Brown Rot Basics

Ernie NeffDiseases

Megan Dewdney

Plant pathologist Megan Dewdney with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences discussed the basics of brown rot and its control at a recent disease seminar in Immokalee. Approximately 60 growers and others attended the seminar held at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.

Brown rot is especially prevalent in early-season citrus varieties. “It’s particularly problematic in things like Hamlins, but (also in) any of the early fruit that color break at around the same time as the summer rainfalls are occurring in late July/early August,” Dewdney said.

“Raising the tree skirts is a relatively simple cultural control whereby you increase the distance from the ground to the bottom of the tree,” Dewdney said. That practice allows for less rain splash “from the soil where the organism lives into the tree,” she explained. She said raising tree skirts also allows heribiciding under the tree “without actually knocking fruit off and increasing your inoculum problem on the ground.” Dewdney discussed fungicidal products for brown rot, and their timing.

“Just keep your eyes open for it,” Dewdney suggested. “It can occur with any variety of citrus” if rains occur at the wrong time.

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About the Author

Ernie Neff

Senior Correspondent at Large