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Spatial Distribution of Venturia inaequalis Airborne Ascospores in Orchards

July 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  7
Pages  769 - 779

J. Charest , M. Dewdney , T. Paulitz , V. Philion , and O. Carisse

First, second, and third authors: Department of Plant Science, McGill University, 21,111 Lakeshore Road, Sainte-Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, Canada; H9X 3V9; fourth author: IRDA, Sainte-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada, J2S 7B8; and fifth author: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Horticultural Research Centre, 430 Gouin Blvd., Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec, Canada, J3B 3E6

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Accepted for publication 22 March 2002.

Apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) causes important economic losses in many apple production areas of the world. The disease is controlled by numerous fungicide applications regardless of the presence of ascospores in the orchard. Airborne ascospore concentration (AAC) can be measured in real time to time fungicide applications. However, the level of heterogeneity of the AAC in commercial orchards was unknown. Consequently, the spatial distribution of V. inaequalis ascospores was studied in a commercial apple orchard of 0.43 ha. The potential ascospore dose (PAD) and AAC were measured in 40 quadrats each of 108 m2. In each quadrat, the AAC was monitored during the major rain events in spring 1999 and 2000 using spore samplers. The variance-to-mean ratio for the PAD and for most of the AAC sampling dates was >1, indicating an aggregated pattern of distribution. None of the frequency distributions of the most important ascospore ejection events followed the Poisson probability distribution, indicating that the pattern of distribution was not random. For all events, AAC had an aggregated pattern of distribution as suggested by the negative binomial distribution. The PAD followed neither the Poisson nor the negative binomial distribution. Geostatistical analyses confirmed the aggregated pattern of distribution. The cultivars had an effect on the PAD and AAC distribution pattern, but both PAD and AAC were not uniformly distributed within a block of the same cultivar. Therefore, the number, location, and height of samplers required to estimate AAC in orchards need to be investigated before using information on AAC for decision making.

Additional keywords: aerobiology, disease management, geostastical analysis, spore trapping.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society