First, third, and fourth authors: Norwegian Crop Research Institute, Plant Protection Centre, Department of Plant Pathology, N-1432 Ås, Norway; second and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456
Mills' infection period table describes the number of hours of continuous leaf wetness required at temperatures from 6 to 25°C for infection of apple leaves by ascospores of Venturia inaequalis and reports that conidia require approximately two-thirds the duration of leaf wetness required by ascospores at any given temperature. Mills' table also provides a general guideline that more than 2 days of wetting is required for leaf infection by ascospores below 6°C. Although the table is widely used, infection times shorter than those in the table have been reported in lab and field studies. In 1989 a published revision of the table eliminated a potential source of error, the delay of ascospore release until dawn when rain begins at night, and shortened the times reported by Mills for ascospore infection by 3 h at all temperatures. Data to support the infection times below 6°C were lacking, however. Our objective was to quantify the effects of low temperatures on ascospore discharge, ascospore infection, and infection by conidia. In two of three experiments at 1°C, the initial release of ascospores occurred after 131 and 153 min. In the third experiment at 1°C, no ascospores were detected during the first 6 h. The mean time required to exceed a cumulative catch of 1% was 143 min at 2°C, 67 min at 4°C, 56 min at 6°C, and 40 min at 8°C. At 4, 6, and 8°C, the mean times required to exceed a cumulative catch of 5% were 103, 84, and 53 min, respectively. Infection of potted apple trees by ascospores at 2, 4, 6, and 8°C required 35, 28, 18, and 13 h, respectively; substantially shorter times than previously were reported. In parallel inoculations of potted apple trees, conidia required approximately the same periods of leaf wetness as ascospores at temperatures from 2 to 8°C, rather than the shorter times reported by Mills or the longer times reported in the revision of the Mills table. We propose the following revisions to infection period tables: (i) shorter minimum infection times for ascospores and conidia at or below 8°C, and (ii) because both ascospores and conidia are often present simultaneously during the season of ascospore production and the required minimum infection times appear to be similar for both spore types, the adoption of a uniform set of criteria for ascosporic and conidial infection based on times required for infection by ascospores to be applied during the period prior to the exhaustion of the ascospore supply. Further revisions of infection times for ascospores may be warranted in view of the delay of ascospore discharge and the reduction of airborne ascospore doses at temperatures at or below 2°C.