Folia Hort. 31(1): 117-127 (2019)
Effectiveness of mycorrhizal fungi in the protection of juniper, rose, yew and highbush blueberry against Alternaria alternata
Stanislaw Mazur, Malgorzata Nadziakiewicz, Halina Kurzawinska, Jacek Nawrocki
After conducting two-year observations in nurseries in the Malopolska province, Poland, the species of shrubs on which symptoms of discoloration and withering of the leaves/needles and shoots, and sometimes of whole plants, occurred most frequently were selected for further study. The species included juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltonii’, rose (Rosa ‘Star Profusion’), yew (Taxus media ‘Hillii’) and highbush blueberry (Vaccinum corymbosum ‘Patriot’). The predominant fungus isolated from the diseased plants was Alternaria alternata (Fr.) Keissl. A pathogenicity test performed in the laboratory confirmed the pathogenic effects of A. alternata on all of the tested species of shrubs. In 2011-2014, a field experiment was conducted with A. alternata inoculum introduced into the growth substrate. The presence of the pathogen reduced considerably the annual growth of all the shrubs tested. The applied mycorrhizal inocula had an effect on some morphological characteristics of plants, such as height and number of shoots. Moreover, the plants whose roots had been treated with the mycorrhizal inocula and were grown in the substrate inoculated with the pathogen also achieved greater increases in growth in comparison with the plants treated with the pathogen as well as relative to the control. The protective role of mycorrhizal inocula against the damaging effects of the pathogen was evident in all the species of shrubs.