Botryosphaeria Canker – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Tree Diseases and Pests Glossary

What is Botryosphaeria Canker?

Botryosphaeria Canker is a fungal disease caused by various species of the Botryosphaeria fungus. This disease primarily affects woody plants, including trees and shrubs, by infecting and damaging their bark and cambium layer. Botryosphaeria Canker is a common problem in orchards, vineyards, and forests, where it can cause significant economic losses due to reduced crop yields and tree mortality.

What are the symptoms of Botryosphaeria Canker?

The symptoms of Botryosphaeria Canker vary depending on the host plant and the severity of the infection. Common symptoms include sunken, discolored lesions on the bark, wilting or dieback of branches, and cankers that ooze sap or gum. Infected trees may also exhibit stunted growth, yellowing or browning of leaves, and premature leaf drop. In severe cases, Botryosphaeria Canker can girdle branches or trunks, leading to tree death.

How does Botryosphaeria Canker spread?

Botryosphaeria Canker spreads through spores produced by the fungus, which are dispersed by wind, rain, insects, and pruning tools. The fungus can enter plants through wounds, such as cuts, abrasions, or frost damage, as well as through natural openings, like stomata or lenticels. Once inside the plant, the fungus colonizes the vascular tissues, causing damage to the plant’s ability to transport water and nutrients.

How can Botryosphaeria Canker be prevented?

Preventing Botryosphaeria Canker involves implementing cultural practices that promote plant health and reduce the risk of infection. These practices include avoiding pruning during wet weather, maintaining proper spacing between plants to improve air circulation, and providing adequate irrigation and nutrition to reduce stress on the plants. Additionally, removing and destroying infected plant material can help prevent the spread of the disease to healthy plants.

How is Botryosphaeria Canker treated?

There is no cure for Botryosphaeria Canker once a plant is infected, but there are management strategies that can help reduce the impact of the disease. These strategies include pruning out infected branches to improve air circulation and reduce the spread of the fungus, applying fungicides to protect healthy tissue from infection, and promoting plant vigor through proper irrigation and fertilization. In severe cases, it may be necessary to remove and replace infected plants to prevent the spread of the disease.

What are the common host trees of Botryosphaeria Canker?

Botryosphaeria Canker can infect a wide range of woody plants, including fruit trees, ornamental trees, and forest trees. Common host trees of Botryosphaeria Canker include apple, pear, peach, cherry, grapevine, oak, maple, and pine. These trees are susceptible to infection when exposed to the fungus through wounds or stress, making it important for growers and homeowners to monitor their plants for symptoms of the disease and take proactive measures to prevent its spread.