Using copper sprays to control olive diseases

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Warm humid conditions favour for fungal diseases. In Australia most disease control programs rely on copper sprays to protect the foliage and fruit from infection. Successful disease control depends on even distribution and good retention of the copper over all of the plant surfaces.

Copper sprays are protectant fungicides that must be applied evenly to the plant or fruit surface before the disease develops. Copper is not a systemic chemical and cannot be carried internally through the plant to kill the pathogen. Once the copper is applied it sticks only where it makes contact with the plant and does not spread to a large extent across the fruit on leaf surfaces.

Copper fungicides are used extensively to control fungal diseases in olives, such as Anthracnose, Cercosporiose and Peacock Spot. The use of copper fungicides against olive diseases has been studied for a long time in the Mediterranean.

Vera Sergeeva
Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower & Processor