Most of the region has finally gotten rain and pop-up thunderstorms making conditions ideal for pathogens such as phytophthora and pythium on spring-seeded and transplanted crops. Unfortunately, pythium and phytophthora blight can be found on many farms.
Poor crop rotations with susceptible hosts only make matters worse. The phytophthora pathogen has an increasing host range that now includes snap and lima beans; and all crops, other than a few resistant bell pepper cultivars, lack any resistance to the pathogen.
Control of phytophthora blight and pythium are extremely difficult (even with the use of fungicides) in the wet weather conditions. In the past few years a number of new fungicides, with new active ingredients, have become commercially-available for use on multiple crops. Mefenoxam or metalaxyl, both once widely-used to effectively control phytophthora blight has been hit by resistance issues around much of southern New Jersey the past decade.
Growers with a known history of mefenoxam-insensitivity on their farm should use Presidio, Previcur Flex, or Ranman plus a phosphite fungicide in rotation in their drip application programs. Importantly, if mefenoxam has not been used in particular fields on any crop for a number of years (more than 5+) the fungus may revert back to being mefenoxam-sensitive and control with these products may return. Mefenoxam, metalaxyl, Previcur Flex, and the phoshites are the most systemic of the group and should readily be taken up the by plant via application through the drip.
Presidio has locally systemic and has translaminar activity and should offer some protection of the root system via drip. Ranman has protectant activity and thus will offer some root protection where it comes into contact with. Orondis Gold (oxathiapiprolin + mefenoxam, 49 +4) is the newest fungicide available with a new active ingredient in a new FRAC group. Additionally, in past research trials, mefenoxam, Orondis Gold, Presidio, Previcur Flex, Ranman, Revus and the phosphites in rotation and/or tank mixes have offered very good control of the fruit rot phase of phytophthora blight.
mefenoxam–1.0 pt Ridomil Gold 4SL/A or 1.0 qt Ultra Flourish 2E/A or metalaxyl (MetaStar)–4.0-8.0 pt 2E/A at transplanting via drip and 30 days later.
Orondis Gold (oxathiapiprolin + mefenoxam, 49 +4) at 4.8 to 9.6 fl oz/A 1.67S at transplanting and 30 days after. If applied as drip application it can not be applied as a foliar.
Presidio (fluopicolide, 43) at 3.0-4.0 fl. oz 4SC/A at transplanting via drip and in rotation.
Ranman (cyazofamid, 21) at 2.75 fl oz 400SC at transplanting via drip and in rotation. (Ranman can be added to transplant water, see label for specific crop uses)
Previcur Flex (propamocarb HCL, 28) at 1.2 pt/A 6F at transplanting via drip or directed spray at base of plant. (Previcur Flex can be added to transplant water, see label for specific crop uses). Use in rotation.
Phosphite materials (FRAC code 33) such as Rampart, ProPhyt, or K-Khite may also be tank mixed with one of the above to help suppress phytophthora blight.
If mefenoxam-insensitivity is present, only use Presidio, Previcur Flex, Ranman, Revus, and/or phosphite fungicides.
For more information on these fungicides and specific crop use please see the 2020/2021 Mid-Atlantic Commercial Vegetable Production Recommendations Guide.
Recommendations for organic growers
Applications of Double Nickel (Bacillus amyloliquefaciens) or Regalia (Extract of Reynoutria sachalinensis) as drenches or via the drip system prior to the onset of disease may help suppress phytophthora and pythium development. Other biopesticides, such as those containing Trichoderma spp. or Streptomyces spp. can also be used to help suppress these pathogens.
If losses become high?
If phytophthora or pythium losses become high because of the heavy rains, pre-emptive cultural practices need be taken immediately. Rogueing out, discing under, or hitting areas with gramoxone to burn infected plants down will help slow down and reduce the spread of potential inoculum to healthier areas of the block or farm. If beds are chronically wet, plastic can be cut or completely removed to help soils dry out.
– Andy Wyenandt, specialist in Vegetable Pathology, Rutgers University
This article originally appeared in the Rutgers University Plant and Pest Advisory.