Tiesen Cao, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutrition Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5 Canada; and
Theodore M. DeJong, Department of Plant Sciences, and
Bruce C. Kirkpatrick, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Davis 95616
Development of almond leaf scorch (ALS) disease was monitored on young almond (Prunus dulcis ‘NePlus’ and ‘Peerless’) shoots produced from almond scion wood that was high-grafted on peach rootstocks (P. persica ‘Queencrest/Nemaguard’), after the almond shoots were mechanically inoculated with Xylella fastidiosa. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential movement of X. fastidiosa through almond–peach graft unions. ALS symptoms developed on both X. fastidiosa-inoculated and uninoculated almond shoots that were high-grafted on different peach limbs of the same tree in September following inoculations with X. fastidiosa made in June and July 2002, respectively, when the average distance in peach rootstock between the two almond–peach graft unions was 30.5 cm or shorter. No ALS symptoms were observed on uninoculated almond shoots late in the growing season of the second year. The incidence of ALS-affected leaves on shoots inoculated with X. fastidiosa decreased in the second year on the inoculated shoots of Peerless as determined by the number of inoculated shoots showing ALS symptoms in 2002 versus 2003. No visible ALS symptoms were observed in NePlus late in the growing season of the second year, suggesting that survival of X. fastidiosa in NePlus was less than in Peerless. These data demonstrate that movement of X. fastidiosa through two almond–peach graft unions was possible during the year of inoculation when the peach rootstock stem distance between the two almond–peach graft unions was minimal. However, X. fastidiosa may not survive the winter season or survived so poorly as not to be able to produce ALS symptoms in the second growing season on the uninoculated shoots that previously showed ALS symptoms in the fall of the year when an adjacent shoot was inoculated. The results suggest that high-grafting almond scion wood on multiple peach rootstock limbs may provide a means to limit movement of X. fastidiosa from one almond limb to another on the same tree.