Sources and seasonal dynamics of inoculum for brown spot disease of pear

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Abstract

The dynamics of the production of Stemphylium vesicarium conidia and Pleospora allii ascospores from different inoculum sources on the ground were compared in a model system of a wildflower meadow mainly composed of yellow foxtail, creeping cinquefoil and white clover. The meadow was either inoculated (each October) or not inoculated with a virulent strain of S. vesicarium, and either covered or not covered with a litter of inoculated pear leaves. Spore traps positioned a few centimetres above the ground were exposed for 170 7-day periods between October 2003 and December 2006. Ascospores and conidia were trapped in 46 and 25% of samples, respectively. Ascospore numbers trapped from the pear leaf litter were about five times higher than those from the meadow, while conidial numbers were similar from the different inoculum sources. The ascosporic season was very long, with two main trapping periods: December–April, and August–October; the former was most important for the leaf litter, the latter for the meadow. The conidial season lasted from April to November, with 92% of conidia caught between July and September. The fungus persistently colonized the meadow: the meadow inoculated in early October 2003 produced spores until autumn 2006. The present work demonstrates that orchard ground is an important source of inoculum for brown spot of pear. Thus, it is important to reduce inoculum by managing the orchard ground all year long.

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