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Mary Jean Welser and Martin C. Goffinet

Grapevine yellows is a destructive, worldwide disease of grapevines that is caused by a phytoplasma, a bacterium-like organism that infects and disrupts the vascular system of shoots. The North American form of grapevine yellows (NAGY) has been observed in New York State since the mid-1970s and in Virginia since the mid-1990s. Symptoms duplicate those of vines suffering from an Australian disease complex known as Australian grapevine yellows (AGY). We sought to determine if infected `Chardonnay' vines have common anatomical characteristics across the three regions. At each geographic site in late summer, 2003–04, leaf and internode samples were taken from younger green regions of shoots and from mature basal regions in the fruiting zone. These were processed for histology. The anatomy of each organ type was compared between locations on the shoot, between geographic locations, and between affected and normal shoots. The phloem was the only tissue universally affected in vines with NAGY or AGY symptoms. In stem internodes, both primary phloem and secondary phloem showed many senescent cells, abnormally proliferated giant cells, and hyperplasia. In affected secondary phloem there was disruption of the radial files of cells that normally differentiate from the cambium into mature phloem cell types. Normal bands of secondary phloem fibers (“hard phloem”) in internodes were weak or absent in affected vines. Leaves also had disrupted phloem organization but near-normal xylem organization in vines with symptoms. Leaves of infected vines frequently showed a disruption of sugar transport out of the leaf blades, manifested by a heavy buildup of starch in chloroplasts of mesophyll cells and bundle-sheath cells.

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Martin C. Goffinet and Mary Jean Welser

Overwintering buds and internodes of Vitis labruscana `Concord' were taken from minimal- (MP) and balance-pruned (BP) vines in Dec. 1993 and Dec. 1994 from canes whose weight, crop weight, total nodes, and nodes with periderm were known. Winter characters recorded were: node-5's primary bud basal area, total nodes, and developmental stage of cluster primordia; stage of largest cluster in the secondary bud; vascular area of cane internode 5. Fifty node-5 buds were tagged in each treatment and flower and fruit number per cluster later recorded. Regression analysis showed no effect of a shoot's crop, cane weight, node number, or nodes having periderm on any character measured in the overwintering buds or canes for either treatment. Regression analysis did show mean flower number per cluster was linearly related to mean winter stage per cluster in both treatments, with all values falling on one line. Differences between treatments were one of degree of cluster development; BP vines had more-developed winter and spring clusters and more flowers and fruit per shoot. The slope of the regression was identical the last 3 years, although the y intercept varied each year; thus, a given cluster stage in the overwintering bud was capable of producing a variable number of flowers the next season, depending on year. Flower number per shoot appeared positively related to growing-degree-days the previous season.

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Martin C. Goffinet, Alan N Lakso, and Mary Jean Welser

Winter buds of `Concord' and `Niagara' grapevines were dissected and their embryonic clusters scored to developmental stage. Stage was regressed against flower and fruit number per cluster the following year to see if flowering or fruiting potential could be gauged from bud morphology. `Concord' vines were either minimal-pruned (MP) or balance-pruned (BP) and non-irrigated or provided supplemental irrigation. `Niagara' vines were BP vines which were non-irrigated, irrigated, or nitrogen fertigated. Winter buds of MP `Concord' were significantly less developed than buds of BP vines, and flower and fruit number per cluster also significantly less. Irrigation did not affect bud construction or flower or fruit number per cluster in either pruning regime. Winter buds of `Niagara' had similar cluster stages in all treatments and there were similar flower and fruit number per cluster the following season. Within cultivar and year, there was a positive linear relationship between mean flower number or fruit number per cluster and mean stage of cluster differentiation within buds the previous dormant period. In `Concord', a given winter cluster stage allowed production of significantly more flowers and fruit in 1992 than it did in 1993. A bud's flowering potential thus varies from year to year and depends on factors not solely related to bud morphology.

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Martin C. Goffinet, Thomas J. Burr, Mary Catherine Heidenreich, and Mary Jean Welser

The fungus Aureobasidium pullulans is ubiquitous and can cause russet of fruit in New York orchards. The details of russet induction by this fungus are not well known. We inoculated `McIntosh' apple fruits with a suspension of A. pullulans spores (10 million colony-forming units/mL) 1–2 weeks postbloom or later at about 30 days postbloom. We dropped inoculum into plastic “microwells” attached to the fruit surface. The cuticle of uninoculated fruit (wells filled with water only) had no russet by autumn. Skin susceptibility to russet diminished with fruit age. The cuticle of inoculated young fruit began to break down in a few days, likely through direct cuticular digestion. Further erosion and breaching of the protective cuticle caused underlying epidermal cells to die. Within 1–2 weeks, cuticle disruption and epidermal cell death were widespread. This stimulated the fruit to initiate a repair process that involved periderm formation (russet), where many rows of cells were produced in nearby tissue to seal off the injury. This type of repair is not stretchable, so as young fruit expanded, additional skin splits and checks developed. This breakdown–repair process repeated itself, which created a scurfy skin. Older fruit did not expand as much after inoculation as did young fruit, and so they developed few obvious leathery patches of periderm. Older cuticle also resisted digestion better than did the young fruit cuticle, but we do not know if resistance resulted from increased cuticle thickness in older fruit or a change in cuticular compounds during fruit growth. Regardless, A. pullulans applied to older fruit did not progress beyond the early phase of cuticle digestion, even after 3 weeks postinoculation.

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Martin C. Goffinet, Mary Jean Welser, Alan N. Lakso, and Robert M. Pool

Northeastern U.S. grape growers have become more knowledgeable about many aspects of grape production, including pruning and training, canopy management, nutritional recommendations, pest and disease management strategies, vineyard floor management, etc. Important to all these aspects is a firm understanding of vine structure and development. Yet, there is no current publication on vine growth and development that growers and researchers can consult to gain an understanding of the organs, tissues, and developmental processes that contribute to growth and production of quality vines in the northeastern U.S. climate. A concerted effort is underway to secure enough information on how vines are constructed, grow, and develop in the northeast so that a publication useful to a wide audience can be produced. Our objective is to consolidate information already on hand that can help explain the internal and external structures of grapevines that are pertinent to the needs of northeast growers, to add information that is lacking by collecting and examining vine parts, and to work toward integrating vine structure with vine physiology and viticultural practices. Over the past decade, organs of various native American, French hybrid, and vinifera varieties have been collected from vineyards at Cornell's experiment stations and from growers' vineyards in the Finger Lakes and Lake Erie regions. Much quantitative data on vine development have been collected and interpreted. Lab work has included dissections of organs, histological and microscopic examination, microphotography, and the production of interpretive diagrams and charts. A list of the subject matter and examples of visual materials will be presented.