A review of the alternative control strategies for disease in organic apple and pear production

Apple and pear are important tree fruit commodities globally. In 2018, over 86.14 million tonnes of apples and 23.73 million tonnes of pears were produced (FAOSTAT 2020). In the UK and mainland Europe, there is currently ongoing consumer and environmental concern regarding over-reliance on chemical pest and disease control. This has resulted in increased chemical withdrawals and legal use restrictions continuing each year.

This review aimed to provide novel and alternative control methods that will aid both organic and conventional growers. It will also identify areas for further research.

The key diseases of organic UK apple and pear production and their alternative controls that will be covered in this review include:

  • Apple scab
  • European canker
  • Powdery mildew
  • Apple replant disease (ARD)
  • Brown rot/blossom wilt.

Invasive pathogens not yet present in the UK, and the effects of climate change on apple and pear diseases are also discussed.

This information was last updated in 2021.