A new study on the development of foliar symptoms of esca was carried out from 2004 to 2006 in five mature vineyards in Aquitaine, France. Symptoms were monitored for severity and changes over time. Initial foliar symptoms were characterized by the presence of drying zones or discolorations (reddening or yellowing), which are symptoms that have also been attributed to Black Dead Arm (BDA). Then, the less-severely affected leaves persisted throughout the summer and developed into typical “tiger-stripe” symptoms of esca. The most severely symptomatic leaves fell soon after symptoms appeared. Severely diseased vines showed typical apoplectic or acute forms of esca that did not differ from the severe BDA forms. The appearance of leaf-symptomatic vines increased uniformly over time, reaching a maximum incidence by the end of July. A second survey in 41 European and Lebanese vineyards showed that longitudinal discolorations were visible under the bark of 95% of the vines showing foliar esca symptoms. These wood symptoms, also previously attributed to BDA, appeared as xylem orange-brown stripes. Thus, foliar symptoms of esca showed transitory phases which overlapped with some BDA descriptions. Most of these symptoms, in the west-palearctic regions that were investigated, were commonly associated with the presence of one or several xylem discolorations.
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