Cacao Diseases in Central America 3

The Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) is a regional center dedicated to research and graduate education in agriculture and the management, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Its members include the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Venezuela and Spain.
Source:  Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, CATIE, 2009.
Recommended practices for controlling cacao fruit diseases
Practice: pruning to rehabilitate cacao trees at the end of the main harvest season.
What to do? When the plantation is very tall, very old or has been abandoned, heavy pruning is recommended to reduce the height of the cacao trees to 3 meters, eliminating low-growing and tangled branches.

Practice: Shade regulation, at the end of the main harvest season.
What to do?  Regulate the level of shade to 30% or 50% by pruning and cacao thinning nearby fruit or timber trees associated with the cacao. 

this one fruit of the cacao black pod disease.
 Practice: Maintenance pruning, at the end of the main harvest season.
What to do?  Cut cacao branches that are misshapen, very low or tangled
with other trees to allow light to penetrate, improve ventilation and reduce humidity.

Practice: Sucker removal, Simultaneous with harvests.
What to do? Cut off suckers (chupons) when they are still young.

Practice: Drainage management, during the dry season.
What to do? Build drains and keep them clean to avoid waterlogging.

Practice: Weeding, at least four times per year.
What to do? Eliminate weeds, particularly large-leaved and tall ones. Also
control weeds around the edges of the cacao plantation.

crop losses from pests and disease inflict $700 to $800 million in damages to farmers each year
Practice: Timely harvesting, every 15 days.
What to do? Harvest ripe fruits with a knife or scissors to avoid damaging
floral cushions. Do not allow fruits to overripen in the cacao plantation, as these will be attacked by phytophthora or eaten by animals.

Practice: Complete removal of fruits, every eight days during the period of fruit formation and growth. Every 15 days the rest of the year.
What to do? Before the rains begin and new fruits form, remove all diseased and healthy fruits left over from the previous production cycle. Gather them together in an open site and sprinkle them with lime or products high in nitrogen so that they will decompose more rapidly.

Practice: Removal of diseased fruits (sanitary harvest), every eight days during the period of fruit formation and growth. Every 15 days the rest of the year.What to do? Cut all diseased fruits or fruits during the early morning hours so that the spores do not dry off and detach. The cut fruits should be covered with leaf litter or piled up in open sites in the cacao plantation, sprinkled with lime or a solution of 15% urea in water and covered with plantain leaves.

Practice: Rational application of fungicides, during the first two months of
fruit formation.
What to do?  Make two monthly applications of copper oxide (e.g., Cobre Sandoz*) with up to 1% of the active ingredient + up to 0.1% Pegafix* with a motorized pump. Use 200-300 ml per tree, applying the product both to the fruits and the foliage.
*Remember that if your cacao plantation is organic, you should consult the technician before applying these products.

next time: Diseases that mainly attack other parts of the plant

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