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Maura Bennett Colorado Peach Farmers are losing trees to pathogen
by Maura Bennett, click here for bio

Program: Colorado Ag Today
Date: July 11, 2017

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Colorado peach growers are increasingly concerened about an historically weak pathogen that's begun to damage orchards - cutting in half the life of the trees and reducing Peach yields. Jane Stewart -Asst. Professor at the University of Colorado has been researching the pathogen known as Cytospora Luecostoma since 2015.

"It's a pathogen that effect the bark tissue and the flowem and zylum of trees and basicially if a tree is wounded then that pathogen can start an infection that causes a canker and that canker doesn't allow movements of nutrients or water to flow throughout the tree."

Colorado's 30-million dollar peach industry is at risk. Peach trees are especially susceptible to cytospora canker because of regular pruning which leaves limbs vulnerable.

"If you have infections in your orchard and you plant another young tree next to it, chances are you're going to get infections in that caused by infections you already have. It's a huge problem in Western Colordado."

Stewart says researchers are making progress on chemicals and sealants that slow the canker spread but the long term solution has to be more resiliant trees.

"I think the first thing is to figure out how to reduce infection levels and come up with best practices for growers. And then in the end, find a variety that is less susceptible to the pathogen but still gives consumers what they want from Colorado peaches."

 

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