Sampson Li, Renaud Travadon, Mohamed Taieb Nouri, Florent Trouillas

Determining the main infection courts in sweet cherry trees of the canker pathogens Calosphaeria pulchella, Cytospora sorbicola and Eutypa lata

  • Plant Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science

The major fungal canker pathogens causing branch dieback of sweet cherry trees in California include Calosphaeria pulchella, Cytospora sorbicola and Eutypa lata. These pathogens have long been known to infect cherry trees mainly through pruning wounds. However, recent field observations revealed numerous shoots and fruiting spurs exhibiting dieback symptoms with no apparent pruning wounds or mechanical injuries. Accordingly, this study was conducted to assess the incidence of the three pathogens in symptomatic terminal shoots and dying fruiting spurs, in addition to the wood below pruning wounds in branches. Surveys were conducted in five sweet cherry orchards across three counties in California. We also investigated the possibility that leaf scars, bud scars, and wounds resulting from fruit picking, could serve as infection courts for Cal. pulchella, Cyt. sorbicola and E. lata by means of artificial inoculations in the field. Orchard surveys revealed that Cal. pulchella had the highest pathogen incidence below pruning wounds in branch samples, followed by Cyt. sorbicola and E. lata. Among terminal shoots with dieback symptoms and dying fruiting spurs, Cyt. sorbicola was the most prevalent, followed by Cal. pulchella. Results from field inoculations indicated that fruit picking wounds could serve as important infection courts for Cal. pulchella, Cyt. sorbicola and E. lata, with average pathogen recovery of 41.5%, 63% and 36.2%, respectively. Results also indicated that leaf and bud scars could serve as an entry site for Cyt. sorbicola, although recovery was relatively low. The present study is the first to identify harvest-induced wounds on fruiting spurs of sweet cherry as an important infection court of Cal. pulchella, Cyt. sorbicola and E. lata.

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