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    Rose black spot disease

    The cause of this well known and widespread disease of the roses is the fungus Diplocarpon rosae (Marssonina rosae). It is the most common and serious disease of rose. The fungus infects the leaves in the spring as it is favored by the spring dew, rain and moisture on the leaf surface. By contrast the high temperatures of June, July and August stop the growth of the fungus. Small brown-black rounded spots appear on the top surface of the leaves which expand gradually.

    Affected leaves may turn yellow and fall eventually, a phenomenon which starts from the old leaves of the plant base. In some cases, the spots remain small and the leaves do not fall. Another symptom may be the appearance of small purple-black spots on tender shoots. Severely affected plants may lose most of their foliage and remain stunted and vulnerable to other adverse conditions.

    Common control measures:

    1. Remove and destroy infected leaves and shoots. Also, remove all infected fallen foliage
    2. Keep foliage dry therefore do not water with sprinkler
    3. Use of fungicides: chlorothalonil, copper fungicides, difenoconazole, mancozeb, penconazole, potassium phosphonate, prochloraz, sulphur, thiophanate methyl, ziram.

    Bitter Pit in an apple storing facility

    Bitter Pit on Granny Smith apples. Bitter Pit is a physiological disorder of apples which most of the times appears post-harvest, during apple storage in cool rooms. Calcium deficiency and calcium/potassium imbalance are the main causes of this condition.

    The problem can get worse in cases of excessive Nitrogen or Potassium fertilization or if Boron is in short supply. Also excessive pruning and thinning lead to big-sized fruits which are more prone to the Bitter Pit condition.

    Visit of AgroCure to a pear farm in Imathia, N. Greece

    The insect which is shown in the photographs is “Cleonos” as called by farmers. This small beetle of the family Curculionidae seems to belong to the species Polydrusus sericeus (or P. formosus).

    Adults of P. sericeus cause extensive damage to buds, tender young leaves, flowers and small fruits of many fruit trees such as apples, pears, cherries, peaches and nectarines. The length of the adults can reach 6-7mm while their color is metallic bright green due to the emerald scales which cover their bodies. Under the scales the body color is dark brown and blackish.

    Adults are active from April to August. They oviposit on bark or leaves of their hosts. Their larvae, 7mm in length, are root feeders.

    Visit to Crocus sativus fields in Kozani, N. Greece

    Visit to Crocus sativus fields in Kozani, N. Greece.

    For those who are not familiar with the biological cycle of crocus (Crocus sativus – Iridaceae), after the collection of flowers and stamens from mid to late October, plants continue their vegetative development, produce new bulbs and enter dormancy in late spring when the vegetation above ground dries.

    A new biological cycle of the plant starts at the beginning of autumn: bulbs re-germinate and new flowers and vegetation appear. The cultivation remains in the field about six years and then crop rotation usually with cereals follows for many years for soil rejuvenation and nutrient replenishment.

    In a recent visit to the region of Kozani, after complaints from farmers and on the spot observation in many fields, it was found that saffron farming suffers from a “degeneration” which becomes intense from the 2nd-3rd year of cultivation. In some fields there are “bald” areas where the plants have been destroyed while in many other fields the vegetation is stunted and the foliage has a bright red-yellow discoloration.

    Many soil fungi have been reported in the relevant literature which can impact saffron cultivation. One of these pathogens which is most likely responsible for the gradual degeneration and elimination of crocus plants is the fungus Rhizoctonia crocorum which has been identified in the past and was incriminated as the cause for loss of plants in the region of Kozani. Since saffron will go to dormancy soon, Agrocure will follow the phenomenon closely from the next growing season

    Walnut orchard with many ulcers on the trunks of trees

    Walnut orchard with many ulcers on the trunks of trees at various distances from the ground. It is assumed that these ulcers were caused by infestation of the fungus Fusarium sp. after frost which caused raptures on the bark of young tree trunks. Plant’s effort to react by creating healing tissue around the wounds is evident. The exact cause needs further investigation and diagnosis during the vegetative period.

