Curative and preventive efficacy and phytotoxicity of lime sulphur spray schedules, based on a warning system, were evaluated in the Netherlands during two growing seasons under field conditions. In most cases, lime sulphur treatments applied either curatively or preventively resulted in significantly lower scab damage on both the leaves and fruits compared to wettable sulphur treatments. However, all lime sulphur treatments showed high phytotoxicity values, reduced leaf size and had a tendency to a reduced yield quality compared to all other treatments. For curative schedules of lime sulphur on scab control, phytotoxicity and yield did not differ significantly from preventive schedules of lime sulphur. However, the use of a warning system combined with curative schedules of lime sulphur saved one and two lime sulphur sprays in 2000 and 2001, respectively, compared to the preventive treatments of lime sulphur. Our results demonstrated that a curative spray programme with lime sulphur at 0.75-2%, applied 35-45 h after predicted infection periods, can provide effective primary apple scab control, but no benefit in either yield or fruit quality was reached under organic growing conditions. Moreover, research herein clearly showed that organic growers are forced to find a balance between good efficacy and phytotoxic effects of lime sulphur.
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