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  • Author or Editor: Barrett Gruber x
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Copper-based fungicides are effective for managing cherry leaf spot disease incited by Blumeriella jaapii (Rehm) Arx. However, their application has been associated with bronzing discoloration of tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) foliage. This work explored the consequences of foliar applications of a copper-based fungicide for tart cherry fruit quantity and quality. ‘Montmorency’ tart cherry trees were subjected to one of the following fungicide programs in 2007, 2008, and 2009: synthetic fungicides only, synthetic fungicides integrated with a copper-based fungicide, or not sprayed. Each year, the number of fruits per shoot and fruit fresh weight and soluble solids concentration (SSC) were measured three to six times during drupe development. Repeated measures indicated no collection date × fungicide program effect on the mean number of fruits (P ≥ 0.48) and SSC (P ≥ 0.14) in all years or on fresh weight in 2008 and 2009 (P ≥ 0.58). There was a collection date × fungicide program effect (P = 0.02) on mean fresh weight in 2007. On 6 July 2007, trees assigned to the integrated copper program were observed having 23% and 27% lower fruit fresh weights than trees assigned to the nonsprayed and synthetic programs, respectively. However, pairwise comparisons indicated no difference in fresh weight between the integrated copper and the nonsprayed programs (P = 0.26) and no difference between the integrated copper and synthetic programs (P = 0.25) on the final collection date of 2007. In 2007, fresh weight decreased slightly (slope = –0.08, P = 0.05) as leaf bronzing severity increased, whereas SSC increased slightly (slope = 0.31, P = 0.06). In 2008 and 2009, there was no relationship between bronzing severity and fresh weight or SSC (P ≥ 0.34). These results indicate that applied copper does not lead to fewer fruits per shoot or reductions in fresh weight or SSC of mature fruit and that the observed range of leaf bronzing severity had little to no influence on fresh weight and SSC.

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Plants inoculated with the huanglongbing (HLB)-associated bacterium, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) typically must be monitored for 8–10 months to identify differences in susceptibility between genotypes. Continuous light is reported to accelerate development of HLB symptoms and field observations suggest that trees girdled by tags or tree ties showed greater symptoms. Therefore, an experiment was conducted assessing HLB susceptibility as influenced by light/dark periods of 12 hours: 12 hours and 24 hours: 0 hours, in combination with scoring tree trunks to disrupt phloem. Sixty trees of each of three citrus genotypes (‘Kuharske’, previously shown to be HLB resistant; rough lemon, previously shown to be HLB tolerant; and ‘Valencia’, highly HLB susceptible) were bud grafted using two CLas-infected buds (rough lemon and citron) per tree on 26 Mar. 2012, and were placed in controlled growth rooms (one 12 hour light: 12 hour dark and one constant light) on 4 June 2012. Ten trees of each genotype in each growth room were scored 10 cm above the soil (cutting through the bark but not the wood) with a knife on 18 July 2012 and the scoring was repeated at the same scoring wounds on 30 Aug. 2012. Trees were removed from growth rooms on 12 Dec. 2012 and subsequently maintained in a greenhouse. At two to three month intervals between June 2012 and May 2013, HLB symptoms and stem diameter at 5 cm above the soil were assessed, and three leaves per tree were collected for quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) determination of CLas titer. Six months after inoculation and 3 months following imposition of treatments, the ‘Valencia’ scored in the 12 hour light: 12 hour dark regime, the ‘Valencia’ non scored trees in 24 hours of light and the ‘Kuharske’ scored trees in 24 hours of light displayed higher CLas titers than most other trees. After an additional two months, both scored and non-scored trees of all three genotypes in 24 hours of light had significantly elevated CLas titers compared with trees in 12 hour light: 12 hour dark regime, but within most treatments all three genotypes had titers which were not statistically different from each other. Growth of ‘Kuharske’ and rough lemon was enhanced; whereas ‘Valencia’ growth was reduced when graft-inoculated plants were maintained in continuous light. Scoring enhanced early CLas development in ‘Kuharske’ when combined with continuous light, had no effect in rough lemon, and showed inconsistent effects in ‘Valencia’. Although continuous lighting enhanced disease progression, it did not reveal differences in HLB susceptibility.

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The primary objective of this experiment was to determine if the selection of rootstock (Citrus and hybrids) could enhance the development of huanglongbing (HLB)-related symptoms associated with the pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) in sweet orange (Citrus sinensis). If so, then it may permit more rapid identification of HLB-susceptible compared to HLB-resistant scion types. The secondary objective was to assess the impact of different rootstocks on plant growth parameters and health to determine if trees on any rootstocks displayed reduced sensitivity to HLB-influenced growth restriction. ‘Valencia’ sweet orange was budded on each of the following eight genotypes: Carrizo (C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata); Cleopatra (C. reshni); Green-7 {a complex allotetraploid from somatic hybrids [C. clementina × (C. paradisi × C. reticulata) + C. grandis] × [(C. aurantium + (C. sinensis × P. trifoliata)]}; UFR-2 (a complex allotetraploid from somatic hybrids {[C. clementina × (C. paradisi × C. reticulata)] + C. grandis} × (C. reticulata + P. trifoliata)); UFR-4 (same pedigree as UFR-2); rough lemon (C. jambhiri); sour orange (C. aurantium); and US-897 (C. reticulata × P. trifoliata). Half of the trees on each rootstock were bud-inoculated with CLas and half were inoculated with the asian citrus psyllid [ACP (Diaphorina citri)], which is the CLas vector. During both experiments, no rootstock conferred significantly greater HLB symptom severity compared to trees on Carrizo; however, trees on several rootstocks had reduced HLB severity compared to those on Carrizo. Regarding the bud-inoculated trees after 3 years, trees on UFR-4 displayed greater overall health than trees on Carrizo, Green-7, sour orange, and US897, and trees on UFR-4 had a higher percentage of plants with leaf cycle threshold (Ct) values >36 compared with trees on Cleopatra and rough lemon (62 vs. 26-29 respectively). Regarding the ACP-inoculated trees after 3 years, trees on UFR-4 had better overall health than trees on Carrizo, rough lemon, and US-897, and trees on sour orange had a higher percentage of plants with leaf Ct values greater than 36 only compared to Cleopatra and US-897. The percentage increase in the trunk diameter per month over the course of each entire experiment was significantly greater for UFR-2 in both trials than all rootstocks except UFR-4. Only root CLas titers were sometimes significantly higher for trees on other rootstocks compared to those on Carrizo. Although no rootstock provided acceleration of HLB symptom development compared with Carrizo, some rootstocks conferred significantly greater health compared to Carrizo. However, it is uncertain whether the modest differences in health and growth observed in these greenhouse trials would translate to economic benefits in the field.

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