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Grower Notes and Pest News

IPM information app from University of California about strawberry pests and diseases


Extending research information is an important part of Cooperative Extension.  As communication technology is advancing every day, using modern channels of communication are important for successfully reaching out to growers, PCAs, and other key players of the agriculture industry.  Electronic newsletters - Strawberries and Vegetables and Pest News, traditional newsletter – Central Coast Agriculture Highlights, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds - @calstrawberries and @calveggies, and Tumblr posts, and online repository of meeting handouts and presentations are some of the tools that play a critical role in making important information about my strawberry and vegetable extension program readily available to the agricultural industry.  Popularity of smartphones has made all these sources handy, both literally and figuratively.  Smartphone applications are becoming popular in agriculture to provide information, monitor various aspects, and for decision making.  However, there are no such applications to help California strawberry and vegetable growers.  In an effort to provide easy access to pest and disease information on various crops, IPMinfo was developed and is currently available for free download for iPhones on App Store.  The first version was released in December, 2014 and an updated version was released in April, 2015.

                IPMinfo is the first IPM information app from University of California and currently has information on strawberry pests and diseases.  It provides one-touch access about the biology, symptoms of damage, and management options of pests and diseases to agricultural professionals. 

Download IPMinfo from App Store for iPhones

                To download the app on iPhones, go to the App Store and search for IPMinfo.  Main features of the app are described below:

Overview screen allows access to different components of the app

Home: Takes the user to the crop issues – Pests and Diseases.  Pests include aphids, cyclamen mite, greenhouse whitefly, lygus bug, spider mite, and western flower thrips.  Diseases include angular leaf spot, anthracnose, botrytis fruit rot, charcoal rot, common leaf spot, fusarium wilt, leaf blotch and petiole blight, leather rot, mucor fruit rot, pytophthora crown rot, powdery mildew, red stele, rhizopus fruit rot, verticillium wilt, and viral decline.  Each pest has information on its biology, damage symptoms, and management options and associated photos. Links provided on the management section will take the user to UC IPM website that has more detailed information especially about various control options. Tapping on the picture will enlarge and allows the user to zoom in.  Disease section has information on symptoms and management options along with pictures.

After choosing the crop (which is just strawberries for now) either pest or disease topics can be selected.

List of the arthropod pests and access screen for biology, damage, and management.

Example of lygus bug biology, damage, and management sections.

Double tap the image to expand and pinch to zoom in.

List of bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases of strawberries

Disease symptoms and management options can be accessed from these screens.

Discover: Brief introduction to the app and what it does.

About Us: General information about the app, photo credits, and an option to send me an email.

Discover the app and send feedback from these screens.

Pest News: Provides a list of articles on my eNewsletter, Pest News.  Tapping on the title of the article will take you to the newsletter through the app.

Berries-Veggies: Provides a list of articles on my eNewsletter, Strawberries and Vegetables.  Tapping on the title of the article will take you to the newsletter through the app.

Articles on eNewsletters, Pest News and Strawberries and Vegetables can be accessed from these screens.

Having an app for like IPMinfo facilitates an easy access, especially when out in the field or not at the computer, to a quick summary of various pests and diseases, pictures to help identify the issue, and links to provide additional information.

Posted on Friday, May 8, 2015 at 1:09 PM

New videos from UC IPM help stone fruit growers and PCAs tackle pest problems

Spider mites, fruit moth and twig borer larvae, aphids, and bark cankers are just a few pests that can wreak havoc on stone fruit trees.   With spring well underway and trees in full bloom and beginning to develop fruit, it's time to monitor and take action before these pests get out of hand. 

UC IPM teamed up with UC farm advisors to develop a series of how-to videos that can help growers and pest control advisers monitor for pests and damage and determine if and when treatment is needed.

In one video, Sacramento Area IPM Advisor Emily Symmes gives a brief overview of how to monitor for webspinning spider mites.  Spider mites build up in stone fruit trees as the weather warms up.  Late spring through summer is the ideal time to monitor for mites and their damage, which includes leaf stippling and webbing.  If mites build up too much, leaves can drop, fruit may not fully develop, and branches and fruit can be exposed to sunburn. 

