Agricultural Research Service FDWSRU, Fort Detrick, Frederick, MD 21702.
Foliar hosts of Phytophthora ramorum are often susceptible to root infection but the epidemiological significance of such infections is unknown. A standardized test system was developed to quantify inoculum in runoff from root-infected Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’ or Rhododendron ‘Cunningham's White’ cuttings. Cuttings of both species gave off a maximum amount of inoculum 1 to 3 weeks after inoculation. The greatest amount of inoculum was recovered from Viburnum roots that were 48 to 70 days old at the time of inoculation, or roots incubated at 15 to 20°C rather than 25°C. Inoculum in runoff from inoculated Viburnum roots was similar for four different isolates of P. ramorum representing both the NA1 and EU1 lineages. When Rhododendron cuttings were inoculated with P. ramorum, P. citricola, or P. cactorum, inoculum of all three pathogens was recovered from runoff, with the highest amount recovered from plants inoculated with P. citricola, followed by the other two. Compared with the other two pathogens, P. ramorum colonized root tissue to a smaller extent. The epidemiology of root infection by P. ramorum is important in itself but the assay might lend itself for use in risk analysis for root infection of other plant species and evaluation of control measures, and also shed light on other root-infecting Phytophthora spp.