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Visual and Infrared Assessment of Root Colonization of Apple Trees by Phymatotrichopsis omnivora

    Authors and Affiliations
    • W. T. Watson
    • C. M. Kenerley
    • D. N. Appel , Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-2132

      Published Online:

      Root systems of 5-year-old, trellised apple trees (Malus domestica Borkh) on cv. M.7a root-stocks were assessed for the presence of fungal strands of Phymatotrichopsis omnivora (Duggar) Hennebert in two orchards in central Texas. Fungal advance within each orchard was assessed in five directions. Pathogen growth (P < 0.01) occurred beyond symptomatic trees along and perpendicularly across rows. In one orchard, 80% of the first asymptomatic trees were infected along rows, followed by 60% infection perpendicularly across rows. In the other orchard, there was 100% infection of the first asymptomatic trees along rows and 60% infection perpendicularly across rows. No growth was observed diagonally across rows in either orchard. Infrared readings of canopy temperature and differences between canopy temperature and air temperature were significant (P < 0.01) for predicting infection of asymptomatic, infected trees in one orchard. Trees were shown to have extensive taproot decay and infection of lateral roots before canopy symptoms began to develop. Root diameter appeared to have no effect on the growth of the fungus.