-nickel interval and don't put down oil again for a few weeks after the sulphur (you can put down sulphur a few days after Saf-T-Side, it is mineral oil and is gone in two days).
June-August: You should be doing a rot spray (Serenade/Saf-T-Side or sulphur) every few weeks along with biweekly monitoring for rotted fruits to pull. I confess in looking at my logs now I did not do biweekly, I did more like monthly and I tended to not spray sulphur since its hard to find a period when its not too hot for sulphur in midsummer. In the future I should be more attentive to cooler periods and use them to put down sulphur in July/August. I expect if I got more sprays and more sulphur in July/August that I would have done a lot better. The problem I have in that period is it is super hot and I am often in a vicious battle with squirrels and deer at that point, and spraying gets put off.

I have posted various peach reports over the years so you can see how my rot did if you read them: most varieties end up coming out OK, but many don't do well at all. Early Japanese plums all do fine, and most Euro plums are very challenging. I have axed all of my nectarines as of a few months ago, except for Mericrest which gets little rot (but, they fruits are far too small).

Scott


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

What we need is a breeding program focused on rot resistance for stone fruit. If Mericrest is rot resistant it is reasonable to assume a similar resistance could be found in a larger fruiting nect.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

For peaches and plums the southern breeding programs have done pretty well: the Byron and AU plums, and the NC and Arkansas peaches for example. I expect they gave up before they even started on nectarines.

Mericrest is supposed to be "large", but it never sizes up well for me. In fact only a couple nectarines ever sized up well, nearly all the varieties I tried were golf balls at harvest time. I did think peach scab was keeping them small but I didn't get a lot of scab this last year and I am starting to wonder if it is the heat that is keeping them small. The trees are very vigorous so I doubt that is the problem.

I noticed I left out the environmental aspects of avoiding brown rot in my list above: plant the trees in full sun, complete morning sun in particular; prune back severely in the winter and keep the scaffolds very widely spaced; and, summer prune to expose the fruit to more light. These steps help a great deal.

Scott


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 26, 12 at 18:50

One other program I came across was Virginia in the 1950's under George Oberle. There is very little written about it, but I found a blurb in a book written by the former head of the Harrow program. See page 143, halfway down on the right.

Note in a book on page 143:
He selected strongly for climatic adaption and his releases...resistant or tolerant to bacterial spot and brown rot.

It lists 3 nectarines: Cavalier, Redbud, and Cherokee. Cavalier is actually stocked by Sanhedrin (Dave Wilson I assume), which is what originally lead me to this. I was just about ready to pull the trigger when the 2 other items I wanted went out of stock. I've since filled the spaces from other nurseries, so it looks like Cavalier will have to wait a year for me.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Interesting, I never heard of any of those nectarines. The most common ones mentioned for brown rot resistance are Mericrest, Hardired, and Harko, but Cavalier sounds like another good option to try. I think the main reason why Mericrest does well is it is so early that it misses the prime rot season.

Scott


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by skyjs z8 OR, USA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 1:15

I successfully use compost tea to fight these diseases. Our summers are easier on stone fruit but our springs are tougher, warmer and wetter than yours.
John S
PDX OR


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

To my knowledge, the success of compost tea fighting brown rot is anecdotal, there is no reliable scientific basis for claims of advocates on this subject that I have found. What's more, the claims I've seen aren't made by people comparing treatments in a controlled manner, such as by professional applicators comparing results with a control (sprayed compared to unsprayed trees on same site).

I'm sorry if this sounds disrespectful, but I wasted a good deal of time (3 seasons actually) chasing after unobtainable results based on claims like this one. This is one reason I consider Scott such an asset to this forum- he's tried most of the organic methods of pest control and has a realistic reading on results and provides very well thought out explanations of those results.

West coast growers often have no idea of how much more difficult it is to get positive results in the east. Even biological fungicides that work out west in controlled studies (compost tea not on that list) sometimes fall flat when tried here.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

I was pretty sure I had read seeral studies on milk and milk deriities being used with some success against brown rot, but a quick search only finds reference to powdery mildew.

I assume that if it is effectie it is only marginally so or it would be more referenced. Any input on that from you folks? Might it be a useful addition in locations where disease pressure is less extreme?

(sorry for the spelling...the key between c and b seems to be broken)


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

I've read about every study I could find and there is no study showing compost tea or milk is effective against brown rot, and I have found plenty of negative results. One of the problems in studying compost tea is there are about a million different kinds of compost tea you can produce based on what comes out of the fermentation, and maybe some of those work but they brewed up the wrong kind in the studies. I also wish folks would stop bothering to test if something treats powdery mildew, all you have to do is say "boo" and you can get rid of powdery mildew. If someone finds that milk or whatever helps against powdery mildew suddenly it is a "disease suppressant" and then people are trying it on everything (and of course having no luck).

