Root recovery rates for Phytophthora cinnamomi and rate of symptom development from root rot on Abies fraseri trees over 7 years
Phytophthora root rot on Abies fraseri trees was monitored from 2001 to 2007 within the disease front of a 12-year-old Virginia plantation where trees had been dying of the disease since 1994. After a slow increase in early foliage symptom development from July 2001 to September 2002, the frequency of A. fraseri trees with early symptoms accelerated for about 15 months. While the slow increase occurred during a 18.7% lower than normal rainfall period and the acceleration occurred during a 31.2% higher than normal rainfall period, the percentage of trees with early symptoms continued to increase during the mid-winter months (December–February) when the estimated mean minimum daily soil temperature (25 cm depth) was unfavourable (<10°C) to Phytophthora cinnamomi pathogenic activity. The time required for trees to progress from early foliage symptoms to completely dead foliage, from November 2000 to October 2007, was highly variable, ranging from 4 to 35 months. Root recovery rates for P. cinnamomi, assayed on a selective medium, were 6.4 times greater for symptomatic foliage trees than for asymptomatic foliage trees in this deep, silt-loam soil. Following an atypical cold period in February 2007, when the mean minimum daily soil temperature was 0.8°C, symptomatic roots yielded only a low level of germinable propagules of P. cinnamomi. Further, during an atypical midsummer in 2007 (June–August), when the soil water potential was at or below −9 bars for 68 of 92 days, symptomatic roots yielded no germinable propagules of P. cinnamomi. Addition of thiophanate-methyl to the selective medium aided P. cinnamomi isolation by inhibiting many undesired pythiaceous colonies growing from symptomatic roots.
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