Phytophthora cactorum

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Phytophthora cactorum symptoms on Paeonia
Author(s): Paul Bachi, University of Kentucky Research and Education Center
Source: IPM Images

Phytophthora cactorum (Lebert & Cohn) J. Schröt. 1886

The oomycete is common in temperate and subtropical regions and causes root, collar, crown and fruit rots on many crops. Crops from the family Rosaceae are more often infected, among them strawberry (leather rot), apple, peach and nut crops (e.g. shuck and kernel rot of pecan). On strawberry, the disease is typically introduced through the planting material and infects the vascular system, leading to leather rot of the fruits, wilting and plant death. In apple and pear, infections start as root rot or collar rot, causing stunting or decline and eventually death of the trees after several seasons.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Kragenfäule des Apfel
• English: crown and root rot of apple
collar rot of apple
shuck and kernel rot of pecan
strawberry leather rot
• Español: podredumbre del tronco del manzano
• Français: pourridié phytophthoréen de pommier

The pathogen persists in plant debris (up to 3 or 4 years) and in the soil as oospores and chlamydospores. It disperses through rain splashes or irrigation water. Control or prevention involves avoiding excessive soil moisture, resistant cultivars and fungicides like phosphorous acid.

Sporangia are egg-shaped, around 30-45 µm long, 20-30 µm wide and contain more than 50 zoospores. Chlamydospores are spherical, around 25 µm in diameter. The species is homothallic and oogonia are 25-30 µm in diameter with a tapered base.