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Botrytis Gray Mold in Raspberries  RSS feed

 
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There's a bit of a debate on further management of our Gray Mold epidemic. We thought we had wrangled it in by removing the moldy fruit, but over the last week due to the ideal humid and rainy weather, it has taken over yet again the majority of our crop. We are tossing around two ideas at the moment, 1) cut all the flowering/fruiting heads off leaving the foliage on the canes to soak up energy to make it through the winter - we're zone 6 in Michigan 2) prune the entire canes back now in fear of the Gray Mold overwintering and spreading further.

We've been struggling to find management options other than sprays, so any help or advice would be much appreciated!
 
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Sounds awful! Just thinking... would companion planting help? I know certain herbs are anti-bacterial,  anti-fungal,  etc. Would planting those next to the berries and mowing them at strategic times help destroy the mold?
 
Amit Enventres
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Another maybe silly thing to consider is how to increase your air circulation.  Would trellising the berries get them more air flow,  if they aren't already? Could you create air movement by environmental manipulation or moving them to a new location? What about pruning them so they are less dense?

Also,  could you pick the berries sooner? They may not be as sweet and then freeze them when you have an out break? That way you get less proliferation of mold and more berries, even if they are a little lower quality.

Good luck!
 
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My favorite lecture to give is the attack of Botrytis cinerea. It's an incredible organism involved in taking out sentries, armored vehicles, bombing runs, hacking, misdirection and more. It will attack on the plant, or in storage. It has so many genes for attack if you alter the environment it typically just switches on new pathogenicity genes or even alters the environment back to suit it. This is a perfect necrotrophic pathogen that can take out your weed (budrot), wine (noble rot) and strawberries. In other words, it is Public Enemy #1.

This fungi is also a leader in resistance to fungicides. The more you attack it, the better it fights back.

Unfortunately, the coolest bio lecture in town will not save your berries. The scientists still on it are all GMO afficionados from what I can tell. Obsessed with their own rabbit holes and no idea what they're doing except trying to get $$ and patents on genes/enzymes/whatever they can it's a race to the bottom of the pile (of delusional experts who believe their reductionist nonsense will somehow fit a dynamic landscape).

The only holistic management plan I have is the above advice (aeration, pruning, clean tools, copper type stuff). Remove mummified fruits after attack removing plants is pointless the fungus spores are ubiquitous.

You need competition on site. Other fungi can be antagonistic to Botrytis. Microbes e.g. Pseudomonas isolated from a healthy tomato were antagonistic... It's an ecosystem design that is required where the microbial and plant kingdoms are both diverse. Fungi cannot make their own carbon and so their diversity is intrinsically linked to animals and plants that create fungal substrates. Botrytis cannot take over the world until we kill the competition, and believe me, we're killing all manner of fungi like we can't even see them. Then, with competition minimized, Botrytis may reign supreme. That's why fungicides are ridiculous in the face of this organism, you only encourage it. Best practise would be to use a treatment once then move on.

Compost, fungal compost. Actively aerated compost tea. Good soil tilth. Biodiversity.

Are your berry plants all clones? Easy target.

Edit. Botrytis is necrotrophic. Though it attacks living plants, it feeds on dead material. The two terms (biotroph/necrotroph) can be confusing, due to the discrepancy between what we see, and what is actually occurring. It's been a while, my Fe is oxidizing. (Am rusty).









 
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The best methods for stemming the cycle of Botrytis infections (there are at least three strains of this fungi that are known to attack plants) is very tidy house keeping in fall, removal of any infected parts of plants and disposal over incineration.
As Dean brought up, little is actually being done to find better solutions at this time. He also includes most of the known ways to try and control this disease.

Botrytis blight This is the link to the information at Cornell University.

One of the main things most folks do that helps perpetuate this disease is heavy mulching, this allows spores to over winter and there are two methods the fungus uses for reproducing itself look for;
1.) masses of silver-gray spores on the dead or dying
tissue. These spores are readily liberated, and may
appear as a dust coming off of heavily infected plant
material. Try to cover any plant parts that exhibit this and then remove and dispose of the infected parts.