    Visit to a Paulownia field in Kozani, N. Greece

    Visit to a Paulownia field in Kozani, N. Greece

    Paulownia (Paulownia spp.) is a tree of the Paulowniaceae family, originating in China and neighboring countries. About 17 species, with slightly different characteristics, are known with this name. However, they are all deciduous, fast-growing and tall trees reaching a height of 20 meters while during their first year, in favorable environmental conditions, they can reach a height of 4-5 meters.

    In winter, Paulownia can withstand temperatures as low as -20 °C. It may thrive at high altitudes (up to 2000 meters) but it is advisable to plant it up to 1000 meters. Although it is not particularly demanding in terms of soil type, it prefers soil with good drainage and a pH from 6 to 7.

    Paulownias are used for ornamental purposes in parks or gardens for their beautiful flowers, great height, huge leaves, good shading and special crown that stands out from that of other trees. The roots of Paulownias grow very deep in the soil, up to 15-18 meters, and therefore have the ability to hold it in slopes which are prone to erosion, while at the same time they have the ability to “clean” the soil from heavy metals.

    Some types of Paulownia are suitable for wood production with special and high-quality characteristics for specific applications while other species are suitable for biomass production for combustion (firewood or pellets). After tree felling or even after fire the trees can be regenerated by the existing root system which remains alive and develops new vegetation.

    Zion®: Ionic Zinc

    The role of zinc in plants

    • Zinc plays an important role in regulation of plant growth, enzyme activation, gene expression, activity of plant hormones, protein synthesis, chlorophyll synthesis and photosynthesis, carbohydrate metabolism, plant fertility, seed and fruit production and defense against diseases
    • It is also necessary in plants for the production of growth hormones and the elongation of internodes.
    • It is a structural component of chemical transmitters and metalloenzymes which regulate plant metabolism and the synthesis of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids
    • Finally, it is important in the structural and functional integrity of cell membranes
    • A possible zinc deficiency can slow down or inhibit all processes above and eventually weaken health and reduce productivity of plants
    • Highly demanding crops for zinc are maize, alfalfa, citrus, alfalfa, stone fruits, vine, olive, kiwi and other
    • Zinc deficiency is very common in modern crops. It usually occurs in alkaline and calcareous soils with high PH, in calcareous soils with medium or high content in organic matter, in sandy soils as well as in soils produced from rock poor in zinc
    • Zink deficiency usually manifests with pale green, yellow or white discoloration between leaf nerves which starts from new and middle leaves, with plant dwarfism and deformation of leaves and fruits
    • However, in many cases of marginal zinc deficiency, the quality and quantity of production may be reduced without apparent symptoms. For example, in cereals marginal deficiency causes small zinc concentration in grains and reduced nutritional value.
    • Almost half of the world’s soils suffer from zinc deficiency, while this nutrient has been identified as the most critical and deficient for plants, causing serious production losses. As a result, the interest for zinc fertilization has increased greatly in the last decade

    What is Zion?

    • Zion is a liquid fertilizer used against zinc deficiency, with strong acid reaction, which contains concentrated zinc sulphate mono-hydrate (ZnSO4-H2O) in an ionic form with high bioavailability and efficacy
    • Zion content in Zinc is 9.4% w/v, or 9.4 grams of elemental zinc in 100 ml Zion
    • Zion can be applied to crops throughout the vegetative period at very small doses: 1) foliarly at 50-100ml/100L of water and 2) through drip irrigation systems at 1-2L / ha
    • Application doses of Zion vary depending on the crop, size and age of plants, application equipment and crop training system
    • Zion is fully water soluble without any mixing issues in spray or in liquid fertilizer tanks. It reduces the pH of the spray solution thus facilitating the mixing of other active substances that “prefer” acidic pH conditions
    • It is compatible with most agro-chemical products. It is not compatible with unstable products in mixtures such as fosetyl-Al and chlorpyrifos