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Oversummer Survival of Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi in Relation to Pseudosclerotial Maturity and Soil Surface Environment

July 2001 , Volume 85 , Number  7
Pages  723 - 730

K. D. Cox and H. Scherm , Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens 30602

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Accepted for publication 9 March 2001.

Pseudosclerotia (infected, mummified fruit) on the orchard floor act as oversummering and overwintering structures and the sole source of primary inoculum of Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi, the causal agent of mummy berry disease of blueberry. Survival of pseudosclerotia may be affected by their maturity (degree of stromatization), which can vary considerably at the time of fruit abscission in early summer, and by variations in the soil surface environment. From July through October in 2 years, survival of pseudosclerotia of varying initial maturity (expressed as the proportion of fruit containing mature, melanized entostromata; immature, nonmelanized entostromata; or undifferentiated mycelia) was investigated in the laboratory relative to soil surface temperature and soil moisture content and in the field in relation to shading (full sun versus 50% shade) and ground cover (bare soil versus grass). In the laboratory, oversummer survival, expressed as the percentage of intact pseudosclerotia at the end of the experiment, was higher for cool soil temperatures (approximately 15°C), soils drier than field capacity, and pseudosclerotia containing mature entostromata. In the field, survival was related solely to initial maturity of pseudosclerotia and was highest for pseudosclerotia containing mature entostromata. Shading or grass ground cover did not significantly (P > 0.05) affect oversummer survival, presumably because they did not greatly modify soil temperature or soil moisture. When individual, intact pseudosclerotia were tested for viability using fluorescein diacetate staining, a linear relationship (r = 0.982, P < 0.0001, n = 90) between viable and intact pseudosclerotia was observed, supporting the use of the percentage of intact pseudosclerotia as a measure of oversummer survival.

Additional keywords: Vaccinium ashei

© 2001 The American Phytopathological Society