188 Effect of Streptomycin Walnut Blight Sprays on Nut Drop

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  • 1UC Cooperative Extension, 1754 Walnut St., Red Bluff,CA 96080; 2UC Cooperative Extension, 2279-B Del Oro Ave., Oroville,CA 95965; 3Pomology Department, University of Calif. One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616

Walnut Blight caused by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris pathovar juglandis is a very destructive disease for California walnut production. Streptomycin is an effective disease control material; however, Streptomycin sprays can result in significant nut drop 3 to 5 weeks after spray application. We investigated the basis for walnut drop following applications of Streptomycin (Agrimycin) for walnut blight control. Flowers and developing nuts were collected from four treatments, plus an unsprayed control. 200 ppm Streptomycim was applied at 1) budbreak; 2) pre, full, and post-bloom; 3) postbloom; 4) budbreak and postbloom; 5) untreated control. Samples were collected regularly beginning at the first budbreak spray and extending through the period of nut drop. Samples were fixed and prepared for histological examination. In treatments with a high incidence of nut drop, the embryo failed to develop. Examination of the stigma and style in flowers from these treatments showed inhibited pollen tube growth. Results indicate that Streptomycin inhibits pollen tube growth, which precludes fertilization. This pattern of development and timing of nut drop following Streptomycin application at full bloom is similar in all ways to unpollinated walnut flowers. Nut growth and development appear normal for 3 to 5 weeks; then nuts abort. If Streptomycin became available for walnut blight control, sprays timed to coincide with pistillate bloom and pistillate flower receptivity should be avoided.

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