Research Associate, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Hawaii, 3190 Maile Way, Honolulu 96822
Forester Forestry Protection Section, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, 1151 Punchbowl St., Honolulu 96813
Inoculations of Septoria passiflorae for biological control of banana poka (Passiflora tripartita var. tripartita) at different forest sites in Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui resulted in successful establishment of the Septoria leaf spot disease at all sites during 1996. Semi-annual monitoring of sites in 1997 revealed low disease incidence and no disease spread to adjacent non-inoculated plants. Site inspections in March 1998 revealed light disease epidemics causing visible defoliation at inoculated sites on Kauai and Maui. Banana poka biomass reduction at sites with light epidemics of the disease in Kauai and Maui were estimated to be less than 10% in 1998, whereas in 1999 biomass reduction ranged from 50 to 95%. Five of 11 inoculation sites in 1996 on the island of Hawaii showed no disease. These five sites on Kaloko had frequent acid rainfall averaging 3.2 pH, which inhibited spore germination and infection. Six sites, free of acid rain, three at Hilo Forest Reserve and three at Puuwaawaa Wildlife Sanctuary, had severe disease epidemics by 1998, and vine defoliation was >90%. Widespread epidemics of the disease occurred in 1999, resulting in estimated 80 to 95% biomass reductions in more than 2,000 hectares of native forest infested with banana poka.