Agriculture: Citrus Pest Management Guidelines

Brown Rot

  • Phytophthora spp.
  • Symptoms and Signs

    Symptoms appear primarily on mature or nearly mature fruit. Initially, the firm, leathery lesions may have a water-soaked appearance. Lesions are tan to olive brown, have a pungent odor, and may turn soft from secondary infections. Infected fruit eventually drop. Occasionally, twigs, leaves, and blossoms are infected, turning brown and dying.

    Comments on the Disease

    Brown rot is caused by multiple species of Phytophthora when conditions are cool and wet. Brown rot develops mainly on fruit growing near the ground when Phytophthora spores from the soil are splashed onto the tree skirts during rainstorms; infections develop under continued wet conditions. Fruit in the early stage of the disease may go unnoticed at harvest and infect other fruit during storage.

    Management

    Grove Management

    Brown rot management primarily relies on prevention. To reduce brown rot

    • Prune tree skirts 24 or more inches above the ground.
    • Spray copper fungicide once between October and December before or just after the first rain; this may provide protection throughout the wet season.
    • Repeat the spray in January or February when rainfall is excessive.
    • Spray the skirts to about 4 feet above ground.

    Spraying the ground underneath the trees also reduces brown rot infections. In addition to copper, other products effective against brown rot include the phosphonate and phenylamide fungicides. Phosphonates are applied as foliar and fruit or soil treatments, whereas phenylamides are applied as soil treatments for brown rot control. For soil applications, microsprinkler irrigation applications may be used.

    Postharvest Packinghouse Treatments to Prevent Fruit Decay

    Phosphonate fungicides such as potassium phosphite may be applied in aqueous dilutions to fruit alone or in combination with other postharvest fungicide applications to manage nonvisible infections that occurred before harvest or protect fruit from brown rot infection after harvest during storage, distribution, and marketing. Use high-volume flooder or dip treatments for maximum coverage of fruit. Heated (125–136°F) fungicide solutions optimize performance of the potassium phosphite treatment.

    Common name Amount to use REI‡ PHI‡
    (Example trade name) (hours) (days)
    Not all registered pesticides are listed. The following are ranked with the pesticides having the greatest IPM value listed first—the most effective and least likely to cause resistance are at the top of the table. When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to the pesticide‚Äôs properties and application timing, honey bees, and environmental impact. Always read the label of the product being used.
     
    PREHARVEST
    A. FIXED COPPER#
    (various products) Label rates See label 0
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Multi-site contact (M1)
      COMMENTS: Where danger of copper injury is severe, apply in a mixture with 0.33 to 1 lb of hydrated lime per pound of dry copper fungicide. Not all copper compounds are approved for use in organic production; be sure to check individual products.
     
    B. ZINC SULFATE+COPPER SULFATE+HYDRATED LIME#
      (3-2-6-100) 10–25 gal/tree See comments See comments
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Multi-site contact (M1)
      COMMENTS: For use on grapefruit, oranges, and lemons. Mix in 100 gal water. Apply from October through December, or just before or after first rain. Conveniently packaged, neutral copper zinc spray-dried materials to give equivalent metal content (0.6–0.8 lb of metallic copper/100 gal water) may also be used if 4 oz of casein spreader-sticker is added per 100 gal water. More concentrated formulations of some materials may be applied at low volumes. Where danger of copper injury is severe, these products may be modified to make them safer by adding 0.33 to 1 lb of hydrated lime per pound of dry copper fungicide. Not all copper compounds are approved for use in organic production; be sure to check individual products. For tank mixes, observe all directions for use on all labels, and employ the most restrictive limits and precautions. Never exceed the maximum a.i. on any label when tank mixing products that contain the same a.i. Use the restricted entry interval and preharvest interval of the product with the most restrictive label of those used in the tank mix.
     
