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Lime and Sulfur Spray

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by Microbe, Jul 28, 2006.

  1. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    A buddy of mine told me about Lime and Sulfur for fungus on tree's and shrubs. I have a peach tree that is damaged by leaf spot. The fruits are twisted and the leaves have many black spots all over them. The customer wants to save these tree's.
    What is the best procedure to use when applying an organic fungicide such as Lime and Sulfur? Should it be applied with an organic oil such as Natur'l Oil or just alone? How many times should you apply a product like this to be most affective?

    Also, I have seen a lot of apple tree's and other leafy bush's like Amelanchia Grandafloria "spelling," having like a blister. Looks red on one side and then almost like a pimple looking blister on the other side. These blister's are usually yellow. In general if the plant was planted correctly what could be done to help these plants using natural products? I have recently ordered from Groworganic.com, Neem soap, Hexan, Natur'l Oil, Cold pressed Kelp, Fossilized sea dust, Lime and Sulfur, and Hemp gloves :)~ Any techniques that can be shared to optimize the use of these products would help.
     
  2. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    Lime sulfur is typically used in the dormant season and at early leafing for fungus prevention. The peach may have peach leaf curl fungus or brown rot or coryneum blight, and spraying lime/sulfur now would be ill advised. Dormant and delayed dormant applications of lime sulfur should do the job on peach leaf curl (if you can stand the smell...). Prevention is the key with fungus problems.
    The blisters may be blister mites and once you see them there is nothing that can be done to repair the damage. I'd get a positive ID first and then search for recs. from Universities for control. Although this pest is a real tough one to control, the damage is usually mostly asthetic. Happy hunting!
    Neal
     
  3. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    What else can I use? You think an application of compost tea or kelp would help at this time of year? If lime/sulfur is a preventative then what could I offer in terms of service to help these tree's? I'm gona buy a digital camera... Also, on pear trees, if the fruits are twisted and are covered in black spots along with the leaves, what do you think it could be? I"ve found that during my career in this industry that I find the same types of fungus or disease. I keep seeing the same damage on these tree's all over the place. I"m taking a course at the University of Cornell this september but its so far away. THanks Neal!
     
  4. Microbe

    Microbe LawnSite Member
    Posts: 172

    What do you mean by dormant and delayed dormant spraying? When spraying natural control's for disease how should you spray, or what else can you add to you mixture for better results? I read that adding a product that was mostly sesame oil with neem soap helps the product work better and prevents evaporation. When spraying lime/sulfur should you apply alone or with another product to be more effective?

    Neal, what would you use as a program for lets say an apple tree? If you don't mind me asking. I know natural control works if done correctly, it just seems that nobody is educated enough to really know how to work with mother nature using mother nature.
     
  5. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    You can use fish, seaweed and compost tea before fungal diseases hit. Spray or inject in the dormant period and do a few more "stress reducers" throughout the season.
     
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I am not up to snuff on fungal diseases, treatments or cures. But if you believe in feeding the soil and letting the soil feed the plants, this might help you prevent the diseases from occuring in the first place. Test the soil and check for micro nutrients as well as NPK. Copper, Boron, Melybdium, cholrine, zinc, all play a roll in preventing plant diseases. It doesnt take very much of either of these nutrients to make a big difference. You soils could be low in these micro nutrients or these nutrients could simply be bound up by excesses of the major nutrients. Folar sprays such as copper sulfate, zinc sulfate, etc are often used to try an remedy various fungal disease. They work because the materials are absorbed by the plants. They also seldom provide a long term cure. When these same materials are contained in the soil, the effect is the disease doesnt occur in the first place. The diseases will always be there and you will never completely eradicate them, but proper soil fertility can prevent them from becoming a problem.
     
  7. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    Microbe
    It's great to hear you are taking the college course, I'm sure you will find it helpful. As far as the pear problem, I would venture a guess that it might be pear scab, especially if you had a rainy spring. Scab and other canopy fungus problems are transported upwards when the spores pop open in the spring and then can travel with the wind. If they land on wet leaves and the temp. is right infection can begin. I believe it takes about 9 hours of wetness before infection takes place, so long wet spells can mean trouble. Raking up leaves in the fall and disposing of them off site can delay infection for several days the following spring, giving a chance for preventive treatments to be made.

    I am a firm believer in proper providing proper nutrition and biological support to the roots, but I do not believe fertilizing alone will control wind and rain spread canopy diseases. Of course healthy trees will recover from damage faster than nutrient poor or rot rotted trees, that goes without saying. Preventive cover sprays, timed right, are the best approach in my opinion. We have seen some pretty severe damage on pear from other fungal diseases and blister mites in the Northwest this spring, so pear scab is not the only possibility.

