First and third authors: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, University of California, Riverside 92521; and second author: Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis 95616.
Blossoms, leaves, fruit, and woody tissues of almond can be affected by anthracnose caused by Colletotrichum acutatum. Because the disease occurs throughout rainy spring seasons, the effect of temperature and wetness duration on disease development was evaluated in controlled studies. The lowest inoculum concentration where disease developed on leaves was 104 conidia/ml. Longer wetness durations were needed for leaves than for blossoms and disease increased linearly with increasing wetness durations. Inoculation temperature mainly affected final disease levels. Temperature during incubation affected the rate of disease development, while final disease levels were very similar at 10, 15, or 20°C. An analysis of covariance was performed to compare regressions of the effects of wetness and temperature on disease development for several almond cultivars. For blossom inoculations at 15°C in growth-chamber studies, a common slope model was statistically sufficient to describe all four cultivars. Cultivar Nonpareil (NP) had a significantly (P < 0.05) lower adjusted means at the midpoint than cultivars Carmel (CA), NePlus Ultra (NU), and Wood Colony (WC). For blossom inoculations at 20°C and for leaf inoculations at all temperatures evaluated, an unequal slope model was statistically justified for comparing regression lines. For blossoms, the slopes were significantly different (P < 0.05) for pair-wise comparisons of CA-NU, NU-WC, and NP-WC. For leaves, most of the cultivars responded differently to infection at different temperatures. Two of the pair-wise comparisons demonstrated unequal slopes at all three temperatures evaluated (i.e., NU-NP and NU-WC). Overall, for blossoms and leaves, NP was the least susceptible, NU was the most susceptible, and WC and CA showed an intermediate susceptibility. In field blossom and fruit studies, a common slope model was statistically sufficient to describe all four cultivars. NP had a significantly lower midpoint (i.e., was less susceptible) than CA or WC, whereas no significant difference (P > 0.1) occurred in comparisons between CA and WC.