    C. BORDEAUX# (3-4.5-100) 10–24 gal/tree See comments See comments
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Multi-site contact (M1)
      COMMENTS: For use on lemons, oranges, and grapefruit where there is no history of copper injury. Mix in 100 gal water. Not all copper compounds are approved for use in organic production; be sure to check individual products. For information on making Bordeaux mixture, see UC IPM Pest Note: Bordeaux Mixture, UC ANR Publication 7481. Be sure to follow label directions as well. For tank mixes, observe all directions for use on all labels, and employ the most restrictive limits and precautions. Never exceed the maximum a.i. on any label when tank mixing products that contain the same a.i. Use the restricted entry interval and preharvest interval of the product with the most restrictive label of those used in the tank mix.
     
    D. FOSETYL-AL
      (Aliette WDG) 5 lb/acre 12 30
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Phosphonate (33)
      COMMENTS: For use on all susceptible citrus. Apply in 500 gal/acre; spray to wet when conditions favor disease development. Do not exceed four applications of this product per year.
     
    E. POTASSIUM PHOSPHITE
      (Fungi-Phite, ProPhyt) 2 qt/acre 4 0
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Phosphonate (33)
      COMMENTS: For use on all susceptible citrus. Apply in 100 to 250 gal/acre; spray to wetness when conditions favor disease development. Do not exceed four applications of this product per year.
     
    F. OXATHIAPIPROLIN
      (Orondis, soil applied) 2–9.6 fl oz/acre 4 0
      (Orondis, foliar applied) 2.4 fl oz 4 0
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Oxy-sterol-binding protein inhibitor (49)
      COMMENTS: For use on all susceptible citrus. Apply in 100 to 400 gal/acre; spray to wetness when conditions favor disease development. Minimal re-application interval 30 days. Do not make more than two sequential soil applications before rotating to another mode of action and do not use more than 19.2 fl oz/acre per year for soil applications. Do not make more than one foliar application of this product per year. Use either soil applications or one foliar application, but not both in the same season, for disease control.
     
    G. MEFENOXAM
      (Ridomil Gold) 1–2 qt/acre 48
      (Ridomil Gold) soil drench: 1–1.5 fl oz/100 gal water 48
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Phenylamides (4)
      COMMENTS: For use on all susceptible citrus. Apply to soil beneath the tree or through irrigation (i.e., chemigation) to reduce inoculum on roots and prevent high inoculum levels that are then splashed on to fruit during rain or irrigation periods. Make applications before flushes of root growth or twice a growing season. Apply March through April followed by one or two applications at three-month intervals to coincide with root flushes; rate depends on tree size and the number of applications per year. Apply 0.5 to 1 inch water after application. As a drench, apply 5 gallons around tree base within the watering ring. As a soil surface spray, spray the soil surface beneath the tree canopy and use sufficient water to obtain coverage of the soil surface wetted by irrigation. Follow immediately with irrigation sufficient to wet the soil 1 foot deep.
     
    POSTHARVEST
    A. POTASSIUM PHOSPHITE
      (Prophyt) 4 pt/acre 4 0
      MODE-OF-ACTION GROUP NAME (NUMBER1): Phosphonate (33)
      COMMENTS: For use on all susceptible citrus. Apply aqueous dilutions to fruit alone or in combination with other postharvest fungicide treatments to prevent brown rot decay in storage. Use high-volume flooder or dip treatments for maximum coverage of fruit. Heated (125–136°F) fungicide solutions optimize performance of the potassium phosphite treatment. After potassium phosphite application, dry fruit on sponge and PVC rollers prior to fruit coating or wax applications. Do not apply potassium phosphite directly in fruit coatings or waxes.
    Restricted entry interval (REI) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (PHI) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases, the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
    # Acceptable for use on organically grown produce.
    1 Group numbers are assigned by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) according to different modes of actions. Fungicides with a different group number are suitable to alternate in a resistance management program. In California, make no more than one application of fungicides with mode-of-action group numbers 1, 4, 9, 11, or 17 before rotating to a fungicide with a different mode-of-action group number; for fungicides with other group numbers, make no more than two consecutive applications before rotating to fungicide with a different mode-of-action group number.
    Text Updated: 01/19
    Treatment Table Updated: 01/19