Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Cocoa sunscald & cherelle wilt (137)

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  • Worldwide distribution. Natural processes occurring on cocoa, not diseases.
  • Sunscald – Either cocoa is grown without shade, or shade is removed and soil nutrients not sufficient to support healthy growth. Top leaves yellow, fall, and young stems dieback. Lower shoots develop.
  • Cherelle wilt – Young pods, 6-8 cm, first red or green, stop growing, lose colour and decay, turning black, but remaining attached. Although a natural process, it can be increased by Phytophthora black pod rot.
  • Cultural control: important factors are: spacing; a light shade preferably from a tree in the legume family, moist soils (not too wet or dry); mulch; control of black pod.
  • Chemical control: none recommended.
Common Name

Cocoa sunscald & cherelle wilt. 'Cherelles' are young pods that wilt during the first 6-8 weeks after pollination, when less than 10 cm long.

Scientific Name

There are no scientific name for these physiological conditions: i) reaction of trees to lack of shade, and sun damage, and ii) early death of cherelles by a natural fruit-thinning process.

AUTHOR Grahame Jackson
Information from (including Photos 3&4) Gerlach WWP (1988) Plant diseases of Western Samoa. Samoan German Crop Protection Project, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) Gmbh, Germany. Photo 1 Pita Tikai, ACIAR ICM/IPM project, Solomon Islands.

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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