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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #435549

Research Project: Discovery and Management of Diseases of Floriculture Crops

Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Project Number: 8062-22410-007-013-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

Floriculture crops continue to be plagued by contagious diseases that are quickly disseminated from propagators to growers, and from one grower to another across the country. Awareness of the potential plant pathogens, the sanitation steps required to avoid them, and the control measures to use for disease prevention and mitigation are all critical to economic success of the greenhouse industry—and to quality of landscape performance for the gardening public. New diseases frequently occur in ornamental production systems because of the global nature of trade. This project will concentrate on identification of some new and undescribed diseases of important floriculture crops, as well as the best means to avoid these and other common diseases through cultivar choice. The opportunity for minimizing losses through the use of biological controls and new fungicides will also be explored and reported to the scientific community and the flower industry. We aim to develop new information that will bolster the effectiveness of integrated pest management programs in the flower industry at all levels. The objectives are to: 1) improve identification and management of Pythium and Phytophthora diseases causing root and stem rots, 2) improve knowledge of Fusarium wilt diseases of chrysanthemum, poinsettia, dahlia and other important crops, 3) increase understanding of bacterial pathogens invading leaves and vascular systems of flower crops and 4) develop black root rot (Thielaviopsis basicola) management options. Our studies will bring up-to-date scientific methods to bear on damaging disease problems that limit profitability.

Project objectives will be addressed by testing disease management strategies utilizing cultivar choice, biological controls and new fungicides in replicated greenhouse and field trials that will be statistically analyzed. Work will be conducted at Cornell University’s Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center in Riverhead, NY. We will collaborate closely with Oklahoma State University to precisely identify and track Pythium diseases in greenhouses through the use of molecular tools, and with Clemson University to better identify problems caused by Phytophthora species on flower crops. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station will collaborate on Fusarium wilt experiments. These studies will involve sampling from cooperating greenhouse operations on Long Island. Oomycete, fungal and bacterial isolates will be identified by the latest laboratory techniques (morphological and molecular). Bacterial pathogen identification will be done in cooperation with another ARS scientist in Ithaca, NY.