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  • Author or Editor: Mary K. Hausbeck x
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The effects of bed height, mulches, composted poultry litter, and cultivars on Phytophthora crown rot, caused by Phytophthora capsici Leonian, of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) were evaluated in the absence of fungicide applications. The experimental design was a split-split-split plot arrangement of a randomized complete block. Bed height (flat or raised) was the main plot treatment. Mulches (bare soil, wheat straw, or plastic) were subplot treatments. Composted poultry litter applications (0 or 4.5 t·ha−1) were sub-subplot treatments. Squash cultivars (Cougar or Payroll) were sub-sub-subplot treatments. Incidence of plant death (%) was assessed from 0 to 35 days post-inoculation (dpi) with P. capsici. Plant death 35 dpi and area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC)differed significantly (P < 0.0001) between the cultivars Cougar and Payroll. Mean plant death 35 dpi was 87% for ‘Payroll’ and 99% for ‘Cougar’. The bed height × cultivar interaction was also significant (P = 0.0018) in the analyses of variance for plant death and AUDPC. Plant death at 35 dpi and AUDPC for ‘Payroll’ were greater in flat beds than raised beds. Disease was unaffected by the main effects of bed height, mulch type, or application of poultry litter. Thirty-two summer squash cultivars and 10 germplasm accessions were also evaluated for resistance to Phytophthora crown rot in a separate greenhouse trial. Crown rot severity was rated on a 1 (no symptoms) to 5 (plant death) scale at 18 dpi. Crown rot severity differed significantly (P < 0.0001) among cultivars and germplasm accessions. Crown rot severity averaged 4.3 on commercial cultivars and 2.2 on germplasm accessions. Crown rot was least severe on the commercial cultivar Spineless Beauty (mean rating = 2.9). No disease developed on four accessions of Cucurbita moschata previously reported to be crown rot-resistant.

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Phytophthora capsici annually threatens production of cucurbit and solanaceous crops. Long-lived oospores produced by the pathogen incite primary infection of susceptible plants when conditions are wet. Limiting the rot of winter squash and pumpkin (Cucurbita sp.) fruits is difficult due to the long maturation period when fruits are often in direct contact with infested soil. Genetic resistance to fruit rot is not widely available within Cucurbita sp.; however, age-related resistance (ARR) to P. capsici fruit rot develops in specific cultivars during maturation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the fruits of 12 cultivars of Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita moschata, and Cucurbita maxima for ARR to P. capsici using a mycelial-plug inoculation method. All Cucurbita pepo and Cucurbita moschata cultivars displayed ARR; 7 days postpollination (dpp) fruits were susceptible, limited lesion development occurred on fruits 22 dpp, and lesions did not develop at 56 dpp. Disease developed on both Cucurbita maxima cultivars tested at 7, 14, 22, and 56 dpp. Firmness of fruit exocarps was measured with a manual penetrometer. Exocarp firmness of all cultivars increased during maturation; however, there was no correlation between firmness and disease incidence among cultivars at 22 dpp (R 2 = −0.01, P = 0.85). When fruits of cultivars expressing ARR at 22 dpp were wounded before inoculation, fruit rot developed.

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Phytophthora capsici causes root and fruit rot and foliar blight of pepper. Multiple sources of resistance to Phytophthora root rot have previously been identified, but most display only partial resistance. One source, CM334, has broad spectrum root rot resistance to multiple pathogen isolates but has only low to moderate fruit rot resistance. This study evaluated previously identified pepper lines for resistance to two P. capsici isolates, OP97 and 12889, and compared root rot resistance to fruit rot resistance and genetic structure. CM334 was confirmed as a broad spectrum resistance genotype, whereas all other sources of resistance evaluated were susceptible to infection by one or both isolates evaluated. Although not completely resistant, PI 566811 displayed moderate resistance to fruit and root rot to both P. capsici isolates. Fruit rot resistance had a significant but small to moderate positive correlation (r = 0.26–0.63) with root rot resistance depending on the isolate and length of exposure. Pepper accessions with resistance to Phytophthora root and fruit rot belonging to different genetic subpopulations were identified and could serve as candidates for partial-resistance loci to incorporate into pepper breeding programs.