2.) Some species of Botrytis form tiny black
resting structures called Sclerotia that may be evident
on dead plant tissue in late summer. Removal and disposal of these helps break the cycle.
 
Janell Traicoff
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Amit Enventres wrote:Sounds awful! Just thinking... would companion planting help? I know certain herbs are anti-bacterial,  anti-fungal,  etc. Would planting those next to the berries and mowing them at strategic times help destroy the mold?



Yes, yes, yes. I would love to incorporate that. This isn't my personal project as I'm working at an orchard. We are a five person team, so we have to come to a general consensus before moving forward. The farm transitioned to organic five years ago and just last year began applying more regenerative and permaculture ideas.

My current knowledge of anti fungal plants are:
California Bay
Burdock
Cinnamon
White Sage 
Labrador Tea
Turmeric
Curcumin
Garlic
Goldenseal
Oregano Leaf Oil
Calendula
Neem

...of course some from that list that don't apply as companion plants.

Do you have any specific recommendations or resources where I can look into them further?
 
Janell Traicoff
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Amit Enventres wrote:Another maybe silly thing to consider is how to increase your air circulation.  Would trellising the berries get them more air flow,  if they aren't already? Could you create air movement by environmental manipulation or moving them to a new location? What about pruning them so they are less dense?

Also,  could you pick the berries sooner? They may not be as sweet and then freeze them when you have an out break? That way you get less proliferation of mold and more berries, even if they are a little lower quality.

Good luck!



We do have a trellis system and have pruned/thinned throughout the season. The airflow is still such a struggle since the berries hide underneath the foliage. As for "environmental manipulation," have any ideas?

We've had an extremely humid late summer into fall and dealt with a streak of Spotted Wing Drosophila. I know both of those variables contributed.
 
Janell Traicoff
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Dean Brown wrote:My favorite lecture to give is the attack of Botrytis cinerea. It's an incredible organism involved in taking out sentries, armored vehicles, bombing runs, hacking, misdirection and more. It will attack on the plant, or in storage. It has so many genes for attack if you alter the environment it typically just switches on new pathogenicity genes or even alters the environment back to suit it. This is a perfect necrotrophic pathogen that can take out your weed (budrot), wine (noble rot) and strawberries. In other words, it is Public Enemy #1.

This fungi is also a leader in resistance to fungicides. The more you attack it, the better it fights back.

Unfortunately, the coolest bio lecture in town will not save your berries. The scientists still on it are all GMO afficionados from what I can tell. Obsessed with their own rabbit holes and no idea what they're doing except trying to get $$ and patents on genes/enzymes/whatever they can it's a race to the bottom of the pile (of delusional experts who believe their reductionist nonsense will somehow fit a dynamic landscape).

The only holistic management plan I have is the above advice (aeration, pruning, clean tools, copper type stuff). Remove mummified fruits after attack removing plants is pointless the fungus spores are ubiquitous.

You need competition on site. Other fungi can be antagonistic to Botrytis. Microbes e.g. Pseudomonas isolated from a healthy tomato were antagonistic... It's an ecosystem design that is required where the microbial and plant kingdoms are both diverse. Fungi cannot make their own carbon and so their diversity is intrinsically linked to animals and plants that create fungal substrates. Botrytis cannot take over the world until we kill the competition, and believe me, we're killing all manner of fungi like we can't even see them. Then, with competition minimized, Botrytis may reign supreme. That's why fungicides are ridiculous in the face of this organism, you only encourage it. Best practise would be to use a treatment once then move on.

Compost, fungal compost. Actively aerated compost tea. Good soil tilth. Biodiversity.

Are your berry plants all clones? Easy target.

Edit. Botrytis is necrotrophic. Though it attacks living plants, it feeds on dead material. The two terms (biotroph/necrotroph) can be confusing, due to the discrepancy between what we see, and what is actually occurring. It's been a while, my Fe is oxidizing. (Am rusty).











Thanks for the info packed response!

