Field Insights

Plant Health for Permanent Crops

Fungicides help improve plant health in permanent crops for the long term.

When growers apply fungicides and other inputs to permanent crops, such as tree nuts, grapes and citrus, the carryover effects from one year to the next are relevant to lifelong production.

“A grower planting almond or pistachio trees may use fungicides for Phytophthora root rot and may or may not see immediate benefits in the current crop year,” says Garrett Gilcrease, Syngenta agronomy service representative in Hanford, California. “But since the grower enhanced the plant health of the crop, it helps long term.”

John Taylor, Syngenta agronomy service representative in North Palm Beach, Florida, sees a similar thought process when citrus growers make input decisions, particularly where citrus greening is a major factor.

“Citrus greening has made the crop much more unpredictable,” Taylor says. “Growers find it much more challenging to predict benefits and returns of all their inputs.”

Supporting root development, however, reaps benefits for healthy and stressed trees. One way to do that is by controlling Phytophthora, which can be managed but not eradicated.

Taylor works with growers who use Orondis® and Ridomil Gold® fungicides to manage Phytophthora, and thus support healthier roots and increased root mass. Growers, Taylor says, should consider ongoing fungicide applications as a way to protect their investment.

“Even in years of light disease pressure, timely fungicide applications can help reduce inoculum and improve root mass,” Taylor says. “This puts the grower ahead when the disease inevitably rebounds.”

Cover image: Healthy orange groves like this one in Florida benefit from regular fungicide applications, even in years when disease pressure is light. Photography by Stephen Williams.