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Corroboration That Highly Resistant Impatiens Cultivars Are Not Immune to Downy Mildew Disease: A Report of Crop Losses from Two California Producers

M. Daughtrey, J. Beckerman, W. J. Davis, K. Rane, and J. A. Crouch

July 2020

Short Communication

Two new series of Impatiens walleriana (impatiens) cultivars, Beacon and Imara XDR, were released to commercial growers in the United States in 2019 to 2020. Field trials show these new cultivar series are highly resistant to impatiens downy mildew (IDM). However, neither of these two impatiens series are completely immune to the disease, and preventive fungicide programs are still recommended for use throughout production to maintain plant health. Here we report two destructive outbreaks of IDM from Imara XDR in two commercial production facilities in California, one in 2019 and one in 2020. The disease outbreaks were caused by a known rDNA genotype of Plasmopara destructor (synonym = P. obducens). Modified Koch’s postulates showed that the pathogen could infect and cause disease in both Beacon and Imara XDR plants. Mefenoxam applied by both growers may have been ineffective due to resistance in P. destructor populations, which has been demonstrated on several previous occasions. Given these findings, fungicide programs intended to supplement genetic resistance should not be overly reliant upon application of mefenoxam and should utilize effective materials from different mode of action groups, in rotation. Fungicides to supplement genetic resistance are particularly appropriate in frost-free areas or in any circumstances that provide a potential inoculum source.


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