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Avocado limb killed by Dothiorella cankerPrune to Reduce Pest Damage and to Manage Tree Growth

Remove dead limbs and old fruit, possible sources of canker and fruit rot pathogens, at least once per tree every year, usually during fall. Periodically thin canopies to reduce disease-favoring humidity and increase mortality of certain invertebrate pests.

  • If anthracnose or fruit rots were problems in the grove in previous seasons on fruit after harvest, prune low branches to remove disease inoculum.
  • Skirt prune trees:
    • Reduce spores splashing from soil to infect fruit, especially if weather has been wet.
    • Exclude flightless invertebrates from trees by pruning in combination with barriers or other treatments.
    • Reduce access to trees by certain vertebrate pests.
  • Prune and thin to reduce protected sites and minimize canopy bridges that facilitate insect movement between trees, thereby reducing the abundance of caterpillars, greenhouse thrips, and mealybugs.
  • Do not prune or pick fruit when plants are wet.
  • Clean and disinfect cutting tools before working on a new tree, to reduce mechanical spread of pathogens and infection of wounds.

Important links

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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