Diseases of landscape plants

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Diseases of landscape plants affect public health. They are costly to agro-economy and society. This is the case of the Phytophthora root rot (PRR), one of the most widespread diseases of turfgrasses worldwide, causing an estimated annual net loss of more than one billion US dollars in the turfgrass industry and of 66 million US dollars in the United States alone [[@pone.0223216.ref001]]. PRR destroys turfgrasses and may cause the formation of macroscopic galls, leaf sheaths, and sporangia from the roots to the top of the plant canopy. The disease may also lead to the premature death of plants. PRR is caused by *Phytophthora* spp. oomycetes that reproduce by the production of zoospores (blooms), which are released from the sporangia to infect the roots of plants. The pathogens can be water-borne, wind-borne, or soil-borne [[@pone.0223216.ref002]]. A comprehensive review of PRR in turfgrasses was edited by Hagoort [[@pone.0223216.ref003]].

The pathogen is one of the most studied oomycetes because of its devastating impact on turfgrasses [[@pone.0223216.ref004]]. PRR has been reported in nearly all the worldwide continents and is mainly distributed in warm regions. In temperate areas, it has been reported in the United States since the early 1990s in North America and in Europe, and in the Mediterranean region in the past decade [[@pone.0223216.ref005],[@pone.0223216.ref006]]. Interestingly, a recent study showed that phylogenetic analyses indicate that pathogenic species of oomycetes reported in the literature are not genetically confined to their geographic distribution [[@pone.0223216.ref007]].

Importance of turfgrass management {#sec001}


In general, there are two main approaches to control PRR: cultural management and chemical control. Cultural management is mainly based on reducing the spread of the disease in order to reduce the incidence of PRR: removing infected plants, no-tillage, blowing irrigation, using resistant cultivars, and applying copper or TRIS-base fungicides (i.e., TRIS = potassium 2-[bis(2-ethylhexyl) sulfosuccinate]) in the early stages of the disease development [[@pone.0223216.ref008]]. Chemical control of PRR is based on the use of copper or TRIS-base fungicides applied at the time of sporangia production as a pre-infection treatment or soil drenches. The site of application of the chemical fungicides is usually at the time of sporangia production. This approach reduces the number of infectious propagules and increases the cost of fungicides [[@pone.0223216.ref009]--[@pone.0223216.ref013]].

Urgent need of alternative fungicides {#sec002}


Notwithstanding the efficacy of most copper fungicides like for example copper oxychloride (CuOCl~2~), copper sulfate (CuSO~4~), or copper hydroxide (Cu(OH)~2~), there is an urgent need for new alternative safe fungicides [[@pone.0223216.ref013]]. Many agricultural and non-agricultural chemicals have been screened for their ability to control PRR, but only a few have shown efficacy [[@pone.0223216.ref014]]. Tris is a copper-based fungicide (EC 200.14) that has been widely used in agriculture. However, in the last years, some concerns related to its high toxicity to aquatic organisms have been raised [[@pone.0223216.ref015]--[@pone.0223216.ref018]].

More recently, new alternative fungicides have been investigated for their effectiveness against PRR. Among them, we have relevant fungicides such as *O*,*O*´-diethylthiuron [[@pone.0223216.ref019]], oxathiapiprolin [[@pone.0223216.ref020]--[@pone.0223216.ref022]], bipyridylthiourea [[@pone.0223216.ref023]], chlorothalonil [[@pone.0223216.ref024]--[@pone.0223216.ref027]], cymoxanil [[@pone.0223216.ref028]], proteic [[@pone.0223216.ref029],[@pone.0223216.ref030]], selfulur [[@pone.0223216.ref031]], polyoxamid [[@pone.0223216.ref032]], or spirotetramat [[@pone.0223216.ref033]].

Commercial fungicides that have been evaluated against PRR {#sec003}


Zambak (Unicef) {#sec

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