Plant protection begins long before the application of pesticides. Ideally, pests and diseases are controlled prior to becoming an issue or before they have a chance to spread and become established. This includes the planting of healthy, disease free trees, shrubs and vines. The selection of appropriate, robust cultivars and the implementation of suitable non-chemical cultural practices are applied.
At the Julius Kühn Institute, new varieties of fruit- and vine cultivars as well as apple and pear rootstocks are evaluated. Methods are developed in order to examine and improve the health status of propagation material. In field trials the impact of cultural practices - e.g. training system, pruning measures and greenery of fruit orchards and vineyards - on the pathogen infestation and fruit quality are examined.
Utilizing knowledge about infochemicals, plant extracts, microbial antagonists and beneficial organisms, we develop, optimize and test environmentally friendly methods. Chemical treatments are only used after a full consideration of the above measures. Focus is on highly specific strategies with minimum side-effects on beneficial organisms.
In general, modern plant protection measures rely on the data obtained on the specific characterization of a disease and a monitoring of the infestation in the field.