Good Fruit Grower

February 15

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S ee something unusual going on with the leaves in your orchard? Or maybe in the clusters in your vineyard? Help is not far away, says Karen Flint Ward of Washington State University's Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic. Ward, who runs WSU's plant clinic in Pullman, is a resource for growers who encounter the unusual in their field. If there were general practitioners for plants, she'd be like a family doctor for plants. Working with samples sent by growers, her clinic offers diagnosis of plant diseases and disorders, insect and arthropod identification, and plant and weed iden- tification. Like a family doctor, she's not a specialist in all things. But she knows where the specialists are and where to send samples for diagnosis beyond her expertise. Diagnoses Ward has been the Pullman clinic diagnostician since 2010 when WSU created a new lab in Pullman. Previously, the university conducted plant diagnosis at its Prosser research station, but that lab closed. Ward received her master's in plant pathology from Univer- sity of California, Davis, and worked as diagnostician at Utah State University. While in California and Utah, she worked with tree fruit and grapes. "I want the tree fruit and grape growers to know that I'm here to help," Ward told Good Fruit Grower. "I'm only an overnight Fed Ex away." What problems can she diagnose? Ward can identify pathogens like phytophora, bacterial canker, and crown gall. She uses visual examina- tion, pathogen culturing, and pathogen-specific tests to identify problems. Samples needing molecu- lar testing are sent out to another lab. Insect and weed samples are forwarded to specialists for identification. Ward coordinates with WSU's tree fruit and grape virus experts at Prosser, Drs. Ken Eastwell and Naidu Rayapati, on viruses. The Prosser research station houses the Clean Plant Center Northwest for fruit trees, grape- vines, and hop plants and has advanced technologies to diagnose virus and viruslike diseases. Determining the cause of symptoms like yellowing leaves or pockmarked fruit is not always straightfor- ward. Often, nutritional deficiencies can mimic dis- eases. "A lot of times, the disease or disorder is not that obvious," she said. Ward can determine if the problem is pathogenic or nutritional. If it's nutritional, she will recommend the grower send samples to a lab doing plant nutrient analysis. Last year, she received a sample of strange-looking stone fruit and determined the disorder was related to weather and not a disease. "I see as many disorders on tree fruit as I do diseases," Ward said. After receiving a sample, Ward will talk to the grower about what's happening in the field to give her background on the problem. Turnaround time varies greatly, depending on whether she can identify the problem in her lab or must send samples out for further testing. "I always try to keep the grower informed with what's happening and the time involved," she said, adding that she stays in contact with growers through phone and e-mail. Growers receive a written diagnosis of the problem. In 2013, her lab received around 150 samples, a num- ber she wants to increase. Because of her proximity to the state's wheat-growing region, most of the samples she processes are small grains. Ward wants to the tree fruit and grape industries to know that she's available as a resource. How to send a sample Collect several samples showing symptoms of con- cern in various stages of the problem, especially the early stages. Include fruit, roots, and a soil sample. Don't sub- mit dead, dry, or decayed samples because they can't be accurately diagnosed. Place the samples in a sturdy box, putting soil, branches, and leaves in a plastic bag, and wrap fleshy plant material like fruit in newspaper. For insect identification, freeze insects first before packing gently with tissues or cotton in vial. Do not send live insects or those trapped on a sticky card. Provide grower contact information and detailed information about the problem, the plant, and cultural care. When was the problem first observed? Is it spread- ing? How old is the plant? Cultural information includes site description (drainage, exposure, weather), irrigation, and pesticide and fertilizer use. The costs for insect identification and plant prob- lem diagnoses are $25. For plant diagnoses involving pathogen culturing, the fee is $40. • 14 FEBRUARY 15, 2014 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Diseases & Disorders T o learn more, visit plantpath. Contact Karen Ward at (509) 335-3292 or e-mail her at karen_ Examples of foliage and fruit samples that Karen Flint Ward has received for diagnosis. TECH-FLO ® ZETA ZINC 22 ASK YOUR P.C.A. OR CALL NUTRIENT TECHNOLOGIES TOLL-FREE: 877/832-4356 FOR THE DEALER NEAREST YOU. Just because you put a foliar zinc on doesn't mean the job's done. Some zinc products are so ineffective they are better suited as sun- screens or paint. In trial after trial, TECH- FLO ® ZETA ZINC 22 (22% Zinc) has been shown to be the most effective foliar zinc product on the market today, getting the zinc into the tree where it is needed. For the best value for your nutritional dollar, choose TECH-FLO ® ZETA ZINC 22. UNSURPASSED FOLIAR ZINC PERFORMANCE! …PUTTING ZINC ON PUTTING ZINC IN… PUTTING ZINC IN… Plant doctor Plant diagnostic clinic is a resource for growers. by Melissa Hansen PHOTOS BY KAREN WARD

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