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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Byron, Georgia » Fruit and Tree Nut Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346110

Research Project: Breeding Stone Fruit Adapted to the Production Environment of the Southeastern United States

Location: Fruit and Tree Nut Research

Title: Evaluation of chemical, genetic and biological control strategies for Armillaria root rot of peach

item Beckman, Thomas - Tom
item Chavez, Dario - University Of Georgia
item Scherm, Harald - University Of Georgia
item Taylor, Katherine

Submitted to: Acta Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/3/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Armillaria Root Rot is an important disease of temperate fruit species worldwide. In the southeastern US peach industry it is now the most important cause of premature tree death. At present there are no effective chemical or biological controls for this disease. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the efficacy of several experimental and standard fumigant applied in a novel manner to enhance their effectiveness. A genetic treatment consisting of two rootstocks, one an advanced plum hybrid rootstock selection and the other a standard commercial peach seedling rootstock was included. Finally, a biological treatment (Trichoderma) that had shown promise for control of Armillaria in Europe was trialed as well. None of the fumigants nor the biological (Trichoderma) treatment provided a significant reduction in losses to Armillaria. A significant reduction in losses to Armillaria was achieved with only the advanced plum hybrid rootstock selection. This work underscores the need to continue the development of new control measures and rootstock materials for the control of this disease.

Technical Abstract: Armillaria root rot (ARR), incited by Armillaria tabescens (Desarmillaria tabescens), is a major soil-borne disease in many stone fruit production areas worldwide. Following the release of Guardian peach rootstock in 1993 to address the then primary issue of peach tree short life, ARR has become the most important cause of premature tree mortality in the southeastern US peach industry. Attempts to eradicate the fungus via either chemical fumigants or cultural management practices, such as root removal or fallowing, have rarely achieved measureable success. The purpose of this trial was to compare three pre-plant chemical fumigants, genetic resistance (plum vs. peach rootstock) and a biological control agent (Trichoderma harzianum) either alone or in combination with each other as possible controls. The trial was conducted on a peach site with a known history of ARR utilizing a split-split plot design with fumigation treatment (methyl bromide, methyl iodide, Telone-C35 or unfumigated) as the main plot, rootstock treatment (a plum selection vs. Nemaguard peach seedling) as the split plot and biocontrol treatment (T. harzianum applied for the first 3 years vs. water check) as the split-split plot. Entering the 15th growing season only genetic resistance, i.e. the plum rootstock selection, provided any significant suppression of tree losses due to ARR.