The fungicide Luna Sensation has been registered for use on peach. This fungicide was previously registered on apple and cherry in 2012. Due to its recent release this spring for peach disease control, Luna Sensation was not included in the latest 2016 publication of the New Jersey Commercial Tree Fruit Production Guide. Thus, below is a discussion of its attributes and suggested usage for disease control on peach.
Luna Sensation, manufactured by Bayer, is currently labeled for use on stone fruit, pome fruit, blueberries, and other berries. Within the stone fruit group, Luna Sensation can be used on a wide variety of crops, including peach, nectarine, Japanese and American plum, apricots, sweet and tart cherry, and plumcots. The labeled stone fruit rate range is 5.0 to 7.6 fl oz/A with a preharvest interval (PHI) of 1 day and a restricted-entry interval (REI) of 12 hours.
The active ingredients in Luna Sensation are fluopyram and trifloxystrobin, which are classified as SDHI (FRAC group 7) and QoI (FRAC group 11) fungicides, respectively. When combined, these active ingredients bestow preventative, systemic, and curative properties to the fungicide. The Luna or fluopyram active ingredient inhibits spore germination, mycelium growth, and sporulation of fungal plant pathogens. QoI fungicides in general, including trifloxystrobin, also exhibit similar activity.
Luna Sensation has been tested on peach over a six year period at the Rutgers Agricultural Research & Extension Center. Based on these field trials, Luna Sensation has been rated as excellent for control of brown rot blossom blight and fruit rot and good for control of rust spot and scab. The 5.0 fl oz/A rate was used in most of these studies; it is possible that higher rates may provide better control of rusty spot and scab. Pristine and Merivon fungicides, both manufactured by BASF, have the same two types of active ingredients (SDHI+QoI). Like Luna Sensation, they also provide excellent control of the blossom blight and fruit rot phases of brown rot. However, these two materials have provided only fair control of peach scab and rusty spot.
The SDHI fungicides have been rated by FRAC to have a medium to high risk of resistance development, while the QoI fungicides were rated has having a high risk. Thus, a number of important usage restrictions were built into the Luna Sensation label. For stone fruit, a maximum of four applications are allowed per year with a maximum dosage of 27.3 fl oz per acre per year. Furthermore, no more than two sequential applications of Luna Sensation (or any group 7 or 11 fungicides) are allowed before switching to a fungicide from a different group. Finally, no more than 0.446 lbs of fluopyram and 0.5 lbs of trifloxystrobin per acre per year can be applied. This latter restriction is particularly noteworthy since the fungicide Gem, which has trifloxystrobin as its active ingredient, is often used in peach programs.
The recommended use for Luna Sensation is for peach brown rot control during the preharvest fruit ripening period. Since Luna Sensation contains SDHI and QoI fungicides, the DMI fungicides, such as Indar, Orbit, PropiMax, Orius, or Quash are ideal candidates for rotation during this period. In 2015, two such integrated programs were evaluated for control of brown rot using a three-spray program with applications at 18-, 9-, and 1-day preharvest (dph). The first program consisted of Luna Sensation at 18- and 1-dph with Indar at 9-dph; the second program consisted of Indar at 18- and 1-dph with Luna Sensation at 9-dph; and a third standard program consisted of Gem-Indar-Fontelis for the three sprays. These programs yielded 91%, 97%, and 91% control of fruit rot, respectively, and were not statistically different from each other.
Although Luna Sensation and many other SDHI, QoI, and DMI fungicides can provide excellent control of blossom blight, these materials are best “saved” for use in controlling the fruit rot phase of brown rot. Other fungicides of different chemistry, such as Rovral and Meteor (dicarboximides); Topsin-M (MBC); and Vangard and Scala (AP) can provide excellent control of blossom blight and are therefore recommended for use early in the season. Three of these materials, namely Rovral, Meteor, and Vangard, cannot be applied past bloom, so employing these different chemistries “up front’ makes sense as a resistance management strategy.
A second fungicide from Bayer, Luna Experience, was also recently registered for use on stone fruit crops. This fungicide also has fluopyram (SDHI, FRAC group 7) as one of its active ingredients combined with tebuconazole (DMI, FRAC group 3) as its second active ingredient. Efficacy ratings and recommendations for usage are not available at this time; additional field data are needed.