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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346360

Research Project: Evaluation and Genetic Improvement of Woody Ornamental Landscape Plants for Disease and Pest Tolerance, Non-Invasiveness, and Ornamental Traits

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Title: Screening ornamental cherry (Prunus) taxa for resistance to infection by Blumeriella jaapii

Author
item GUO, YONGHONG(HENRY) - Rutgers University
item Kramer, Matthew
item Pooler, Margaret

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2017
Publication Date: 2/1/2018
Citation: Guo, Y., Kramer, M.H., Pooler, M.R. 2018. Screening ornamental cherry (Prunus) taxa for resistance to infection by Blumeriella jaapii. HortScience. 53:200-203. https://doi.org/10/21273/HORTSCI12564-17.

Interpretive Summary: Ornamental flowering cherry trees are popular plants for street, commercial, and residential landscapes. Nearly 1.2 million trees are grown each year in the U.S., with an annual value of over $33 million. However, flowering cherry trees are susceptible to a number of serious pests and disease problems. A fungal disease called cherry leaf spot causes susceptible trees to lose their leaves in late summer, leading to weakening or even death of the tree. In order to identify resistant plants for use in landscape plantings and in our breeding program, ARS scientists in Beltsville, MD developed a laboratory assay to screened 69 diverse ornamental flowering cherry trees for resistance to cherry leaf spot. We found clear differences in susceptibility among the accessions, with seven accessions developing virtually no symptoms at all. The detached leaf assay used in this study is an effective method for screening large numbers of plants for relative resistance to cherry leaf spot. These methods will be particularly useful to screen hybrids in breeding and selection programs.

Technical Abstract: Ornamental flowering cherry trees are important landscape plants in the U.S., but are susceptible to a number of serious pests and disease problems. Cherry leaf spot, caused by the fungus Blumeriella jaapii, is characterized by defoliating susceptible trees in late summer, leading to weakening or even death of the tree. In order to identify resistant plants for use in landscape plantings and in our breeding program, we used a detached leaf assay to screen 69 diverse ornamental flowering cherry taxa for resistance to cherry leaf spot. We found clear differences in susceptibility among the accessions, with seven accessions developing virtually no symptoms at all. A variance decomposition showed that most of the variance (59%) occurred among accessions, indicating that genotype, even more than species, determined susceptibility. The detached leaf assay used in this study is an effective method for screening large numbers of plants for relative resistance to cherry leaf spot. These methods will be particularly useful to characterize germplasm and screen hybrids in breeding and selection programs.