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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Crops Pathology and Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #309363

Research Project: Sustainable Vineyard Production Systems

Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

Title: Research promises earlier warning for grapevine canker diseases

Author
item Baumgartner, Kendra
item Northcutt, Greg - Western Farm Press

Submitted to: Trade Journal Publication
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/27/2014
Publication Date: 3/27/2014
Publication URL: http://westernfarmpress.com/grapes/research-promises-earlier-warning-grapevine-canker-diseases)
Citation: Baumgartner, K., Northcutt, G. 2014. Research promises earlier warning for grapevine canker diseases. Trade Journal Publication.

Interpretive Summary: When it comes to detecting and treating vineyards for grapevine canker diseases (also called trunk diseases), like Botryosphaeria dieback (Bot canker), Esca, Eutypa dieback and Phomopsis dieback, the earlier the better, says plant pathologist Kendra Baumgartner, with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, based at the University of California, Davis. That’s why she’s leading a team of researchers and UC Cooperative Extension specialists and farm advisors to develop tools that will enable growers to do just that. These trunk diseases are triggered by rain splash which disperses fungal spores that enter the vine through wounds left by pruning or other injury. Typically, growers take action to control these disease once they begin seeing symptoms in the field. Usually, though, those signs aren’t apparent until the vines are about seven to eight years old. By then, the diseases may have been festering inside healthy-looking wood for several years, starting the vineyard on a slow, steady decline in grape yields and quality. While various treatment practices at this point can prevent infection of pruning wounds, they won’t eradicate wood cankers from already infected vines, which slowly succumb to the effects of the disease. Eventually, productivity drops to uneconomic levels. Baumgartner’s team is working on field and laboratory techniques that would offer growers a simple, quick way to identify canker diseases on vines as young as, say, three years. It would involve placing traps in the vineyard to collect fungal spores following a rain event and sending them to a lab for analysis. Researchers currently use spore traps to study powdery mildew infections in vineyards. Baumgartner’s team is developing new, relatively easy-to-perform lab procedures for analyzing the ‘trap catches’ that would identify any disease spores within a day.

Technical Abstract: When it comes to detecting and treating vineyards for grapevine canker diseases (also called trunk diseases), like Botryosphaeria dieback (Bot canker), Esca, Eutypa dieback and Phomopsis dieback, the earlier the better, says plant pathologist Kendra Baumgartner, with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, based at the University of California, Davis. That’s why she’s leading a team of researchers and UC Cooperative Extension specialists and farm advisors to develop tools that will enable growers to do just that. These trunk diseases are triggered by rain splash which disperses fungal spores that enter the vine through wounds left by pruning or other injury. Typically, growers take action to control these disease once they begin seeing symptoms in the field. Usually, though, those signs aren’t apparent until the vines are about seven to eight years old. By then, the diseases may have been festering inside healthy-looking wood for several years, starting the vineyard on a slow, steady decline in grape yields and quality. While various treatment practices at this point can prevent infection of pruning wounds, they won’t eradicate wood cankers from already infected vines, which slowly succumb to the effects of the disease. Eventually, productivity drops to uneconomic levels. Baumgartner’s team is working on field and laboratory techniques that would offer growers a simple, quick way to identify canker diseases on vines as young as, say, three years. It would involve placing traps in the vineyard to collect fungal spores following a rain event and sending them to a lab for analysis. Researchers currently use spore traps to study powdery mildew infections in vineyards. Baumgartner’s team is developing new, relatively easy-to-perform lab procedures for analyzing the ‘trap catches’ that would identify any disease spores within a day.