Effective Management Tools for Septoria Leaf Spot of Pistachio in Arizona
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AbstractSeptoria leaf spot was detected in the United States for the first time in 1964 within an experimental pistachio planting at Brownwood, Texas. The first observation of the same disease in Arizona pistachio trees did not occur until 1986. In 1988, a survey of the 2,000 acres of pistachio orchards in southeastern Arizona revealed a widespread incidence of the disease. Since the initial discovery of the disease, Septoria leaf spot has appeared annually in some of the Arizona pistachio acreage. The onset and severity of the disease is influenced by summer rainfall that occurs in this region. Disease management trials conducted since 1992 have shown that as few as two applications of chlorothalonil in July and August can virtually prevent disease development. Applications of copper hydroxide or benomyl alone or in combination also effectively arrest disease development. Leaves around nut clusters on infected trees not receiving fungicide treatments were usually senescent at crop maturity, whereas leaves on treated trees showed no sign of senescence. Pistachio trees infected with Septoria leaf spot and not treated with an effective fungicide can defoliate in the autumn up to 2 months prematurely.