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Steven K. Whitesides and Robert A. Spotts

Conditions were established for inducing pear (Pyrus communis L.) blossom blast caused by Pseudomonas syringae (Ps) on detached shoots. Highest incidence of infection followed occurrence of a major exotherm in the presence of Ps suspended in water drops on blossom tissue. Eight pear cultivars were evaluated for susceptibility to blossom blast, with the red-fruited `Beurré d'Anjou' sports `Gebhart' and `Columbia' least susceptible and `Doyenné du Cornice', `Beurré d'Anjou', and `Beurré Bosc' most susceptible.

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Jill Marie Calabro, Robert A. Spotts and Gary G. Grove

Selected orchard practices were evaluated for their influence on powdery mildew infections (caused by Podosphaera clandestina) of sweet cherry in two orchards in Oregon. Three training systems (Spanish bush, steep leader, and central leader), four rootstocks (Edabriz, Maxma 14, Mazzard, Pontaleb), and five cultivars (cvs. Bing, Lapins, Regina, Staccato, and Sweetheart) were included in our studies. Mildew severity was significantly the highest on trees trained on the Spanish bush system (10.7% and 16.6% of leaf surface colonized in 2003 and 2004, respectively) when compared with Vogel central leader (2.7% and 10.8% of leaf surface colonized in 2003 and 2004, respectively) and steep leader (5.3% and 6.9% of leaf surface colonized in 2003 and 2004, respectively) systems. Foliar mildew infections were significantly the lowest on rootstock Edabriz (0.5% and 1.5% of leaf surface colonized in 2003 and 2004, respectively). A range of susceptibilities was noted among the cultivars tested. Cv. Regina had the lowest level of foliar mildew infections in both 2003 and 2004 (0.1% and 0% of leaf surface colonized, respectively), whereas cvs. Staccato and Sweetheart had the highest (32.6% and 33.4% of leaf surface colonized, respectively). Results indicate that selection of training system, rootstock, and cultivar may impact the severity of powdery mildew infestations in sweet cherry orchards.

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Maryna Serdani, Robert A. Spotts, Jill M. Calabro, Joseph D. Postman and Annie P. Qu

Powdery mildew (PM) occurs worldwide and is prevalent on susceptible cultivars wherever pears are grown, causing economic losses due to russeted fruit and an increased need for fungicides. A core subset of the Pyrus germplasm collection at the USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Ore., was evaluated for resistance to Podosphaera leucotricha, the causal agent of PM, using greenhouse and field inoculations of potted trees. The core collection consists of about 200 cultivars and species selections, representing most of the genetic diversity of pears and includes 31 Asian cultivars (ASN), 122 European cultivars (EUR), 9 EUR × ASN hybrids and 46 pear species selections. Three trees of each core accession were grafted on seedling rootstocks. In 2001–02, trees were artificially inoculated in a greenhouse, grown under conditions conducive for PM, and evaluated for symptoms. The same trees were subsequently evaluated for PM symptoms from natural field infections during 2003 and 2004. In the greenhouse, 95% of EUR and 38% of ASN were infected with PM. Average PM incidence (percent of leaves infected) in the greenhouse (8% for ASN and 30% for EUR) was much higher than incidence in the field (2% for ASN and 5% for EUR) during 2003. Symptoms were also more severe in the greenhouse, with 46% of ASN and 83% of EUR with PM symptoms having a mean PM incidence of >10%. In the field, 42% and 22% of EUR and 23% and 13% of ASN were infected with P. leucotricha in 2003 and 2004, respectively. Field infection was very low during both years, with percentage leaves infected in ASN and species selections significantly different from EUR. In the field, 6% of ASN with PM symptoms had a mean PM incidence >10% during both years, while 15% and 2% of EUR accessions with PM symptoms had a mean PM incidence >10% in 2003 and 2004 respectively. These results should be very useful to pear breeding programs to develop improved PM resistant cultivars in the future, by using accessions with consistent low PM ratings.

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Richard L. Bell, Tom van der Zwet, Steve Castagnoli, Todd Einhorn, Janet D. Turner, Robert Spotts, Gary A. Moulton, Greg L. Reighard and William W. Shane