Amit Enventres wrote:Sounds awful! Just thinking... would companion planting help? I know certain herbs are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, etc. Would planting those next to the berries and mowing them at strategic times help destroy the mold?
Amit Enventres wrote:Another maybe silly thing to consider is how to increase your air circulation. Would trellising the berries get them more air flow, if they aren't already? Could you create air movement by environmental manipulation or moving them to a new location? What about pruning them so they are less dense?
Also, could you pick the berries sooner? They may not be as sweet and then freeze them when you have an out break? That way you get less proliferation of mold and more berries, even if they are a little lower quality.
Dean Brown wrote:My favorite lecture to give is the attack of Botrytis cinerea. It's an incredible organism involved in taking out sentries, armored vehicles, bombing runs, hacking, misdirection and more. It will attack on the plant, or in storage. It has so many genes for attack if you alter the environment it typically just switches on new pathogenicity genes or even alters the environment back to suit it. This is a perfect necrotrophic pathogen that can take out your weed (budrot), wine (noble rot) and strawberries. In other words, it is Public Enemy #1.
This fungi is also a leader in resistance to fungicides. The more you attack it, the better it fights back.
Unfortunately, the coolest bio lecture in town will not save your berries. The scientists still on it are all GMO afficionados from what I can tell. Obsessed with their own rabbit holes and no idea what they're doing except trying to get $$ and patents on genes/enzymes/whatever they can it's a race to the bottom of the pile (of delusional experts who believe their reductionist nonsense will somehow fit a dynamic landscape).
The only holistic management plan I have is the above advice (aeration, pruning, clean tools, copper type stuff). Remove mummified fruits after attack removing plants is pointless the fungus spores are ubiquitous.
You need competition on site. Other fungi can be antagonistic to Botrytis. Microbes e.g. Pseudomonas isolated from a healthy tomato were antagonistic... It's an ecosystem design that is required where the microbial and plant kingdoms are both diverse. Fungi cannot make their own carbon and so their diversity is intrinsically linked to animals and plants that create fungal substrates. Botrytis cannot take over the world until we kill the competition, and believe me, we're killing all manner of fungi like we can't even see them. Then, with competition minimized, Botrytis may reign supreme. That's why fungicides are ridiculous in the face of this organism, you only encourage it. Best practise would be to use a treatment once then move on.
Compost, fungal compost. Actively aerated compost tea. Good soil tilth. Biodiversity.
Are your berry plants all clones? Easy target.
Edit. Botrytis is necrotrophic. Though it attacks living plants, it feeds on dead material. The two terms (biotroph/necrotroph) can be confusing, due to the discrepancy between what we see, and what is actually occurring. It's been a while, my Fe is oxidizing. (Am rusty).
Bryant RedHawk wrote:The best methods for stemming the cycle of Botrytis infections (there are at least three strains of this fungi that are known to attack plants) is very tidy house keeping in fall, removal of any infected parts of plants and disposal over incineration.
As Dean brought up, little is actually being done to find better solutions at this time. He also includes most of the known ways to try and control this disease.
Botrytis blight This is the link to the information at Cornell University.
One of the main things most folks do that helps perpetuate this disease is heavy mulching, this allows spores to over winter and there are two methods the fungus uses for reproducing itself look for;
1.) masses of silver-gray spores on the dead or dying
tissue. These spores are readily liberated, and may
appear as a dust coming off of heavily infected plant
material. Try to cover any plant parts that exhibit this and then remove and dispose of the infected parts.
2.) Some species of Botrytis form tiny black
resting structures called Sclerotia that may be evident
on dead plant tissue in late summer. Removal and disposal of these helps break the cycle.