    As far as a spray program goes, I would check with your local Dept. of Ag. crop specialists to see what their recommendation for control using organic compounds after you get a positive ID. I wouldn't guess if I were you, especially if you are going to recommend a program of treatments. There are only a few effective organic or naturally occuring fungicides available for canopy diseases. One of the most promising newer ones are the many phosphites liquids available now. We have tested a product called Agri-fos and found it moderately effective on scab. It is applied as a cover spray or trunk spray with a penatrating oil in the early spring. It is not as effective as synthetic fungicides, but does qualify as organic. It brings a very nice response in vigor and color to the plant leaves and for that reason alone has value. The most positive results relative to fungus were on holly leaf and twig problems applied as a preventive trunk application in the spring. Contact Larry Durant, Target Specalties in Oregon at 503-272-2732 for more info.

    I'm sure you are aware that all pesticides whether they are organic or synthetic are legally regulated on the State level. As far as I know there are no compost teas registered in Washington State for disease prevention sprays. We have no experience with teas or seaweed foliar treatments for disease control.

    Neal
     
  8. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Using the fish, seaweed, and compost tea builds up the trees immunity to disease. It might not be registered in your state, but it's been used for about 10 years here in PA and it works.

    A lot of research and trial and error are behind the findings. It's been said before but with a lot of the disagreements in the organic industry you have to get out and apply the products and take a look at your results. Much like the endo mych. debate, someone's going to have to get out there and test the methods and come up with their own conclusions.
     
  9. Neal Wolbert

    Neal Wolbert LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 407

    The last two sentences are pretty confusing. If adequate macro and micro elements present in the soil will prevent disease, or as you say, "the disease doesn't occur in the first place", why do you then say "you will never eradicate them"? If we take your first statement as true can the second be true? If there is any relationship to canopy diseases and soil fertility, we should see never see disease in healthy, well fertilized plants. We have not found that to be true even though we apply macro and fulvic acid based micro nutrients, mycorrhizae and microbes by soil injection to many of the trees that struggle with fungus problems.

    I believe it is more an issue of susceptible varieties and weather conditions leading to fungal infection, not soil fertility. Like I said in an earlier post, plants blessed with adequate fertility and vigor are likely to recover from pest damage more quickly, but they are not immmune to canopy fungal problems if conditions are conducive to infection. Without timely fungicide treatments by spray or soil injection with systemic phosphites, etc., susceptible plants suffer the consequences.
    Neal
     
  10. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I am going to try to explain the best way I can. The plant diseases are always present in the soil, unless you completely sterilize the soil, you are never going to get rid of them, and even then, the fungi and bacteria are carried on the wind, the neighbors pets, your pets, ect, etc. So you really never can get rid of them. Now my beliefs are that when spraying a fungicide or pesticide to cure a problem, you are really only treating the symptoms and not really curing anything. You might suppress the problems but you never really make the problem go away.

    A properly balanced fertile soil will contain all the necessary minerals, gases and nutrients to support the biology of the soil. As long as all the microbes have the correct amount of food that they like, no single microbe will out compete the rest of the microbes in the soil, therefore, that particular microbe wont ever become a problem. Its only when conditions are more favorable to a certain type of microbe, be it a disease or beneficial, that you start having disease or nutrition problems with your plants.

    Supposed you treated a fungal disease with copper sulfate to cure a certain disease. That copper sulfate is absorbed into the plants where the copper and sulfur are used to suppress the fungal disease you wish to treat. The disease goes away but, next year the disease returns. Now if you apply the same material to the soil, it is taken up by the roots of the plant and a natural disease suppression occurs and the fungus doesn't return next year. Now whats the difference, why does a soil applied material last longer than a folar applied one. While the folar applied material might work faster than the soil applied one, it also is lost thru the respiration process of the tree. It ends up in the atmosphere so very little, if any, is left in the tree to combat the next infection of the disease it was meant to cure. The soil treatment might take longer to work, but the materials stay inside the plant after it is absorbed by the roots. The material is returned to the soil at leaf drop and recycled as it is broken down by the microbes and made available to be re-used by the plants. Of course, if you are not mulching the leaves but removing them instead, you lose the benefit of the recyclable material and disease fighting nutrients. Everytime you do a leaf cleanup that involves removing the leafs from the property, you are also removing lots of necessary plant nutrients which have to be replaced.

    If copper sulfate ,or whatever material, is the limiting factor in your soil and you need to apply that material to your plants for disease suppression now, by all means fight the disease with the folar application, but follow it up with a soil application of the proper nutrients to help prevent the disease from re-occuring next year.
     

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