Friday, July 19, 2013

Combating Spotted Wing Drosophila and Late Blight

In recent weeks, Spotted Wing Drosophila and Late Blight have been popping up on growing operations throughout the Northeast. Below are some tips for preventing these issues from becoming a serious problem this year.

Late Blight on Tomato
Late blight (Phytophthora infestans) occurs each year in many areas of the United States and the world. There are steps that you can take in order to reduce late blight recurrence this growing season.

  • Pull up and throw away or burn any volunteer potato plants — these sprout from tubers that may have gone unseen in the soil last fall during clean up and/or in the compost pile.
  • Plant certified disease-free potato seed pieces — do not use seed pieces saved from last season.
  • Follow recommended crop spacing and soil fertility, maximize greenhouse and hoophouse air circulation, reduce insect pressures.
  • Cull any and all tomato or potato plants if they display late blight symptoms by throwing away or burning plant debris.
  • Treat plants with a preventative copper spray. We recommend item #9778, Champ® WG Copper Fungicide (OG)
  • Treat plants with hydrogen dioxide for prevention and treatment of late blight infections. We recommend item #9719, Oxidate® (OG).

According to the Vermont Veg & Berry Newsletter, late blight has been confirmed in Franklin County, MA on tomato plants on July 11th, and in Erie County, NY on tomato plants July 10th, and on potato plants July 9th. Previous reports in FL, WV, LA, TN, MD, KY, VA, NC, and WI have been confirmed as P. infestans strains US-23 and US-7. You can track disease progress at USA BLIGHT.

View our informative videos on Identifying Late Blight and Controlling Late Blight at Johnnyseeds.com.

Spotted Wing Drosophila on Beries
Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). According to MOFGA’s Pest Report of July 11, 2013, compiled by Eric Sideman, PhD, MOFGA’s Organic Crop Specialist, “The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) has been found in Maine this week, and was found in southern New England a week or two ago.” Here are some need-to-know facts about SWD, per MOFGA’s Pest Report:

  • This fruit fly is a new pest in our region; it is a common pest in parts of Asia.
  • The tiny fly looks like a typical fruit fly, but the males have a spot on each wing that you can barely see with the naked eye.
  • Common fruit flies that we see here only go after overripe and rotting fruit. The SWD is a much greater problem because it can attack sound fruit and has been very damaging to raspberries, blueberries, and other late summer soft fruit.
  • Two years ago was the first year in which it was seen in large numbers in Northern New England.
  • In as few as 8 days it goes from eggs to new adults laying more eggs, so populations can explode quickly.

If you’re battling Spotted Wing Drosophila, you may want to explore our effective Organic Controls for combating this issue. Specifically, Entrust® SC (OG) is extremely effective against Spotted Wing Drosophila. You can learn more about Entrust® SC (OG) on Johnnyseeds.com here »

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