Shoot strikes, or dead drooping leaf tips, are often seen on young peach and nectarine trees.  In a second video, UC Sutter and Yuba County Farm Advisor Janine Hasey explains how to monitor for shoot strikes and how to distinguish the culprits, oriental fruit moth and peach twig borer.  Although Oriental fruit moth and peach twig borer can bore into both foliage and fruit, they cause the most devastating damage by feeding on fruit.  Early season monitoring and treatment can prevent future fruit loss.

In plum and prune orchards, leaf curl aphids and mealy plum aphids cause leaves to curl and become distorted.  Aphids produce honeydew, which can lead to the development of sooty mold, causing fruit to crack and blacken.  Aphids are often present when leaves start to grow.  In his video, Rick Buchner, UC farm advisor for Tehama County, discusses how to monitor for aphids and explains how to decide when treatment is warranted. 

In a final video, UC Sacramento County Farm Advisor Chuck Ingels teaches how to distinguish Phytophthora root and crown rot from bacterial canker.  The two diseases are often confused because they both cause bark cankers.   Phytophthora root and crown rot is confined to the lower trunk, but when a bacterial canker infection occurs in the tree trunk, the diseases can often be confused.  Bacterial canker can be confirmed by cutting away the outer bark and looking for characteristic red flecks on the inner bark.  Correct identification of these diseases will help in choosing a management strategy.

You can find all of these how-to videos on the UC IPM video library page.  For specific information about managing pests in stone fruits or other crops, see the Pest Management Guidelines.

Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 10:47 AM

New UC IPM photo repository shows plant damage from herbicides

Identifying nontarget crop and ornamental plant damage from herbicides has become much easier with the launch of a new online photo repository by the Statewide IPM Program, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Herbicides applied to manage weeds may move from the site where it was applied in the air or by attaching to soil particles and traveling as herbicide-contaminated soil.  When an herbicide contacts a nontarget plant, a plant it was not intended to contact, it can cause slight to serious injury.  Herbicide injury also occurs when the sprayer is not properly cleaned after a previous herbicide application.  Herbicide residue can be found in the spray tank, spray lines, pumps, filters and nozzles so a sprayer must be thoroughly cleaned after an application.  Dry herbicide particles can be redissolved months later and cause herbicide damage to plants.  Economic damage includes reduced yield, poor fruit quality, distorted ornamental or nursery plants, and occasionally plant death. 

Accurately diagnosing plants that may have herbicide injuries is difficult.  In many cases, herbicide symptoms look very similar to symptoms caused by diseases, nutrient deficiencies, environmental stress and soil compaction.  Plant disease symptoms such as mottled foliage, brown spots or stem death and plant pests such as insects or nematodes cause foliage to yellow and reduce plant growth similar to herbicide injury. 

Dr. Kassim Al-Khatib, weed science professor at UC Davis and director of the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM), has gathered nearly a thousand photos of herbicide-damaged plants, drawn from his own and others' research. The images are cataloged to show damage that can occur from 81 herbicides in more than 14 specific herbicide modes of action, applied in the field to demonstrate the symptoms or when known herbicide spray has drifted onto the plant.

Each image is characterized with the name of the plant, mode of action of the herbicide, and notes the specific symptoms of damage. Together these photos provide a comprehensive archive of damage to over 120 different crops and ornamental plants by known herbicides, which users can easily compare with what they see in the field.

Also included in the repository is information about the modes of action of various herbicides and an index of example herbicide trade names and active ingredients. Users can learn how unintended injury from herbicide occurs from misapplication and carryover from previous crops in addition to drift and herbicide-contaminated tanks. 

The repository can be found at Increased knowledge about what causes herbicide damage and how it occurs can lead to fewer cases of herbicide injury occurring through drift or herbicide-contaminated tanks.  Using the repository can increase the skill to correctly identify plant damage.  Correctly identifying damage as herbicide injury and not from a plant pest or nutrient deficiency can prevent unnecessary applications of pesticides or fertilizers.  Fewer applications can lessen the risk of harm of pesticides and fertilizers to people and the environment.


