Powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca mors-uvae) severely infects young shoots, stems and fruits of gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa). Environmental friendly and biological control measures are being sought throughout the world. Especially in organic gooseberry growing effective control measures are needed, because powdery mildew infections may result in a total loss of the crop. In organic currant growing the number of adequate control methods is very limited. Sulphur as a fungicide against powdery mildew in e.g. gooseberry or table grape growing is not recommendable due to possible bleaching of berries and scorching of tender shoots. Various bicarbonate salts are suggested as a good option to control powdery mildew. In a field trial the effect of potassium bicarbonate (Armicarb) on the on the control of powdery mildew of gooseberry was evaluated. Four treatments; i.e. two preventive strategies and two curative strategies, were applied. PLants were sprayed until runoff. The percent of infected fruits and disease severity were assessed. In the unsprayed control plots very high disease incidences were observed; on average more than 90% of the berries were infected with powdery mildew. The weekly (preventive) spray applications with potassium carbonate reduced the disease incidences on fruits significantly. On average approximately 10% of the fruits were affected by powdery mildew. However, the number of spray applications was high. In conclusion, our results indicate that applications of potassium bicarbonate (as Armicarb) are effective in reducing the incidence and severity of American powdery mildew in gooseberry. Early spray applications are necessary to protect berries against powdery mildew infections. Future research will focus on reducing the number of applications, e.g. warning models based on powdery mildew of rose (Sphaerotheca pannosa).
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