"Cooper type stuff" oh, please elaborate.. I'm a bit of a newbie

The orchard began and was run conventionally for many, many years before transitioning to organic. There are still some who lean to being reactive rather than preventive/proactive. When the first signs of Botrytis cinerea presented itself, one of the original approaches (to my opposing) was spraying OxiDate which is a broad spectrum activated peroxygen chemistry-hydrogen dioxide bactericide/fungicide. It didn't seem to have much effect but was sprayed on a schedule for a month or so. Do you think doing this increased the strength of the Botrytis cinerea? One of our team members is wanting to ramp up again and continue a schedule. I'd love if I could put some science behind opposition.

Do you know of any good fungi to compete with Botrytis cinerea? I was reading about Clonostachys rosea f. rosea the other day.
Pseudomonas?

Can I please pick your brain? hah
 
Janell Traicoff
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:The best methods for stemming the cycle of Botrytis infections (there are at least three strains of this fungi that are known to attack plants) is very tidy house keeping in fall, removal of any infected parts of plants and disposal over incineration.
As Dean brought up, little is actually being done to find better solutions at this time. He also includes most of the known ways to try and control this disease.

Botrytis blight This is the link to the information at Cornell University.

One of the main things most folks do that helps perpetuate this disease is heavy mulching, this allows spores to over winter and there are two methods the fungus uses for reproducing itself look for;
1.) masses of silver-gray spores on the dead or dying
tissue. These spores are readily liberated, and may
appear as a dust coming off of heavily infected plant
material. Try to cover any plant parts that exhibit this and then remove and dispose of the infected parts.

2.) Some species of Botrytis form tiny black
resting structures called Sclerotia that may be evident
on dead plant tissue in late summer. Removal and disposal of these helps break the cycle.



We're doing our best to tidy and clean, however, it has continued to bloom in cluster after cluster. We recently started putting the clippings in a bucket of water to reduce the "puff" of spores when we drop the trimmings. Covering the plant is an incredible idea that I can't believe we haven't thought of yet. We have an acre of raspberries, so it's quite the time consuming process being extra sanitary. And yes, I understand having a monocrop isn't the most genius idea, but as I've said before this was a conventional farm that's been in transition for a few years and yes, it's hard to teach old dogs new tricks.
 
Janell Traicoff
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Botrytis Gray Mold on Raspberries
IMG_7456.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_7456.JPG]
 
Janell Traicoff
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Spreading to leaves
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Janell Traicoff
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Spreading to canes
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Janell Traicoff
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This is the research I've done this far:
Botrytis Gray Mold

Botrytis, a necrotrophic pathogenic fungus, causes disease in over two hundred plant species including raspberries. Favoring rainy, humid weather makes autumn an ideal condition for Gray Mold to flourish.

Identification Guide
·       White advancing into brown discoloration
·       Fuzzy/velvety coating
·       Gray-dusty spores when shaken i.e. wind blowing, being harvest, pruned
·       Rotted fruit becomes hard and mummified

How Botrytis infects the plant
·       Conidia (spores) land on the plant surface – overripe/insect-damaged berries or injured foliage/stems are more susceptible
·       Conidia germinates into Hyphae (fungal tubes) and Fungal Branches
·       Nutrients absorbed from the fruit supports Botrytis growth, strength, and spore production
·       Botrytis produces degrading enzymes and toxins that destroy the cell membrane causing the plant material to whither then die
·       The fungus produces a harden mass of Sclerotia which serves as a food reserve for the Botrytis allowing it to stay dormant for an extended period of time
·       In raspberries, specifically, Botrytis most severely affects the inside canopy and the fruit closer to the ground

How Botrytis spreads
·       Spores are dispersed by air currents, rainfall, insects, and picker’s hands
·       Overwinters on decaying plant material and infected canes as Sclerotia or intact Mycelia germinating in spring as Conidiophores then releasing back into the air continuing the cycle

Prevention
·       Air Circulation
       o   Space between plants
       o   Wide rows
       o   Proper trellising
       o   Weed control
·       Sanitation
       o   Keep area clean from fallen leaves, dropped fruit, and sickly plant matter
·       Avoid Harming Plants
       o   “Botrytis does not invade healthy green tissue such as leaves and stems unless (a) an injured or dead area is present, or (b) it grows directly from a food base such as a fallen petal or leaf. The fungus will first colonize the food base and then attack healthy tissues.”
       o   Cuttings are particularly susceptible to infection

