Local Pest Management Notes for the High County – Fall 2021

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Apple Leaf Spots and Defoliation

It’s been a typical year for apple leaf diseases, which means that if your apple tree is located in a less than ideal spot and/or unsprayed, its leaves may be gone by now. Thanks to generally plentiful rains and periods of warm temperatures, Western North Carolina gets more than its share of pome fruit foliar disease pressure, including Apple Scab, Marssonina Leaf Blotch, Frog Eye Leaf Spot, and Glomerella Leaf Spot. Our Extension office began getting calls about apple and pear trees losing leaves around June of this year, and of course, once leaves fall off a tree the grower has to wait until the next spring to get them back. However, homeowners and growers alike can take steps in the fall to reduce future disease pressure, including shredding fallen leaves (to reduce disease spores that overwinter on intact leaves) and removing any mummified fruit. Then this winter, a few applications of dormant season sprays can further reduce disease pressure. However, to really combat these four leaf diseases, commercial apple growers (both organic and otherwise) apply fungicides every 7-14 days over apple trees from early during the coming growing season and onward.

To help plan for a potential winter / dormant spray program suitable for both organic and conventional apple producers, see:

Dormant Sprays for Fruit Trees

More information about managing apple foliar diseases ahead of next year can be found at:

Glomerella Leaf Spot and Fruit Rot

Leaf Spots of Bother: The Troublesome 3

Marssonina Blotch on Apple Trees

Frogeye Leaf Spot & Black Rot of Apple

Fall Army Worms

Every so often, populations of Fall Army Worms reach unusual peaks, and this year looks to be one of them. Because Fall Army Worms feed mostly on turf grasses and small grains, you may see signs of their damage on lawns and certain fall cover crop plantings in garden areas as well. Most vegetable and fruit growers will not need to actively manage them, but I include these notices from NC State Extension Turfgrass colleagues as a heads-up / fyi:

Fall Armyworm in Turf

Fall Armyworm Q&A

Grape Sour Rot

If you have grapes hanging on the vine, this run of sunny and warm weather is likely doing them good. Be sure to monitor pest pressure and weather forecasts though, as injury from birds or insects plus any wetter weather can bring Sour Rot upon a previously healthy crop. If at all possible, plan to harvest your grapes ahead of any heavy rains. See the North Carolina Grape Guide for more information:

Wine Grapes: Pest Management