In places where there is very little disease I would not be surprised if some of these guys were helpful, but again there have been no studies I could find confirming effectiveness.

Below is a link to a page that summarizes many studies of compost tea, baking soda, and other natural fungicides. I wouldn't say it is the most objective information but she does summarize all the studies well and gives credit when things show some effectiveness.

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: Linda Chalker-Scott page


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 9:39

Rob, until you fix your keyboard, a good trick is to hold down the alt key while typing 118, then let up the alt. That should make a "v" for you (or 86 for a capital). The numbers are their ascii values- you can google for the whole table.

The other (more painful) solution is to look for the letter you want, highlight it, and copy it, then paste as needed. Believe it or not, long ago I did this (briefly) for every letter when my whole keyboard wasn't working.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

If you are really concerned about enviromental or health effects of organic vs synthetic pesticides, you would not use Cu. Cu toxicity is the same as Sevin, and never decomposes, so use of Cu over the years will poison your soil. The low impact synthetics are 100X more effective than Cu at much lower doses, are much less toxic, and do decompose. The only reason Cu is allowed for organic is it is the only non synthetic material that actually has some effect and was used before synthetics were invented, but it is a heavy metal toxin, accumulates in the soil, and never goes away.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

I sincerely appreciate everyone's input. Since brown rot has been discussed before, I almost didn't post my question. I'm glad that I did, though -- I've definitely received a lot of great advice. At this point, I don't think that I'm going to spray with the organic regimen that I mentioned above. I might consider a synthetic like Monterey Fungi Fighter (unlikely), or I might decide that, given their susceptibility to brown rot, these particular nectarine and plum varieties just aren't worth the trouble to me (more likely).


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Plumhillfarm, it depends what you mean by toxicity, copper won't kill any bugs and Sevin will kill most of them. I do agree that copper use should be minimized due to the problem of long-term accumulation; I use lime-sulphur in place of copper whenever possible. Its hard to compare copper vs a synthetic like MFF but over the long term its probably better to be using MFF.

Scott


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

THe LD50 of Cu is essentially the same (15 to 850mg/kg) for mammals as Sevin (250-850mg/kg). Cu is much less effective at killing bugs as sevin, but equally effect at killing us.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 19:56

Plumhill,

I agree with your basic premise, but I don't think a comparison of Cu vs. Sevin is a very good example to make your point. Sevin is more dangerous than Cu.

I am certainly not a syntheti-phobe and many times grow weary of the public perception of organic vs. synthetic pesticides. Namely, the unfortunate public opinion that organic is always better than synthetic.

Certainly the LD50 value is dependent upon the particular formulation of Copper and the particular formulation of Sevin. I have both Copper and Sevin in my lockers and their LD50 values are as follows: Kocide 3000 has an LD50 of 1847 mg/kg and Sevin 4F has an LD50 of 590 mg/kg. A little bit more Kocide is required for a full dilute spray vs. a full dilute of Sevin but even in full dilute, Sevin is more acutely toxic.

There are other health considerations besides acute toxicity as well. This in my opinion is where Sevin loses the race. It is a cholinesterase inhibitor and listed as a carcinogen and developmental/reproductive toxin for mammals. Cholinesterase inhibition is the big deal here. I've read some applicators who routinely spray carbamates (i.e. Sevin) or organophosphates periodically have their cholinesterase levels checked because of the risk associated with these compounds. Again these risks are for applicators who are spraying these compounds all the time, not for a homeowner occasionally spraying their fruit trees, or applying a little Sevin dust to their vegetables.

I'm not trying to make anyone paranoid about Sevin or copper. I'm not afraid to use either one, but from a health standpoint, I'd rather have repeated exposure of Cu vs. Sevin. From an environmental standpoint, I'd rather spray Sevin because, as you point out, it breaks down quickly.

There are plenty examples of synthetics out there that are safer than Cu. Many of them have LD50 values of greater than 5000 mg/kg. Scott mentioned MFF. I see it has an ld50 of 4340 mg/kg. That means the concentrate of MFF is less acutely toxic than table salt. Quite safe.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Yes, I was curious about the comparison of copper to sevin as well- especially the last statement by plumhill. Seems to be suggesting copper is used as an insecticide.

