549 Three New Cultivars of Flowering Dogwood Resistant to Powdery Mildew

in HortScience

Powdery mildew (Microsphaera pulchra) of flowering dogwood (Cornus florida L.) has become a significant problem of trees in nursery production as well as in the landscapes and forests of the eastern United States. The disease significantly reduces growth and berry production by older established trees and may contribute to the inability of younger trees (liners) in production to survive winter dormancy. Disease resistance in named cultivars is limited to partial resistance found in `Cherokee Brave'—all other cultivars are extremely susceptible. Until now, the only disease control measure was to establish an expensive, labor-intensive, preventive fungicide program. We examined >22,000 seedlings and identified 20 that were extremely resistant to powdery mildew. Three trees with white bracts were selected from the 20 and released as patent-pending cultivars. `Karen's Appalachian Blush' has long, non-overlapping, pink fringed bracts with a delicate appearance. `Kay's Appalachian Mist' has creamy white, slightly overlapping bracts with deeply pigmented clefts. `Jean's Appalachian Snow' has large, strongly overlapping bracts with non-pigmented clefts. The three powdery mildew-resistant cultivars will be entered into an existing breeding program with `Appalachian Spring', a cultivar released by the Tennessee Agriculture Experiment Station and resistant to dogwood anthracnose, in an attempt to produce trees that are resistant to both diseases.

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