Effect of Crop Pruning on Sclerotinia Blight of Peanut
J E Bailey; P D Brune
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Abstract: Sclerotinia blight of peanut, incited by Sclerotinia minor, causes serious losses when cool, moist conditions prevail in the plant canopy. The effects of altering canopy structure by pruning were investigated in this study. Disease incidence was used to calculate area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC) for field plots receiving various shoot-pruning treatments. In 1990, pruned plots and iprodione-sprayed plots did not differ in AUDPC, but pruned plots produced higher yields. Disease levels and yield of July top-pruned plants did not differ from those of August top-pruned plants. Pruning tops and sides in August reduced yields compared to pruning tops and sides in July, even though August pruning produced lower AUDPC. Without fungicide treatment, the 1991 pruned plots had less disease than nonpruned plots, although yields did not differ significantly. Pruned plots treated with fungicides for control of Sclerotinia blight had less disease than nonpruned plots treated with these fungicides, but there were no differences in yield. Pruning peanut canopies to alter microclimate or enhance fungicide penetration may reduce disease and increase yield when S. minor damage is yield limiting.