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Spatial Pattern Analysis of Sharka Disease (Plum pox virus Strain M) in Peach Orchards of Southern France

December 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  12
Pages  1,543 - 1,552

Sylvie Dallot , Tim Gottwald , Gérard Labonne , and Jean-Bernard Quiot

First and second authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory, 2001 South Rock Road, Ft. Pierce, FL 34945; and third and fourth authors: UMR BGPI, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 2 place Viala, 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1, France

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Accepted for publication 8 July 2003.

The spatial pattern of Sharka disease, caused by Plum pox virus (PPV) strain M, was investigated in 18 peach plots located in two areas of southern France. PPV infections were monitored visually for each individual tree during one to three consecutive years. Point pattern and correlation-type approaches were undertaken using the binary data directly or after parsing them in contiguous quadrats of 4, 9, and 16 trees. Ordinary runs generally revealed a low but variable proportion of rows with adjacent symptomatic trees. Aggregation of disease incidence was indicated by the θ parameter of the beta-binomial distribution and related indices in 15 of the 18 plots tested for at least one assessment date of each. When aggregation was detected, it was indicated at all quadrat sizes and tended to be a function of disease incidence, as shown by the binary form of Taylor's power law. Spatial analysis by distance indices (SADIE) showed a nonrandom arrangement of quadrats with infected trees in 14 plots. The detection of patch clusters enclosing quadrats with above-average density of symptomatic trees, ellipsoidal in shape and generally extending from 4 to 14 trees within rows and from 4 to 10 trees perpendicular to the rows, could be interpreted as local areas of influence of PPV spread. Spatial patterns at the plot scale were often characterized by the occurrence of several clusters of infected trees located up to 90 m apart in the direction of the rows. When several time assessments were available, increasing clustering over time was generally evidenced by stronger values of the clustering index and by increasing patch cluster size. The combination of the different approaches revealed a wide range of spatial patterns of PPV-M, from no aggregation to high aggregation of symptomatic trees at all spatial scales investigated. Such patterns suggested that aphid transmission to neighboring trees occurred frequently but was not systematic. The mechanism of primary virus introduction, the age and structure of the orchards when infected, and the diversity of vector species probably had a strong influence on the secondary spread of the disease. This study provides a more complete understanding of PPV-M patterns which could help to improve targeting of removal of PPV-infected trees for more effective disease control.

Additional keywords: Prunus persica, spatial statistic.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2003