Horticulture

Horticulture

Summerland RDC develops new sweet cherry and apple cultivars, conducts research on insect ecology and management, and disease epidemiology, management and host-pathogen relationships. This research enables the development of sustainable management strategies for insect pests, field and post-harvest diseases as well as emerging insect and disease pests of tree fruit and grape.

Successful solutions

  • Developed sweet cherries (high-quality, later maturing) and fruit handling processes for shipment by sea to expand markets into Asia.

  • Developed cultivars, post-storage handling of whole apples and processing recommendations for fresh-cut packaged apple; collaborated with industry partners to release and test new apples.

  • Improved Braeburn and Honeycrisp apple quality by using mulches in re-plant disease situations and including fertilizers with irrigation (fertigation).

  • New strategies for area-wide pest management complements the Sterile Insect Release Program and have led to reduced insecticide use and increased organic apple and pear production in interior B.C.

  • Input to 2013 phytosanitary processes (fruit fly management) which resulted in exportation of cherries to China.

  • Contributed the use of drought tolerant plants and ground cover to manage insect pests for sustainable wine grape production.

  • Contributed to new minor use pesticide registrations through field trials for various tree fruits, vegetables, greenhouse and other specialty crops.

  • Plum Pox Virus (PPV) control: developed commercial diagnostic test (5 million tests sold worldwide); seasonal susceptibility of trees; showed that within Prunus, the virus is limited to peaches; use of horticultural oils to control virus transmission by aphids.

  • Developed control strategies and characterized virus strains affecting greenhouse tomatoes in Ontario, Blueberry scorch in B.C. and a new virus infecting strawberries in eastern Canada.