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  • Author or Editor: Kaley Hensel x
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Elderberry rust (Puccinia sambuci Schwein.) Arthur (=P. bolleyana) () disease is frequently found in commercial American elderberry (Sambucus nigra L. subsp. canadensis L.) plantings when an alternate host, Carex sp., is present. To evaluate potential infection periods of P. sambuci on elderberry plants, micrometeorological conditions were monitored. Rust symptoms were observed on elderberry on 5 Apr. 2016, and conditions favorable for possible infection were 9 to 18 °C, ≥3 hours of continuous leaf wetness, and ≥85% relative humidity. Studies were also conducted to ascertain whether P. sambuci with varying pustule numbers affects fruiting, berry puree quality, or vegetative growth. Fruit yield was reduced by 31% when potted ‘Bob Gordon’ elderberry averaged six rust pustules per plant compared with noninfected plants. In another experiment, field-grown ‘Wyldewood’ plants averaging 137 rust pustules/cane at harvest had 47% less fruit weight on canes than uninfected canes. Titratable acidity of fruit puree from plants was lower when plants had either 690 rust pustules/plant or 137/pustules/cane, but soluble solids and pH of puree were unaffected by P. sambuci infection. The effect of rust infection on vegetative growth of elderberry plants also varied with pustule numbers. With a low infection level (six pustules per plant), P. sambuci did not induce premature leaf loss on ‘Bob Gordon’ plants or adversely affect shoot dry weight at the end of the growing season. When P. sambuci infection on ‘Wyldewood’ plants was more severe (137 pustules/cane), greater leaf loss occurred on infected canes than on uninfected canes. At very high infection levels (690 pustules/plant), ‘Bob Gordon’ plant dry weight was reduced. Because of the potential for fruit yield loss on elderberry plants, control of P. sambuci at relatively low infection levels on this plant may be warranted. Strategies that eliminate or suppress the alternate host would likely reduce the P. sambuci inoculum and limit the potential for elderberry plant infection.

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