Benefits of Biological Fungicides for Citrus Production

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Since many of the regions where citrus trees grow have warm, humid climates, bacterial and fungal diseases can easily run rampant. Preventative methods are the best way to control diseases in citrus, because if problems occur once new leaves, shoots and fruit are developing, it is likely too late to stop the disease during that growing season.

Growers can use a variety of methods to prevent citrus diseases, including chemical control, biological control, or integrated pest management. Depending upon current practices, including biological products as a part of an integrated pest management (IPM) program can help reduce resistance and the onset and spread of diseases in citrus crops.

Studies show that copper sprays are ideal protectant fungicides to prevent disease and should be applied prior to infection. Copper is a natural element that, when developed as a biological fungicide, protects the plant or fruit surface from infection when evenly applied. The copper sticks only to the plant surface and does not systemically move internally through a plant to kill pathogens. Thus, it is most effective on plant surfaces for diseases that require water to develop so that it can lower the pH of the surface water when applied as a spray. To protect new leaves, as they grow fast, copper sprays may need to be re-applied depending upon weather conditions such as rain or wind to ensure that the copper layer stays intact as the fruit develops. It is important to note that the new tissue needs to be sprayed as only the surfaces where Copper lands stayed protected. 

Different formulations of copper fungicides can affect plants in their ability to cover fruit surfaces effectively or can alternatively cause damage if too much is applied, so growers should carefully follow label instructions and monitor the frequency of applications to achieve the highest product efficacy.

To ensure effective disease prevention with copper sprays, apply thorough, even coverage to plant and fruit surfaces, re-apply according to label and environmental conditions, choose a product that is rain-steadfast and can retain copper, don’t over-apply, and avoid applying when weather temperatures are high, humidity is low, or the fruit is too wet.

Kocide® 2000 by Certis USA is an OMRI Listed®️ biological fungicide with a 35% metallic copper equivalent, a 0-day pre-harvest interval and a 48-hour re-entry interval. Apply the product as an aerial, ground dilute or ground concentrate spray unless specifically directed otherwise in the specific crop use directions. Apply Kocide 2000 as a protectant prior to onset of diseases, such as melanose, scab, greasy spot, alternaria brown spot, rots, canker and citrus black spot. Rates may range from 0.75-9 lbs/ac depending on the target disease up to a maximum seasonal of 36 lbs/ac, so please consult the label for specific rates and timing of applications. It also provides outstanding coverage, rainfastness, and labeled for Frost Injury Protection.

Certis USA’s range of specialized biopesticides offer many benefits. They maintain short REIs, zero days to harvest, resistance and residue management, application flexibility, and better harvest management for citrus growers.

To learn more, visit the full Certis Citrus Portfolio.