Lesion development and conidial production of <i>Neonectria ditissima </i>on apple trees in four New Zealand regions
This study examined incubation period, lesion length and conidial release in Neonectria ditissima (European canker) in four New Zealand regions in relation to climatic factors. Incubation period was studied on potted ‘Royal Gala’ trees inoculated with N. ditissima. One week after inoculation, symptomless trees were dispatched to Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Tasman, Otago and positive controls remained in a glasshouse. Conidial release was studied in trees with lesions that were dispatched to the same regions. Rain traps were placed under each lesion and conidia quantified after each rain event. Disease progress and conidial production were examined in relation to weather. Lesions developed significantly slower in Otago and faster in Waikato and the glasshouse, compared with Tasman and Hawke’s Bay. Symptom development accelerated with increasing daily hours of 11–16°C and humidity (74.6–87.2% RH). The highest conidium counts occurred in Waikato and the lowest in Otago, while conidial production started earlier in Tasman than elsewhere. Temperature is the main driver for symptom development during the incubation period and rainfall is not required. Rainfall frequency drives conidial production.