Anthracnose canker integrated management plan for home gardeners in Western Washington
Miles, Carol A.
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Anthracnose canker, caused by the fungal pathogen Neofabraea malicorticis (synonym Cryptosporiopsis curvispora), and potentially Phlyctema vagabunda (synonym Neofabraea alba), is a major disease, limiting apple production in western Washington, western British Columbia, and the Columbia Gorge. The relatively mild temperatures combined with high humidity and frequent rains that occur during the autumn, winter, and spring in this region promote infection and disease development. Anthracnose canker is rare, or absent, on apple trees in the dry interior areas of the Pacific Northwest. Spores of the fungus infect healthy bark tissue, and the pathogen grows in the cambium beneath the bark for a period of time before killing the bark to form a visible canker. In the absence of effective management, the disease can readily spread within an entire orchard in a short period of time, killing young trees, and structurally weakening established trees. Spores produced on the dead canker bark can cause additional cankers in infected trees, as well as surrounding trees, and also can cause a postharvest fruit rot (known as bull's-eye rot). The key to effectively managing anthracnose canker is to inspect apple trees regularly and apply treatments within the appropriate timeframe.