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Overcoming Dragon Fruit Diseases in the Farm

Overcoming Dragon Fruit Diseases in the Farm

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Published by Zainudin Meon

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Zainudin Meon on Feb 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Overcoming dragon fruit diseases in the farm.
 Zainudin Haji Meon (Ph.D)Horticulture Research Centre MARDI Head QuartersSerdang. 
 The cultivation of dragon fruits in Malaysia has made its niche in the fruitindustry locally. Nearly 1000 ha. had been planted with red variety (
H. polyrhizus 
 ) however, disease problems drew much attention by growers nationwide that hittheir farms which caused  a lot of damages and yield reduced. It has been reported that bacterial and fungal diseases are common in dragonfruits which resulted in  stem  and collar rots namely caused by
Xanthomonas campestris,
Phomopsis, Oidium 
. Other disease include
Erwinia penteagglomerense, Helthimosporium 
. 'White spots' disease  on dragon fruits branches was mystical disease. Earlyobservations showed no fungus or bacteria- like diseases detected. Thehypotheses is that the pathogen attack or damage only when there werepunctures or small holes made by insects. Therefore, the disease came in lateronce the tissue ruptured. It is not easy to find the vector because it very small orminute to be seen with our naked eyes. One of the ways to overcome such problems is to use of quality and disease
free cuttings through  standard planting materials. A standard has to be introduced as to safeguard and protect farmers andgrowers alike from losing their investments due failure in planting materialsperformances by nursery producers. A working group has been setup to formulate such standards in order to gatherinformation regarding planting materials production. This includes scope,definitions, references, agronomic practices etc. This standard will be used infuture as basis for the production of planting materials. Basically dragon fruit are planted  three types of planting materials i) barecuttings, ii) rooted cuttings and iii) cuttings in polybags. One of the most important criteria in selecting these cuttings is that it must betrue-to-type taken from accredited mother plants in the field. For nurseries toproduce standard planting materials certain procedures has to be followed. a) the farm should be free of pest and disease
b) Cuttings taken from the mother plants should at least mature for one year.c)The size of  vascular bundle in the cuttings should be at least pencil-size (5-10mm).d) The cuttings should be treated with fungicides before plantinge)  The colour of cuttings should be  dark green.f)  Cuttings should be dry and kept in clean standard boxes before sent to farms.g) An accredited body to confirm the authenticity of the planting materials. Besides the use of good planting materials, farm  management practices  shouldalso be at par. This includes that ;
Farms should be cleaned from weeds as it become  hosts to manyinsects vectors like trips and mites. 
Formative pruning should be carried as to produce at least three newshoots. Newly emerged water shoots from stems should be discarded. 
When cuttings are planted, it should be as near as possible to the poleor stake and tight. 
Plant canpony should not too compact , open-center pruning isencourage as to produce good ventilation.  
After pruning been done, all diseaseda and discarded branches shoulddestroyed and burnt; they should not be left lying in the farms as thismight caused pathogen built up. 
Weeding should be done carefully as not to cause scorching on thesucculent stems. Attach a funnel-like nozzle to avoid weedicide driftduring spraying 
Regular surveillance should be carried out in the field as to observeparticularly disease and  white spots  on  stems or branches. Anyirregularities should be taken with immediate action.  Conclusions Quality and disease
free planting materials is essential  in the cultivation of dragon farms. The introduction of planting materials standards  would  safeguardand protect growers alike from losing their investments due failure in plantingmaterials performances, besides good agro-farm practices and management.  
 Cuttings should be treated with fungicides and dried before send to farms.
    Some of the common diseases  caused by fungus and bacteria that affected dragon fruits.Infected  branches should be  pruned and discarded 

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