Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva 14456
The period of fruit susceptibility to Guignardia bidwellii (anamorph Phyllosticta ampelicida), the causal agent of grape black rot, was determined in the field. Intact fruit were inoculated weekly from bloom until 8 weeks later with a suspension containing 2 × 105 conidia per ml. Disease progress was monitored approximately every 2 days until 3 to 5 weeks after inoculation, depending on the year and variety. Fruit of Vitis × labruscana ‘Concord’ exhibited a period of maximum susceptibility from midbloom until 2 to 4 weeks later, although some berries became symptomatic when inoculated 4 to 5 weeks postbloom. Fruit of V. vinifera ‘Chardonnay’ and ‘Riesling’ exhibited a period of maximum susceptibility from midbloom until 3 to 5 weeks later, although some berries retained their susceptibility until 6 to 7 weeks postbloom. These susceptible periods were approximately 2 to 4 weeks shorter than previously assumed. Fruit age at the time of inoculation affected the length of the incubation period (time from inoculation until symptom appearance). When the incubation period was defined in terms of degree hours (base = 0°C) accumulated after inoculation, DH50 values (the number of degree hours required to reach 50% of final disease severity) increased by at least 50% as berries neared the end of their susceptible period. Newly symptomatic berries continued to appear for over 1 month after inoculation of older fruit. Thus, age-related or ontogenic, host resistance was manifested as both a decline in susceptibility and a significant increase in incubation period length. The control of black rot is likely to be improved by tailoring the intensity of fungicidal protection to the abbreviated period of fruit susceptibility defined in this study. Furthermore, the efficacy of management programs and the results of epidemiological studies are likely to be misinterpreted unless the variable effect of fruit age on incubation period length is recognized.