Insect IPM in Apples: Kaolin Clay


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Insect IPM in Apples: Kaolin Clay

  1. 1. 800-346-9140 Insect IPM in Apples Appropr at Technol Tr i e Reduced-Risk Pest Control ogy ansf f Rur Ar er or al eas Kaolin Clay FactsheetBiopesticides and Risk Reduction What is kaolin and how does it work?This factsheet is part of a series highlighting Surround WP presents a unique form of pestthe latest breakthroughs in biorational pest control: a non-toxic particle film that places acontrol. There is a growing commitment barrier between the pest and its host plant. Theamong producers to use the least toxic meth- active ingredient is kaolin clay, an edible min-ods for protecting crops. Increased awareness eral long used as an anti-caking agent in pro-of the many benefits of advanced integrated cessed foods, and in such products as tooth-pest management (IPM) are at the heart of this paste and Kaopectate. There appears to be nochange. Meanwhile, FQPA (Food Quality mammalian toxicity or any danger to the environment posed by the use of kaolin in pest Effects of SurroundWP™ in control. trial applications on apples: ! Control: leafrollers, leafhoppers. ! Suppression: mites, codling moth, plum curculio, apple sucker, stink bugs, apple maggot, thrips. ! Horticultural Benefits: reduced heat stress and fruit drop, reduced sunburn, improved color in certain cultivars. The plum curculio, Contrachelus nenuphar.Protection Act) and other regulations have (Magnified) Adult above at left; larva belowgiven short-term urgency to the quest for at left; pupa at right, ventral view.reduced-risk alternatives to the most toxicchemicals, including the organophosphates. The spray was developed by Drs. MichaelImportant additions have been made in recent Glenn and Gary Puterka of the USDA/ARS atyears to the arsenal of reduced-risk pest man- Kearneysville, WV, in cooperation with theagement tools. This series of factsheets is in- Engelhard Corporation , which began market-tended to put the latest information on these ing the product in 1999 on a limited tools in a convenient, farmer-friendly Surround was available in 2000 in much of theformat. Special effort has been made to include U.S., and it was listed by The Organic Materi-efficacy information, discussion of relative costs, als Review Institute for use in organic produc-contact and supplier information, and interviews tion on March 7, 2000.with farmers who have used these new tools incommercial production. Surround is sprayed on as a liquid, which evaporates, leaving a protective powdery filmThis factsheet looks at the use of kaolin (the on the surfaces of leaves, stems, and fruit.main ingredient in SurroundWP™) in apple Conventional spray equipment can be used,IPM. While kaolin is registered for many crops, and full coverage is important. The film worksit seems especially promising for apple growers. to deter insects in several ways. Tiny particles Reduced-Risk Pest Control Factsheet / Insect IPM in Apples / Kaolin Clay / Page 1
  2. 2. of the clay attach to the insectswhen they contact the tree, Hor ticultural Benefits Horticulturalagitating and repelling them. Although at first glance the film mayEven if particles don’t attach to appear to block light, Surroundtheir bodies, the insects find the actually increases net photosynthesis,coated plant or fruit unsuitable and can provide secondary benefits tofor feeding and egg-laying. In the trees’ overall health, according toaddition, the highly reflective Dr. Glenn. Surround keeps the treewhite coating makes the tree less cool so that photosynthesis canrecognizable as a host. continue longer into the afternoon on hot days, after untreated trees haveThe standard Surround spray already shut down because of heatprogram for plum curculio and stress. In a two-year study, ‘Empire’,first-generation codling moth The plum curculio: when sprayed during the first six tostarts at first petal fall and contin- Adult female on plum, eight weeks after petal fall, hadues for 6 to 8 weekly sprays or showing the circular increased yields and increased reduntil the infestation is over. feeding punctures and color. Growers have reported similarDiscontinuing sprays at this the crescent-shaped results with ‘Stayman’ and ‘Gala’. Anpoint will leave little or no resi- egg-laying punctures MSU study reported increased return (shown larger than bloom where Surround had been useddue at harvest because of rain natural size.) the previous season. Growers in hotand wind attrition. If a full-season program is used to suppress later- areas benefit from a marked reduction in sun-season threats such as apple maggot, growers burn damage, often 50% or greater.will need to use a scrubber/washer to removeany dust remaining on the fruit for fresh mar-ket sales. Although this residue is not consid- Approach A Systems Appr oachered harmful, it might be considered unsightly Surround will be most effective when usedby consumers. However, the dust residue is within a well-managed agro-ecological systemnot a problem for processing fruit. combining the most appropriate cultural and chemical methods for the specific orchard situation, pest complex, and local climate. SuchTrial applications of the spray showed that a system will integrate soil building, habitat forwhere plum curculio damage was 20–30% in beneficial organisms, and well-tuned nutrientunsprayed checks, the treatments receiving the and water management. Soil building andparticle film had only .5–1% damage. Dr. nutrient/water management are two sides ofPuterka is careful to say that his trials indicate the same coin and could be considered preven-“suppression” of PC damage rather than com- tative pest management. A healthy soil high inplete control. For the organic grower looking to organic matter will have better water andachieve an economic level of control, the distinc- nutrient holding capacity. Plants receiving tootion is probably not relevant. What the re- much or too little of either water or nutrients,searcher terms “suppression” in these USDA particularly nitrogen, are more attractive and more susceptible to damage by insects andtrials is very close to control, far closer than any diseases. Good water management, throughother organically suitable option. For the non- water-stress monitoring, conserves valuableorganic grower, kaolin alone will not achieve (and expensive) soil nutrients, reduces contami-quite as high a level of control as is ensured by nated runoff, and conserves water. Providingthe organophosphates. However, Surround is habitat for beneficial organisms is like hiringcomparable to the OPs in that it’s a broad- millions of helpers whose sole aim in life is tospectrum tool effective against most of the eat pests. Nitrogen-fixing cover crops can domajor pests of apple. As growers gain experi- double duty as habitat for beneficial organismsence in timing applications of this new tool, if managed correctly.efficacy data will very likely improve. Reduced-Risk Pest Control Factsheet / Insect IPM in Apples / Kaolin Clay / Page 2
