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Plant Pathology Research: Determining grapevine fungus may help fight disease

Researchers at Washington State University have documented seven fungal species that cause cankers in grapevines. These new findings could reduce the incidence of grapevine trunk disease in Washington vineyards by preventing the problem before it becomes widespread.

Fungi infect the wood of grapevine trunks (or cordons) through pruning wounds, resulting in cankers that enlarge over time and ultimately kill the plant.

Leslie Holland said that they found a diversity of canker-causing fungi, and knowing there are seven species allows to address each one specifically. “Because the fungi differ in their biology and dispersal, we can work on customizing management methods now that we better understand the causes.”

Glawe found that the cuts had allowed fungal pathogens to enter the vines. Because cankers can take a decade or so to develop and cause problems, the infected Concord vines had been slowly dying unbeknownst to vineyard owners from what would come to be known as trunk canker disease.


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