Fruit, Orchard, and Vineyard Sanitation: Cleaning Up Today May Keep Disease Away

Autumn has arrived in Kentucky, and as the last of the fruit has been harvested, it is time to focus on fruit, orchard, and vineyard sanitation. Good sanitation practices can help reduce disease-causing pathogens.  These organisms can survive for months or years on dead plant material or in soil, causing infections in subsequent years. Elimination of disease-causing organisms reduces the need for fungicides and can improve the effectiveness of disease management practices. Following these sanitation practices both in autumn and throughout the growing season can reduce disease pressure in home and commercial fruit plantings.

Sanitation Practices

  • Remove diseased plant tissues from infected plants
    • Prune cankers (Figure 1) by making cuts well below visible symptoms. Clean tools between each cut with a sanitizer, such as rubbing alcohol or household bleach.
    • Rake and remove fallen buds, flowers, fruit, twigs, and leaves (Figure 2).
  • Collect all fruit from trees, bushes, and vines. Discard diseased fruit since it can serve as a source of inoculum in subsequent growing seasons (Figure 3).
  • Above and below ground portions of severely infected trees, bushes, and vines should be completely removed and destroyed.
  • All discarded plant material should be burned, buried, or removed with yard waste. Do not compost diseased plant material.
  • Remove weeds, including roots, which may serve as alternate hosts for pathogens.
  • When treating infected plants with fungicides, remove infected tissues prior to application.

    Figure 1: Cankers can provide an overwintering site for plant pathogens. (Photo: Nicole Ward Gauthier, UK)

    Figure 1. Cankers can provide an overwintering site for plant pathogens. (Photo: Nicole Ward Gauthier, UK)

Figure 2: Debris is a major source of infective propagules. Gather and discard fallen buds, flowers, fruit, twigs, and leaves. (Photo: Kim Leonberger, UK)

Figure 2. Debris is a major source of infective propagules. Gather and discard fallen buds, flowers, fruit, twigs, and leaves. (Photo: Kim Leonberger, UK)

Figure 3: Diseased fruit, whether on the ground or attached to the tree, can serve as a source of inoculum during the current and future growing seasons. (Photo: Nicole Ward Gauthier, UK)

Figure 3. Diseased fruit, whether on the ground or attached to the tree, can serve as a source of inoculum during the current and future growing seasons. (Photo: Nicole Ward Gauthier, UK)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Additional Information

  • Fruit, Orchard, and Vineyard Sanitation (PPFS-GEN-05)

 

By Kimberly Leonberger, Extension Associate, and Nicole Ward Gauthier, Extension Plant Pathologist

 

 

Posted in Fruit