Speakers update delegates on latest research projects at Tree Fruit Day

Diverse trial work commissioned by the Horticultural Development Company (HDC) was presented to delegates at the recent HDC/East Malling Research (EMR) Tree Fruit Day.

EMR entomologist Michelle Fountain was one of 11 speakers at the event last month, which was held at the Kent-based EMR on 26 March.

She told delegates that there are few active ingredients available to control the main two leaf-feeding/webbing mites - the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) and the European mite (Panonychus ulmi) - but the Bioline predatory mite (Ambyseilus andersonii), introduced as one Gemini sachet per five trees, achieved effective controls.

Fountain added that spotted wing drosophila is encroaching on many protected cherry plantings in south-east England, with the Bioline Drosotraps performing well.

It was recommended that farms should prioritise its incidence by perimeter trapping early (March/April), especially near to woodlands where alternative hosts such as bramble are found, and monitoring fruit at harvest for the presence of the pest.

She reported that as yet no predator has been identified, and growers should "ring the changes" to avoid resistance to existing approved products.

Steve Roberts of Plant Health Solutions reviewed the work on bacterial canker of plums and cherries (Pseudomonas syringae pv. mors prunorum), prevalent in UK woodlands.

He expressed concerns of resistance to copper oxychloride (Cuprokylt), the only formulation approved for use, and the arrival of a new "quarantine-able" bacterial disease (Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni) to threaten UK crops.

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