First, second, third, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), Geneva 14456; and fourth author: South Australian Research and Development Institute, Loxton Research Centre, Loxton 5333
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Accepted for publication 25 October 2006.
Several aspects of grapevine downy mildew epidemiology that are fundamental to model predictions were investigated. Simple rainfall-, temperature-, and phenology-based thresholds (rain > 2.5 mm; temperature > 11°C; and phenology > Eichorn and Lorenz [E&L] growth stage 12) were evaluated to forecast primary (oosporic) infection by Plasmopara viticola. The threshold was consistent across 15 years of historical data on the highly susceptible cv. Chancellor at one site, and successfully predicted the initial outbreak of downy mildew for 2 of 3 years at three additional sites. Field inoculations demonstrated that shoot tissue was susceptible to infection as early as E&L stage 5, suggesting that initial germination of oospores, rather than acquisition of host susceptibility, was probably the limiting factor in the initiation of disease outbreaks. We also found that oospores may continue to germinate and cause infections throughout the growing season, in contrast to the widely-held assumption that the supply of oospores is depleted shortly after bloom. Lesion productivity (sporangia/lesion) did not decline with age of a lesion in the absence of suitable weather to induce sporulation. However, the productivity of all lesions declined rapidly through repeated cycles of sporulation. Extremely high temperatures (i.e., one day reaching 42.8°C) had an eradicative effect under vineyard conditions, and permanently reduced sporulation from existing (but not incubating) lesions to trace levels, despite a later return to weather conducive to sporulation. In fair weather, most sporangia died sometime during the daylight period immediately following their production. However, over 50% of sporangia still released zoospores after 12 to 24 h of exposure to overcast conditions.
© 2007 The American Phytopathological Society