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Effect of Temperature and Moisture Period on Infection of Rhododendron ‘Cunningham's White’ by Phytophthora ramorum

September 2009 , Volume 99 , Number  9
Pages  1,045 - 1,052

Paul W. Tooley, Marsha Browning, Kerrie L. Kyde, and Dana Berner

United States Department of Agriculture--Agricultural Research Service, Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit, 1301 Ditto Avenue, Ft. Detrick, MD 21702-5023.

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Accepted for publication 18 May 2009.

We investigated the temperature and moisture conditions that allow Phytophthora ramorum to infect Rhododendron ‘Cunningham's White’. Most experiments were performed with a single P. ramorum isolate from the NA1 clonal lineage. For whole plants incubated in dew chambers at 10 to 31°C, the greatest proportion of diseased leaves, 77.5%, occurred at the optimum temperature of 20.5°C. Disease occurred over the entire range of temperatures tested, although amounts of disease were minor at the temperature extremes. For whole plants exposed to varying dew periods at 20°C and then incubated at 20°C for 7 days, a dew period as short as 1 h resulted in a small amount of disease; however, at least 4 h of dew were required for >10% of the leaves to become diseased. Moisture periods of 24 and 48 h resulted in the greatest number of diseased leaves. In detached-leaf, temperature-gradient-plate experiments, incubation at 22°C resulted in the greatest disease severity, followed by 18°C and then 14°C. In detached-leaf, moisture-tent experiments, a 1-h moisture period was sufficient to cause disease on 67 to 73% of leaves incubated for 7 days at 20°C. A statistical model for disease development that combined the effects of temperature and moisture period was generated using nonlinear regression. Our results define temperature and moisture conditions which allow infection by P. ramorum on Cunningham's White rhododendron, and show that P. ramorum is able to infect this host over a wide range of temperatures and moisture levels. The results indicate that P. ramorum has the potential to become established in parts of the United States that are outside its current range.

Additional keyword:infectivity.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2009