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How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

The discolored wood of a Phytophthora infection.


Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot

Pathogen: Phytophthora spp.

(Reviewed 8/06, updated 3/09)

In this Guideline:


Symptom expression depends upon how much of the root or crown tissues are affected and how quickly they are destroyed. Generally, crown rots advance rapidly and trees collapse and die soon after the first warm weather of spring. Leaves of such trees wilt, dry, and remain attached to the tree. Chronic infections, usually of the roots, cause reduction in growth and early senescence and leaf fall. These trees may be unthrifty for several years before succumbing to the disease. Phytophthora infections typically kill young trees because their root systems and crown areas are small compared to those of mature trees.


Proper water management is the key to controlling root and crown rot. Do not allow water to accumulate or stand around crowns of trees. Provide adequate drainage or leave unplanted low spots in the orchard, areas that flood frequently, and places where water penetration is poor. Plant on berms. Once Phytophthora is present in your orchard, the pathogen will remain; eradication is impossible. Avoid introducing infected plant material, infested irrigation water, or infested soil on farm equipment into uncontaminated soil. Periods of 24 hours or more of saturated soil favor Phytophthora infections. Conversely, good soil drainage and more frequent but shorter irrigations (e.g. pulse irrigation) reduce the risk of root and crown rot. Rootstocks vary in susceptibility to the different Phytophthora species; none are resistant to all pathogenic species of the fungus. Thus, the success of a rootstock may depend in part upon the species of Phytophthora present in the orchard. In general, MM 104 and MM 106 are more susceptible than are M 9 and M 26. Fungicides can help minimize losses.

Common name   R.E.I.+ P.H.I.+
(trade name) Amount to Use (hours) (days)

Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
The following materials are listed in order of usefulness in an IPM program, taking into account efficacy. When choosing a pesticide, also consider information relating to environmental quality. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read label of product being used.
2.5–5.0 lb/acre
12 14
  COMMENTS: Foliar spray, 30–60 day interval.
  (Ridomil Gold EC)
See label; rate varies with method
of application and size of tree
48 0
  COMMENTS: Applications made in early spring and fall.
+ Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment to harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
1 Group numbers are assigned by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) according to different modes of actions (for more information, see http://www.frac.info/). Fungicides with a different group number are suitable to alternate in a resistance management program. In California, make no more than one application of fungicides with mode of action Group numbers 1,4,9,11, or 17 before rotating to a fungicide with a different mode of action Group number; for fungicides with other Group numbers, make no more than two consecutive applications before rotating to fungicide with a different mode of action Group number.



[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Apple
UC ANR Publication 3432
W. D. Gubler, Plant Pathology, UC Davis
Acknowledgment for contributions to Diseases:
B. L. Teviotdale, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier

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