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  • Author or Editor: Kayla A. Spawton x
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Stemphylium leaf spot, caused by Stemphylium vesicarium, and white rust, caused by Albugo occidentalis, can cause significant losses in spinach production. Management of these foliar diseases of spinach has become increasingly challenging with the development of fungicide resistance in some pathogen populations, high planting density and overhead irrigation used for baby leaf spinach production, and the fact that >60% of fresh market spinach production in the United States is certified organic. To identify spinach cultivars with resistance to Stemphylium leaf spot and white rust, a field trial was performed near Crystal City, TX, USA, in 2021 (79 cultivars), 2022 (87 cultivars), and 2023 (63 cultivars). Each year, the plants were inoculated with S. vesicarium and rated for disease severity. Plants were also rated for white rust severity that resulted from natural infection during the 2021 and the 2022 trials. During each trial, 11% to 27% of the cultivars were identified as resistant to Stemphylium leaf spot, and another 29% to 48% had moderately resistant reactions. In contrast, only 5 of 79 cultivars (6%) in the 2021 trial did not develop symptoms of white rust, and all 87 cultivars evaluated in the 2022 trial had symptoms of white rust. Although there was no significant correlation between mean Stemphylium leaf spot ratings and mean white rust ratings during these trials, the cultivars Colusa, Kodiak, PV-1569, and PV-1664 displayed resistant or moderately resistant responses to both diseases in at least two trials. Therefore, processing and fresh market spinach growers have resistant cultivars from which to select to reduce the economic impacts of Stemphylium leaf spot and white rust.

Open Access