I expect to be using copper for the first time (Kocide) to control a debilitating fungus on my apricots. I'm unaware of an alternative treatment.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

I used copper spray with very limited success. Last summer the heat and humidity were unusual the fungus was killing every thing even the weed.
Abe


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Copper and Sevin have very different uses. Copper is more for preventing something like PLC while Sevin is used for getting rid of Japanese beetles. With anything, limit exposure, cover up good and don't spray when its windy (drift)... Anything (organic/synthetic) that breaks down fairly quickly in my opinion is a very good thing. I just read an article on flame retardants and they are still finding DDT in blood samples/dust.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Hi Fank
I just finished reading this article about flame retardants used in mattresses and pillows and furniture. I recall my older son was smoking in bed and fell asleep. His cigarette made holes in the mattress and the pillow. May be without the flame retardant my house could be burned and who knows my son could lot his life.I don't like chemicals and try to not to over use them. But I am getting convinced that without chemicals life would not be possible. To say the least our stomach is a chemical factory. Remembering what the fungus did to my fruit garden last year I feel almost crying. With 3 Apricot trees we did not even get one fruit. The peach the Nectarine and cherry got devastated too. When it comes to Chemicals I have a very mixed emotion.
Abe


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Abe, If you're even hypothetically considering growing fruit without chemicals, then, assuming you live in a typical 7B American location, you need to be talking about fruits other than apricots, peaches, nectarines, and cherries (especially if you mean sweet cherries), all of which are from other parts of the world with very different climates and disease pressures (and soils, etc.) Chemicals might make some things possible in some locations, but it's also very possible to live and eat quite well without smoking in bed and without growing your own apricots, nectarines, etc. I'm not trying to make any argument against chemicals. I'm just saying that if you want to even consider any such arguments with regards to fruit you obviously won't get anywhere if you're not willing to consider things like what species of fruit you're growing, whether the breeders of the particular variety were even trying to breed a tree that would be less dependent on chemicals, alternatives to chemicals besides just going cold turkey on the chemicals, etc.
I'd note, too, that millenia of human history attest to the ability of mankind to live without chemicals. The real question is how well we're now living and can continue to live with our liberal use of them.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Cousinfloyd, have you considered that the population of people that lived before the advent of chemicals of human design was a fraction of what it is today?

Also that most of us live in a world where agricultural chemicals are a tiny fraction of our exposure to synthetic chemicals in general. Eaten any food packed in plastic lately? Worn any polyester? Got any foam filled furniture? Any synthetic wood preservatives releasing vapors in your house? Ever use an automobile for transportation? Heck, the vast majority of human existence has occurred without any of these dangerous exposures. I'm sure life was much better in this Eden past, but humans just had to bite the apple.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

Harvestman, like I said, I'm not trying to make any argument for or against chemicals.
As for global populations, chemicals have indeed enabled an historically unprecedented population boom, especially by freeing farmers from the limits of closed loop nutrient cycles (which in turn has led to the need for many if not most of the other agricultural chemicals.) My point was simply that in the big picture/over the long haul there's much more evidence to suggest that human life is sustainable without man-made chemicals than with them. (Again, I'm not trying to offer that as an argument against chemicals.) If you're suggesting that chemicals are a good thing specifically because they've led to greater population density, then I think you need to address questions that I probably ought not raise on this forum.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

CF, what is the point, exactly? It seems like you are criticizing the nature of modern human existence which, I think we both agree, is not on a sustainable path (without holding out for divine intervention).

I just don't think the crucial issue here is whether we use some man made chemicals in agriculture- that is only one of many technologies that have led to our current global population boom and the environmental degradation that goes with it. Obviously we can't go back to being hunter gatherers, which is the sustainable life style you seem to be referring to.

Are you suggesting that the poster not attempt to grow plants that haven't evolved in his specific climate? This is a viewpoint that has been expressed on this forum, but most who participate here are trying to grow varieties and even species of fruit that come from parts of the world where selective breeding has gone on long enough to produce a wide range of delicious fruit.

It is this range that we are accustomed to choosing from and most of the posters are trying to grow their own and seeking advice specific to this.


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RE: What are my odds of beating brown rot organically?

To return closer to the subject of this forum, what do you think, Harvestman, is the odds that a beginning backyard fruit grower in an average eastern half of the US location is going to successfully grow nectarines without chemicals? Apricots? Sweet cherries? Peaches? My guess would be that the average harvest wouldn't even be 10% of a below average crop for a nearby commercial grower using chemicals, and more often than not would be a complete zero.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that folks opposed to chemicals shouldn't grow non-native fruit species. I think figs, pears, jujubes, Asian persimmons, pomegranates... are all good possibilities for eastern US backyard growers not wanting to use chemicals. I only meant to say that folks not wanting to use chemicals shouldn't assume that they'll be able to grow every non-native species without chemicals that are grown commercially with chemicals. Don't you think in kind of the same way greenhouses make it possible to grow oranges in places where you couldn't otherwise grow oranges that chemicals make it possible to grow some species that backyard growers wouldn't have reasonable success with otherwise?


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