Posted on Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 9:48 AM
  • Author: Tunyalee Martin
  • Author: Chris Laning

Soil application of the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum protects strawberry plants from spider mite damage

Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana is known to endophytically colonize various plants and provide protection against arthropod pests.  Information of such endophytic interaction of another entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum (=M. anisopliae) is limited. 

A greenhouse study was conducted in 2010 to evaluate the endophytic potential of B. bassiana (commercial isolate GHA and a California isolate SfBb1) and M. brunneum (commercial isolate F52 and a California isolate GmMa1).  Strawberry plants were grown in pots and fungal inocula were applied to the potting medium, vermiculite.  When roots and aerial parts were periodically sampled, surface sterilized, and plated on selective media, B. bassiana grew from roots, petioles, pedicels, leaf lamina, sepals, and calyxes whereas M. brunneum was never detected from those tissues.   It was initially thought that M. brunneum did not colonize strawberry plants. 

However, there was an accidental infestation of twospotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae on strawberry plants meant for another repetition of the endophyte study with M. brunneum isolates.    Among those plants, 32 were treated with M. brunneum isolates and 20 were untreated control plants.  Treatments were administered by applying 100 ml of conidial suspension at 1X10^10 conidia/ml concentration around the base of each potted plant.  Each isolate had 16 strawberry plants.  Mite counts were not taken as the plants were initially intended for endophyte evaluation and leaves could not be destructively sampled.  But the proportion of plants damaged by mite infestations were recorded 10 and 14 days after fungal inoculation. 

Plants treated with M. brunneum isolates appeared to withstand spider mite infestations better than untreated controls.  Since M. brunneum could not be detected in the plant tissue in the previous attempt, it was not clear at that time how the fungus helped strawberry plants to withstand mite damage. 

A recent study using scanning electronic microcopy showed that M. brunneum endophytically colonized cowpea plants.  It is possible that M. brunneum colonized strawberry plants, but could not be detected using selective medium technique.   Another study demonstrated that B. bassiana and M. brunneum promoted the growth of cabbage plants and improved the biomass.  In the current study, M. brunneum probably improved the moisture absorption in strawberry plants through mycorrhizal interaction and helped withstand the spider mite infestations which are usually worse in plants under water stress.  Fungal toxins in strawberry plants might have also impacted spider mites in a manner similar to the effect of endophytic B. bassiana on green peach aphid, Myzus persicae, in a different study.  Observations from the current study indicate the potential of M. brunneum as an endophyte in protecting plants from arthropod damage.  Additional studies are required to further investigate this interaction.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Dale Spurgeon, USDA-ARS for providing laboratory and greenhouse resources for this study.


Dara, S. K. and S. R. Dara.  2015.  Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana endophytically colonizes strawberry plants. UCANR eNewsletter Strawberries and Vegetables, February 17, 2015.

Dara, S. K., S. S. Dara, and S. S. Dara. 2014.  Entomopathogenic fungi as plant growth enhancers.  47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology and International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control, August 3-7, Mainz, Germany, pp. 103-104.

Golo, P. S., W. Arruda, F. R. S. Paixão, F. M. Alves, E.K.K. Fernandes, D. W. Roberts, and V.R.E.P. Bittencourt.  2014. Interactions between cowpea plants vs. Metarhizium spp. entomopathogenic fungi.  47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology and International Congress on Invertebrate Pathology and Microbial Control, August 3-7, Mainz, Germany, pp. 104.

Vega, F. E., F. Posada, M. C. Aime, M. Pava-Ripoll, F. Infante, and S. A. Rehner. 2008.  Entomopathogenic fungal endophytes.  Biol. Con. 46:72-82.

Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 1:56 PM

Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana endophytically colonizes strawberry plants

Entomopathogen Beauveria bassiana is a soilborne fungus which is commercially available for pest management in organic and conventional agriculture.  Although numerous studies demonstrated the interaction of B. bassiana with various arthropod hosts as a pathogen, information on its interaction with plants is limited.  Some recent studies investigated the endophytic (growing inside the plant) interaction of entomopathogenic fungi with different species of plants in an effort to understand the impact on arthropods feeding on the plants and antagonistic effect on plant pathogens.  When an entomopathogen is present in a plant as an endophyte, it may not cause infection in its arthropod host, but can affect its growth and development through (fungal) toxins.  This interaction could be utilized to improve pest control efficacy and improve plant health.

To evaluate the ability of B. bassiana to endophytically colonize strawberry plants, two greenhouse studies were conducted in 2010 using a commercial isolate (GHA) and a California isolate (SfBb1).  The first study examined three methods of inoculating strawberry plants where dry conidia of B. bassiana were mixed with potting medium (1X10^7 conidia/gram of vermiculite), strawberry roots were dipped in conidial suspension (1X10^7 conidia/ml) prior to planting, or 100 ml of conidial suspension (1X10^7 conidia/ml) was applied at the base the plant.  Care was taken to prevent the contamination of aerial parts of plants with fungal inoculation.  Each treatment had four potted plants and a set of untreated plants was used as control.  Root, petiole or pedicel, and leaf lamina or sepal or calyx samples were collected 1, 3, and 6 weeks after inoculation to test for the presence of B. bassiana.  Plant material was plated a selective culture medium after surface sterilization with bleach solution.  Fungal growth from the plant tissue was microscopically examined and identified. Beauveria bassiana emerged from all plant tissues – roots underground to all aboveground parts – throughout the observation period.  Among the inoculation methods, root dip and application of conidial suspension caused 52 and 44% of tissue colonization, respectively, followed by 4% colonization from mixing dry conidia.

The second study was conducted to evaluate colonization of B. bassiana at 1X10^9, 1X10^10, and 1X10^11 conidia/ml concentrations.  Application of conidial suspension was chosen as it was the easiest means of inoculation and also practical to administer through drip irrigation system in the commercial fields.  Treatments were administered by applying 100 ml of respective concentrations of conidial suspensions around the plant base.  Plant tissues were sampled 1, 3, 6, and 9 weeks after inoculation using the abovementioned protocol. 

Data were subjected to statistical analyses and significant means were separated using Tukey's HSD test.

Both commercial and California isolates colonized all sampled strawberry plant parts for up to 9 weeks after inoculation (Fig. 1).  Due to the limited number of plants used in the study, sampling could not be continued beyond 9 weeks.

Fig. 1. Proportion of various plant parts endophytically colonized by commercial (GHA) and California (SfBb1) isolates of B. bassiana at 1, 3, 6, and 9 weeks after inoculation (WAI). 

Fig. 2. B. bassiana emerging from various plant tissues compared to no signs of B. bassiana in control plants.

When concentrations were compared, fungal colonization of plants was the highest at 1X10^11 conidia/ml only for the commercial isolate (Table 1).  There was no significant difference among conidial concentrations for the California isolate.  In general, colonization was first noticed in roots and then the fungus moved up to the aerial parts.  This trend was more evident for the commercial isolate with significant differences at 1X10^10 conidia/ml.  Although not significant, it appeared that the commercial colonized strawberry plants more than the California isolate.

Table 1.  Proportion of different strawberry plant parts endophytically colonized by commercial (GHA) and California (SfBb1) isolates of B. bassiana at various conidial concentrations.

*Average colonization of all plant parts for GHA isolate was significantly different at different concentrations P=0.03).  Means followed by the same lowercase letter or no letter in the column were not significantly different.

**Colonization was significantly different among different plant parts at 1010 conidia/ml for GHA (P=0.01).  Means followed by the same uppercase letter or no letter in the row were not significantly different.

These are the first studies to demonstrate that B. bassiana endophytically colonizes strawberry plants.  The impact of endophytic B. bassiana on arthropod pests attacking strawberry plants was investigated in other studies.

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Dale Spurgeon, USDA-ARS for providing laboratory and greenhouse resources for these studies.

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 4:09 PM

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