Sources of inoculum for Colletotrichum acutatum in cherry and apple


Abstract: Colletotrichum acutatum causes bitter rot (often named anthracnose) in cherry and apple. It is the most important fruit decay in sour cherry in Norway and may give severe losses also in sweet cherry and apple. We have found the fungus in all fruit and berry crops grown commercially in the country and on many ornamentals and a few weeds. Single spore isolates frequently developed the ascigerous stage of the fungus (Glomerella acutata) in culture, but it was not detected on apple or cherry plant material. If still attached to the tree, fruits and fruit stalks of sour cherry infected the previous year produced conidial inoculum throughout the entire following season. Also newly infected sour cherry flowers produced conidial inoculum until harvest. Up to 80% of the fruit spurs on sweet cherry had buds infected with C. acutatum in spring. Apple buds also contained the fungus, but to a much lower extent. More than 90% of the sweet cherry leaves could be infected with C. acutatum around harvest in heavily infected orchards. Symptoms on leaves never appeared in the orchards. We also found such asymptomatic leaf infections in apples. Most of the inoculum seemed to be present on the fruit trees themselves. However, initial inoculum in newly established, disease free plantings may be introduced from older fruit trees, ornamentals and weeds in or in close vicinity to the orchards.

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