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Effects of Timing of Copper Sprays, Defoliation, Rainfall, and Inoculum Concentration on Incidence of Olive Knot Disease

February 2004 , Volume 88 , Number  2
Pages  131 - 135

Beth L. Teviotdale , Department of Plant Pathology, University of California-Davis, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier 93648 ; and William H. Krueger , University of California-UCCE, Orland 95963

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Accepted for publication 31 August 2003.

The olive knot pathogen, Pseudomonas savastanoi, causes galls on shoots, branches, fruit, and leaves. Shoots girdled by galls die. Any fresh wound is susceptible to infection, but the most common entry sites are leaf scars. Leaf scars are most susceptible to infection during the first 2 days after leaf fall and remain susceptible for 7 more days. Simulated leaf scars on ‘Manzanillo’ olive trees were created by removing leaves from healthy shoots at approximately monthly intervals from December through June 1997-98, 1998-99, and 1999-2000. Trees were treated with a water suspension of cupric hydroxide (Kocide DF40) at 3 g/liter one, two, or three times in 1998-99 and 1999-2000 with a hand-gun sprayer. Generally, disease control improved with more applications (P = 0.008 and 0.032 in 1999 and 2000, respectively). Disease incidence was greatest on shoots that were defoliated in March 1998, April and June 1999, and March and May 2000. Cumulative rainfall 2 and 9 days after each defoliation was recorded. Disease incidence was positively correlated (P = 0.031 and 0.023 for 2 and 9 days, respectively) with spring (March through June) but not winter (December through February) rainfall. Comparable simulated leaf scars were inoculated in December and April 1997-98 and 1998-99 with 104, 106, and 108 CFU/ml of the pathogen and treated with a water suspension of cupric hydroxide at 3 g/liter using a handheld pump sprayer. Inoculated and noninoculated, nontreated shoots were included. More disease developed in April than in December inoculations (P = <0.0001) in both years. Disease incidence increased with increasing inoculum concentration (P = <0.0001) in both years and was lower in shoots treated with Kocide DF40 (P = <0.0001). Our work demonstrated that the common grower practice of one post-harvest application of copper bactericide provides only minimal protection against olive knot, and that additional sprays in spring are needed to substantially improve disease control.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society