UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Cover Crops as Reservoirs for Young Vine Decline Pathogens Rosa, Daniel; Sharifi, Mehdi; Hart, Miranda


Young vine decline (YVD) is a grapevine trunk disease (GTD) which results in stunted and delayed growth, reduced yield, root necrosis and eventually death of young vines. Given losses associated with root trunk disease, and increasing limits on chemical fungicides, there is a need for sustainable approaches to combat disease; (1) Cover cropping is a commonly used practice in agricultural systems and has potential to reduce disease in vineyards but there is a risk that cover crop species may act as a host for grapevine pathogens, increasing the risk of infection; (2) We tested 25 plant species commonly used in cover crops to assess their potential to act as a host for a Ilyonectria liriodendri, which is a causal agent of young vine decline. We inoculated greenhouse pots with a pathogeninc strain of Ilyonectria and assayed the roots for the presence of the pathogen; (3) Of the 25 cover crops tested, many of the species showed increased root abundance of Ilyonectria, compared to background levels. In particular phacelia (Phacelia tanacetifolia) and buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) showed very high levels of root colonization. (4) This is the first study to our knowledge that highlights the potential of cover crops to soil borne fungal pathogens.

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