Management
·       All diseased fruit and plant matter should be cleaned off the canes
      o   Avoid handling healthy berries while cleaning the field
      o   Destroy infected matter – do not dispose nearby or put in compost
      o   By dropping the infected matter into a wide mouth bottle or bucket full of soapy water, you can minimize the spores from further dispersing into the air
      o   Sanitize gloves and harvesting materials regularly
·       Harvest fruit frequently
      o   Ripe fruit is more susceptible
      o   Spotted Wing Drosophila is attracted to ripe fruit creating damage which furthers the fruits chance of being infected by Botrytis
·       Monitor soil levels
      o   “Excess nitrogen has been shown to increase fruit rot when weather conditions are favorable. To avoid over-fertilization, schedule fertilizer programs according to leaf tissue nutrient analysis reports. Research has demonstrated increasing nitrogen levels beyond an optimum level does not increase yield but does increase fruit rot problems”
      o  Botrytis prefers low pH. The fungus secretes organic acids. As it acidifies its surroundings, cell wall degrading enzymes are enhanced while plant-protection enzymes are inhibited allowing the plant to deteriorate more quickly
 
Dc Brown
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My problem with the removal method is the ubiquitous nature of this fungi. If we removed plant material at the first sign of Botrytis there'd be little plant material left. "Cooper" Ah, no - copper.

You are in luck in that plant pathology is a personal favorite. You are in trouble in that plant pathology is a personal favorite.

Trichoderma fungi are antagonistic to Botrytis. They also compete for the same gaseous metabolites put off by germinating seeds so will reduce damping off for berries cultivated by seed. And you want to be doing this (diversity) rather than stocking land with clones if you are serious about beating this thing.

I use Trichoderma to trigger systemic acquired resistance in a number of plants not specifically berries. I try get it in all the compost I make these days, the issue is I've not made compost in a while as I've had mountains of mulch. The green powdery Trichoderma gets scraped off and put in with compost as I mix. Sometimes I use this fungi as an inoculant in a fish hydrolysate but that's getting rather advanced. You can make it really active almost guaranteeing a plant response by training it onto chitinous materials in the hydrolysate. (fungal walls are made of such, and chitinase triggers plant response). Start with lactobacillus and incorporate the other ingredients. I use insect exoskeletons, fungi, and crab/lobster shell. Plus a healthy portion of nasty old fish. Mmmm.

I collect Trichoderma using coffee grounds, old citrus, sometimes old onions... For citrus and onions I just make a pile on the ground under a tree. Coffee ground bags get holes punctured in them and they get put on the ground under a tree. I'm not interested in a specific strain because it is ridiculous to expect any strain to be effective across time and space because evolution. Clones for clones is the only way industry effects control, even then, the next iteration of pathogen might render industries 'cures' largely redundant.

"Schedule fertilizer according to leaf tissue nutrient analysis" - or not! These folks are ridiculous. Now, have they given you advice to deal with the fruit flies..? (KILL!) What about the damn rain that causes humidity, can you stop that perhaps...

Industry here are recently falling over themselves now telling our Government we're going to 'miss out' and 'get left behind' if we don't jump on the GE bandwagon. Because global warming, because food security, because be afraid. Food security is biodiversity, decentralisation, sustainable and regenerative. Not all scientists drink the kool aid. Don't let industries experts sell you anything.

For direct leaf protection reducing number of infection sites you could try Agsil - Potassium silicate, with some aloe and wonder soap for a sticker. This will help but is a better preventative, very popular for expensive crops aka weed but is used by farmers in the know.

I'm not really interested in combating the advice of whoever is in your ear at the other end. Farm advisers advise poison followed by more poison and occasionally some GE organism and then poison. I have no respect for them, and after years of battling their stupidity (chemists running biological systems) I still gained merit/distinctions despite opposing nearly everything they taught... enough is enough. Tired of it.




 
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