Open Access

Annual downy mildew [Pseudoperonospora humuli (Miyabe & Takah.) G.W. Wilson, (1914)] epidemics threaten hop (Humulus lupulus L. var. lupulus) production throughout the eastern United States. Rootstock rot complicates foliar disease assessments because dormant buds may rot before producing a symptomatic basal shoot and noncolonized buds produce healthy shoots. We selected 12 cultivars to evaluate downy mildew susceptibility (2016 and 2017) and examined the rhizomes of a subset of six cultivars (2018) that showed clear differences in foliar disease ratings to determine rootstock rot susceptibility. Trials were conducted on nontrellised hop yards established at two research farms in 2016 and managed without fungicides. The relative area under the disease progress curve (rAUDPC) values for foliar disease severity and density ratings were consistently higher for ‘Cascade’, ‘Centennial’, and ‘Nugget’ than for ‘Newport’, ‘Tahoma’, and ‘Columbia’. Only ‘Centennial’ had a higher wet-rot cortex discoloration (CD) incidence (71.5%) and severity (31.9%) in its rhizomes than the other cultivars. Among cultivars with low foliar disease levels, Columbia was less vigorous (shoots/plant) than ‘Tahoma’, but had similar wet-rot CD (incidence, 46.4% to 47.2%; severity, 12.5% to 17.7%). The levels of wet-rot CD for ‘Tahoma’, ‘Newport’, and ‘Columbia’ were comparable to those of some cultivars with more severe foliar disease symptoms (‘Nugget’ and ‘Cascade’). Differences in foliar disease among cultivars with similar levels of rootstock rot suggest a resistance defense mechanism to P. humuli. Additional work is needed to clarify rootstock infection sites and characterize defense responses to aid future breeding efforts.

Open Access

Pythium root rot (Pythium sp.) is ubiquitous in Michigan greenhouses that produce herbaceous ornamentals, an industry worth $393 million in the state. Disease symptoms include stunting, flowering delay, root rot, and death. Fungicides that are highly effective against pythium root rot are limited, and pathogen resistance has been documented. The objectives of this study were to determine the sensitivity of Pythium irregulare, Pythium ultimum, and Pythium aphanidermatum isolates from symptomatic herbaceous greenhouse ornamentals to the fungicide etridiazole and to determine the influence of pH and etridiazole on Pythium mycelial growth and asexual reproduction. Isolates were tested in vitro for sensitivity to etridiazole by growing the pathogen on amended V8-agar plates sealed in plastic containers to minimize fungicide loss from the vapor phase. The majority of isolates of all three species were sensitive to the fungicide with EC50 (effective concentration resulting in 50% inhibition of linear growth) values ranging from 0.10 to 5.03 μg·mL−1. Two isolates of P. irregulare had an EC90 (effective concentration resulting in 90% inhibition of linear growth) value >80 μg·mL−1. The acidity of the medium influenced the ability of etridiazole to inhibit Pythium mycelial growth and asexual reproduction. Agar plates amended with 1 μg·mL−1 etridiazole and adjusted to pH 4.5 limited the mycelial growth of two P. aphanidermatum isolates and two P. irregulare isolates by 90% and 56%, respectively, compared with amended agar at pH 6.5. Sporangial formation by P. aphanidermatum was less frequent on mycelial disks incubated in etridiazole-amended sterile distilled water (SDW) at pH 4.5 than pH 6.5 (P < 0.05). P. aphanidermatum zoospore cyst germination was less sensitive to etridiazole than sporangia or mycelial growth; however, the influence of pH and fungicide on cyst germination was significant (P < 0.01). At 250 μg·mL−1 etridiazole and solution pH 4.5, zoospore cyst germination was inhibited 99.9% compared with 94.2% at pH 6.5. In a greenhouse experiment, disease symptoms were observed on ‘Pinto White’ geranium (Pelargonium ×hortorum) in a potting medium infested with P. aphanidermatum and adjusted to pH 4.5 or 6.5; however, plant health and fresh weight were greater in low pH potting medium. Etridiazole, applied as a drench at transplant, did not improve control of root rot for plants grown at low pH (P > 0.05). Fresh weight of plants grown in infested potting medium adjusted to pH 4.5 and amended with a single drench of etridiazole (100 μg·mL−1) was reduced 20%, statistically similar to the untreated control. Adjusting the acidity of irrigation water at the time of etridiazole application in ebb and flow and flood floor production systems could be beneficial in pythium root rot management of certain ornamental crops if plants have tolerance to low pH.

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Leaf and neck anthracnose is incited by Colletotrichum coccodes (Wallr.) Hughes, a new foliar disease of onion (Allium cepa L.) in Michigan that has been observed in the state since 2010. Symptoms include elliptical lesions on the leaves, necks, or both that appear bleached with a pale salmon to dark brown center. To develop an effective integrated disease management strategy, field studies were conducted in 2011 and 2012 to evaluate 16 commercial onion cultivars for their susceptibility to the pathogen. The incidence and severity of anthracnose were evaluated weekly following inoculation. Onion cultivars differed significantly in disease severity and incidence; differences between years were also observed. ‘Hendrix’ had the lowest disease severity, whereas ‘Highlander’ and ‘Candy’ exhibited severe onion leaf and neck anthracnose symptoms. Using less susceptible onion cultivars combined with effective fungicides against C. coccodes may limit crop losses for Michigan growers.

