green plant

Biopesticides (Seem to) Perform Poorly Against Black Spot on Kale

Jim Rogers Disease, Leafy Vegetables, South Carolina

From Clemson Plant Pathologist Tony Keinath in The South Carolina Grower .

As part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Transitions Program grant, we tested 10 biopesticides on organic kale ‘Oldenbor’ to determine if any product controlled Alternaria leaf spot, a.k.a. black spot on kale.

black spot on kale
Photo by Pixabay on

None look promising. No biopesticides reduced black spot on kale compared to the non-treated control-based on repeated greenhouse trials and one field trial in spring 2022. This difference is the minimum of what I look for before recommending a biopesticide to manage disease.

A few other differences among treatments in the field trial might be important to note. The weight of healthy cropped leaves was greater with ProPhyt and Sil-Matrix, a silicon product consisting of 29% potassium silicate, than with Stargus, Double Nickel and Milstop. In addition, ProPhyt and Sil-Matrix might slow or restrict spread of Alternaria and keep it off the middle-aged leaves. (Note that young leaves in the upper one-third of the plant rarely have black spot.) Since ProPhyt is a popular alternative fungicide used to manage downy mildew on collard, applications in the fall might also help manage Alternaria. We will be following up on these results with more field trials starting this fall.

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