  3. 3. Northeastern U.S. Grower Report:Northeaster theastern Grower Report: Southeaster n U.S. Gr ower Report: Southeastern Grower Report:Eric Rice, Middletown, Maryland Guy Ames, Fayetteville, ArkansasOne of the first orchardists to use “I’ve used kaolin clay for twothe kaolin spray, Eric Rice is confi- seasons now. Last year I was slowdent the product will help him fare in getting the first sprays on, andbetter in his packout next year. late May through early June wasRice, whose farm is certified or- an exceedingly wet period duringganic, hopes to boost the percent- which I had competing interests. Codling Mothage of select grade fruit from 50% to In short, I can’t claim to have given70% of his apple crop. He expresses optimism Surround a valid test in 1999.about Surround’s effectiveness against insects “However, in 2000 I’ve been more attentive tolike the plum curculio, codling moth, leaf keeping Surround on the trees in the early partrollers, mites and aphids. “It doesn’t bother of the season. Compared to last year I appearbeneficials,” he says, adding that the ladybugs to be getting good to excellent control of tar-and other predators continued to thrive in the nished plant bugs and stink bugs, two of therich ground cover of clover and grass. pests that I was targeting with Surround. Trials at the Rice or- chard have shown over “Other observations: It did not wash off in 90% control of the “big rain as readily as I had feared; didn’t seems ones”— codling moth, to clog up or corrode any sprayer parts; I plum curculio, and like being able to see my spray coverage; apple maggot. While too early to see if it has helped to control Surround has also had a oriental fruit moth as I positive effect on fungal hope it will.” Ames adds diseases like sooty that Surround may prove Apple Maggot blotch, fly speck, and key to making organic fire blight, Rice cautions apple production eco-that it is not a panacea. It has had no effect on nomically viable in theapple scab, a disease that often poses a bigger Eastern U.S. by providingproblem to growers than insect pests (initial the long-sought organicresearch with kaolin focused on disease sup- control for plum curculio.pression, but the results were inconsistent.) Another Arkansas grower Oriental Fruit MothRice says that Surround is far more useful than reports that “it’s a realany other organic options available on the challenge to keep the treesmarket. The only disadvantage he cites is the covered.” This is his first season using Sur-necessity of washing the clay off the fruit after round. One technical limitation he has encoun-harvest. Referring to the uniformly white tered is with his sprayer: it has been impossibleappearance of the trees after spraying, Rice to achieve full coverage of the tops of the treessays, “It looks like Christmas. People who using his present equipment. Full coverage isdrive by stop to inquire if something is wrong.” critical to achieiving good pest control. Economics It seems likely that kaolin clay, when used in a well-managed IPM program, will be an appropriate and effective reduced-risk replacement for synthetic insect pesticides. To be viable in commercial production however, it must be cost-effective as well. At this time, Surround seems to be roughly comparable in relative cost to the commonly used OP insecticides, while providing comparable broad- spectrum coverage. Of course, there are variables that make this a tentative statement: relative pest pressure and rainfall, for example, influence how many sprays of Surround must be made in a season. Over the next few years we will gather data on the cost of using kaolin and report our findings. Reduced-Risk Pest Control Factsheet / Insect IPM in Apples / Kaolin Clay / Page 3
  4. 4. CompatibilitySurround is generally not affected by mostother insecticides, miticides, and fungicides.However, the user should test tank-mixesbefore use. When mixing with other products,make up a small batch and observe slurry andfilm characteristics. Curdling, precipitation,lack of film formation, or changes in viscosityare signs of incompatibility. Do not tank-mixwith sulfur or Bordeaux mixture fungicides.Note: “Raw” kaolin clay is not the SurroundWP. We have heard of one growerwho bought a traincar load of “generic” kaolinclay, and killed most of his apple trees! Sur-round is, at this point in time, the only kaolin Further Resourcesproduct suitable and registered for horticulturaluse. The kaolin in Surround is processed to a SurroundWP manufacturer:very fine particulate size, and combined with a Engelhard Corporationsticker-spreader. Other forms of kaolin clay are 101 Wood Avenue, P.O. Box 770phytotoxic and should be used under no cir- Iselin, NJ 08830-0770cumstances. 877-240-0421 (toll free) 732-321-1598 FAXSummarySummary http://www.surround.engelhard.comSurround is an environmentally benign,worker-friendly and cost-effective tool that can EPA biopesticides website:provide many pest management and horticul- benefits. It is most effective when used in biopesticidesan agricultural ecosystem managed for healthy Latest information and news, with fact-soils with well-balanced nutrient and water sheets on individual biopesticides.budgets. Providing habitat for beneficial organ-isms (in the form of cover crops and unmown Pesticide Environmental Steward-wildflower strips) complements the pest control ship Program Website:benefits of kaolin clay and builds soil quality as A public/private coalition committed to reducing the risks from pesticide use. Risk-reduction strategies, information on least-toxic pest control, grants, news updates, links to IPM websites. Organic & Low-Spray Apple Production apple.html Detailed info on IPM in Apples, featuring a chart of disease-resistant cultivars and an extensive Resources section with supplier contacts and sources of further information. A free print copy of this 38- page booklet is available by calling ATTRA at 800-346-9140. Reduced-Risk Pest Control Factsheet / Insect IPM in Apples / Kaolin Clay / Page 4