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Phytophthora blight is a destructive disease of cucurbits affecting the fruit, leaves, crown, and/or roots. Ten cucurbit PIs with known partial resistance to Phytophthora capsici root and crown rot were evaluated for resistance to Phytophthora fruit rot. Unwounded fruit from field-grown plants of Cucurbita moschata and C. pepo were inoculated in a controlled environment at 7 to 10 or 21 to 24 days post-pollination (dpp) with virulent P. capsici isolates to examine the effect of fruit age on disease development. Inoculated fruit were rated for lesion area and pathogen mycelial growth 7 days post-inoculation (dpi); fruit length, diameter, and pericarp thickness were also rated. Two C. pepo accessions (PI 169417 and PI 181761) had significant resistance to Phytophthora fruit rot at both 7 to 10 dpp and 21 to 24 dpp. All accessions evaluated displayed reduced disease susceptibility as the fruit aged.

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Abstract

Selected seed-propagated hybrid geranium (Pelargonium × hortorum Bailey) cultivars were evaluated for resistance to crown and root rot caused by Pythium ultimum Trow in the presence or absence of foliarly applied STS, a petal-shattering preventative that has been demonstrated to increase plant death due to P. ultimum. Plants were evaluated for resistance to plant death, plant stunting, and flower delay by comparing plant growth in P. ultimum-infested medium with plant growth in a noninfested medium. Although immunity to P. ultimum was not identified in the 42 cultivars screened, resistance appeared to be present and may provide a valuable source of germplasm for further screening and subsequent hybridization for resistance.

Open Access

To determine the factors affecting airborne conidial concentrations of Podosphaera xanthii Braun and Shishkoff and powdery mildew severity in greenhouse-grown potted gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii H. Bolus), airborne concentrations of conidia were monitored in a glass and polyethylene greenhouse. Temperature, relative humidity, and leaf wetness were recorded onsite, and the percentage of foliage with visible disease was assessed weekly at the glasshouse and every 2 weeks at the polyethylene greenhouse (1 to 10 visual rating scale). Peak airborne conidial concentrations occurred at 0800/1600 and 0900/1400 hr at the glasshouse and polyethylene greenhouses, respectively. Few conidia were sampled between 2200 and 0500 hr at either greenhouse. Worker activity was associated with conidial release in the glasshouse, but not in the larger polyethylene greenhouse, and worker activity may have influenced the daily periodicity of conidial concentrations. Airborne conidial concentrations were not related to environmental conditions in the same hour as conidial detection. An increase in disease severity was positively related to relative humidity and negatively related to leaf wetness at both greenhouses; in addition, temperature was negatively related to an increase in disease severity in the glasshouse. In light of the results of this study, frequent scouting and fungicide applications for powdery mildew are advised. Wide plant spacing and adequate ventilation are also recommended to reduce relative humidity in the microclimate.

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Root rot caused by Pythium spp. is a significant disease on greenhouse-grown crops and negatively affects the floriculture industry. To develop strategies that limit Pythium root rot on geranium and snapdragon, greenhouse trials were conducted to test plant protectants and cultivars. Seven fungicides and two biological control agents were evaluated on plants inoculated with P. aphanidermatum, P. irregulare, or P. ultimum. Disease severity was assessed using a scale of 1 (healthy, no disease symptoms) to 5 (plant death) from 5 to 45 day postinoculation (dpi). The area under disease progress curve (AUDPC) values differed significantly (P < 0.0001) among Pythium spp. and treatment. The interaction between plant protectants and Pythium spp. was also significant. For geranium, mefenoxam (trade name: Subdue Maxx) and Streptomyces lydicus WYEC108 (trade name: Actinovate) effectively controlled Pythium root rot. For snapdragon, treatment efficacy varied depending on the Pythium sp. When 11 geranium cultivars were inoculated with P. aphanidermatum, none were completely resistant to the pathogen. However, when P. irregulare was used to inoculate these geranium cultivars, Nano White Hybrid and Bulls Eye Cherry were similar to the uninoculated control. When 12 snapdragon cultivars were inoculated with P. aphanidermatum or P. irregulare, no cultivar was completely resistant to either pathogen, but Twinny White and Candy Showers Yellow were least susceptible to both. Integrating effective fungicides with less susceptible cultivars can limit disease caused by Pythium spp.

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