Woodleaf Farm Disease Management System Table 1

This article is part of the Woodleaf Farm Organic Systems Description.

 Table 1. Disease Mangement System

System fundamentals and design strategies

Implementation details

I. System design

Optimize landscape and field design Fields are designed with aspect and airflow in mind. Row-by-row and in-row cultivar mixtures are planted: 50 varieties of peaches and 40 varieties of apples.
Plant resistant/resilient germplasm Some varieties are selected for disease resistance (Table 2).
Design for spatial/temporal rotation Woodleaf has limited rotation possibilities, as peaches make up a large proportion of the acreage. As a result, peaches are sometimes planted back to back. However, no replant disease has been observed at Woodleaf in fields that have been in peaches for 30 years (two cycles of peaches). Peach trees are usually replaced after 20 years, but some trees are as old as 25 years.

II. Soil-building for disease suppression

Optimize quantity and quality of soil organic matter (SOM) High-carbon/low-nitrogen organic residues are added regularly.
Reduce tillage Woodleaf practices no-till/reduced tillage with a perennial living mulch orchard understory.
Balance cations Carl Rosato balances soil minerals and annually adds gypsum (sulfur and calcium) and Solubor (boron) in the mineral mix spray (Table 3).
Match nitrogen supply with crop need Since the early 1990s, high-carbon organic residues have been applied. 

III. Cultural strategies

Irrigate to minimize foliar/fruit wetting Trees are irrigated with microsprinklers to prevent brown rot on peaches, fireblight on apples and pears, and apple scab by minimizing water on foliage and fruit.
Practice good sanitation At thinning, diseased fruit is dropped into the living mulch groundcover. At harvest, diseased fruit is squashed into the groundcover.  Mummies are removed in fall. 
Manage groundcover Woodleaf maintains a perennial living mulch understory, which is mowed to six to eight inches during wet/humid weather to maximize airflow in the canopy.
Prune for airflow Peaches and apples are pruned to a short, open shape. Peaches are pruned in spring and fall and apples only in spring. 

IV. Supplemental inputs

Apply materials for disease management Supplemental materials include pesticides and mineral mix foliar sprays (Table 4). Compost tea was applied in the early 1990s but was abandoned when it performed poorly against brown rot in a 1993 evaluation (Fig 1).

V. Diagnosis, monitoring, record-keeping and decision-making 

Scout crops/monitor for diseases Scouting for disease occurs weekly or bimonthly.
Keep records Harvest evalutions include disease incidence.
Use monitoring data to inform management decisions Fireblight disease management is evolving, based on field/harvest evaluation data. 

This table is part of the Woodleaf Farm Organic Systems Description.

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Published December 31, 2015

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.