Organic Agriculture

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 305–314 | Cite as

A comparison of organic fungicides: alternatives for reducing scab on pecan

  • Clive H. BockEmail author
  • Michael W. Hotchkiss
  • David I. Shapiro-Ilan
  • Jason H. Brock
  • Timothy B. Brenneman
  • Bryan Wilkins
  • Daniel E. Wells
  • Lenny Wells
  • Russ F. Mizell


In the southeastern USA, the most widespread and damaging disease of pecan is scab, caused by Venturia effusa. Although scab can be controlled using conventional chemical methods, organic pecans that attract a premium price mandate the use of organic fungicides. Also, organic production is an environmentally sustainable method. However, where susceptible pecan cultivars are grown, there are limited options for organic management of scab. We conducted experiments to compare organic fungicides to control scab on the susceptible cv. Desirable in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The alternatives compared included Bordeaux mixture, compost tea, sodium bicarbonate, Bacillus subtilis, sulfur, cuprous oxide, and extract of the Giant Knotweed (Reynoutria sachalinensis). Rainfall and scab severity differed between seasons. There was consistently low severity on foliage, with little or no difference between treatments. Similarly at the time of the first fruit assessment, the severity was low and the differences in severity small and inconsistent between seasons and treatments. However, by the time of the second fruit assessment, severity of scab had increased and consistent differences among treatments existed (except in the drought year of 2011, when scab severities were very low and similar to the control). In all other years, the control treatment had significantly more severe scab compared to some (2012 and 2014) or all other treatments (2015 and 2016). Extract of the Giant Knotweed as a fungicide was included in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016, and fruit on those trees had less severe scab in all years compared to that on fruit of the control trees. In three seasons (2012, 2015, and 2016), applications of Bordeaux mixture resulted in a reduction in scab severity. Compost tea, Sodium bicarbonate, B. subtilis, sulfur, and cuprous oxide significantly reduced scab compared to the control in one or two seasons, but were not consistent among seasons, and were never more efficacious compared to the extract of the Giant Knotweed. Extract of the Giant Knotweed and Bordeaux mixture appear to offer the greatest potential as organic approaches for managing scab in pecan. However, wherever possible, planting of scab resistant cultivars should be considered as a first line of defense.


Integrated pest management Conventional fungicides Scab control Organic production 



We appreciate the excellent technical support of Wanda Evans, Shirley Anderson, and temporary hire Susan Burrell, and assistance from summer student hires Jason Shipp, Kaylee Carlson, Andrew Hudgens, Frank Wilson, and Sarah Morrill.

Funding information

CHB and MWW are supported by the USDA-ARS National Programs through CRIS project 6042-21220-012-00 and DS by CRIS project 6042-22000-023-00-D. USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture award #2013-51106-21234 (Organic Transitions Program) was received in support of this research. The authors would also like to thank the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for funding a portion of the research.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clive H. Bock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael W. Hotchkiss
    • 1
  • David I. Shapiro-Ilan
    • 1
  • Jason H. Brock
    • 2
  • Timothy B. Brenneman
    • 2
  • Bryan Wilkins
    • 3
  • Daniel E. Wells
    • 4
  • Lenny Wells
    • 5
  • Russ F. Mizell
    • 6
  1. 1.USDA-ARS- Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research LaboratoryByronUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant PathologyUniversity of GeorgiaTiftonUSA
  3. 3.Department of HorticultureAuburn University, Gulf Coast Research and Extension CenterFairhopeUSA
  4. 4.Department of HorticultureAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  5. 5.Department of HorticultureUniversity of GeorgiaTiftonUSA
  6. 6.Department of Entomology and NematologyUniversity of Florida/IFAS North Florida Research and Education CenterQuincyUSA

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