Members of the family Botryosphaeriaceae cause branch cankers and dieback on California avocado trees. More intensive pruning, a practice associated with high-density planting that is becoming more common in the California avocado industry, may increase the occurrence of branch canker. This study was undertaken to identify and characterize the Botryosphaeriaceae spp. involved in the branch canker disease complex in order to develop future management strategies. From 2008 to 2009, branch cankers were sampled from four or five trees from each of eight avocado groves in five California counties. Six Botryosphaeriaceae spp. were identified based on morphology as well as phylogenetic analysis of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) and a partial sequence of the β-tubulin gene. These six species included Neofusicoccum australe, N. luteum, N. parvum, an unknown Neofusicoccum sp., Fusicoccum aesculi, and Dothiorella iberica. Members of the Botryosphaeriaceae were isolated from all avocado-growing regions sampled in California; however, incidence and distribution of species varied. This report is the first description of the isolation of D. iberica from avocado branch cankers in California.
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