First and fourth authors: Department of Crop and Soil Science, and first and third authors: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331; and second and fifth authors: Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, 3420 NW Orchard Ave., Corvallis, OR 97330.
Nursery plants are important vectors for plant pathogens. Understanding what pathogens occur in nurseries in different production stages can be useful to the development of integrated systems approaches. Four horticultural nurseries in Oregon were sampled every 2 months for 4 years to determine the identity and community structure of Phytophthora spp. associated with different sources and stages in the nursery production cycle. Plants, potting media, used containers, water, greenhouse soil, and container yard substrates were systematically sampled from propagation to the field. From 674 Phytophthora isolates recovered, 28 different species or taxa were identified. The most commonly isolated species from plants were Phytophthora plurivora (33%), P. cinnamomi (26%), P. syringae (19%), and P. citrophthora (11%). From soil and gravel substrates, P. plurivora accounted for 25% of the isolates, with P. taxon Pgchlamydo, P. cryptogea, and P. cinnamomi accounting for 18, 17, and 15%, respectively. Five species (P. plurivora, P. syringae, P. taxon Pgchlamydo, P. gonapodyides, and P. cryptogea) were found in all nurseries. The greatest diversity of taxa occurred in irrigation water reservoirs (20 taxa), with the majority of isolates belonging to internal transcribed spacer clade 6, typically including aquatic opportunists. Nurseries differed in composition of Phytophthora communities across years, seasons, and source within the nursery. These findings suggest likely contamination hazards and target critical control points for management of Phytophthora disease using a systems approach.