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Compost Tea post dormant pruning?

Posted by Rachel Ashley 
Compost Tea post dormant pruning?
February 02, 2018 04:05PM
As part of our scab management program, we are applying at least 2 winter compost tea sprays. We are entering our pruning window and it occurred to me that it might be beneficial to spray compost tea post pruning to help minimize colonization of undesirable fungus's on pruning wounds. Any thoughts or experience with this type of management?

Rachel Ashley
Silvernail Farm & Orchard
Philomath, ORE
Re: Compost Tea post dormant pruning?
February 04, 2018 10:51AM
Colonization of a cut branch surface by benign organisms happens fairly quickly, Rachel. The recommendation to not seal tree wounds is all about letting the good guys claim this niche rather than providing a pathogen a sheltered nook in which to wreak havoc. Compost tea is not going to necessarily help or hinder compartmentalization dynamics . . . but then that's not really the main reason for applying microbial diversity in the winter season, is it? Further strategies to reduce disease launching pads in the dormant time in more temperate places would be a good discussion in its own right.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/04/2018 10:52AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Compost Tea post dormant pruning?
February 07, 2018 02:18AM
Thanks for the thoughtful reply Michael. Indeed, increasing microbial activity in general, as well as aiding in the breakdown of fallen leaves are our goals with winter-time compost tea applications. Although it hardly feels like winter here in the Willamette Valley. It was sunny and in the high 60's today. We are getting an ideal pruning window.
We are trying to get our fungal diseases (scab, anthracnose, and probably more....) to a tolerable level for our small commercial orchard and we are looking for any advantage to do so with the tools we are already using. Thus contemplating the timing of a compost spray. I have had a few biodynamic enthusiasts suggest trunk paint for the anthracnose and the trunk wounds that seem to be the precursors to anthracnose infections. From your comment on sealing wounds, I would assume you are not in favor of this treatment. Is that true?

Thanks for the advice,
Be well,
Rachel
Silvernail Farm & Orchard
Philomath, OR
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