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Clean Plant Center Northwest

Rusty Mottle/Twisted Leaf

It’s a disease that affects less than one percent of cherry trees, but if you’re a grower with Cherry rusty mottle or Cherry twisted leaf in your orchard you’ve got trouble.

Symptoms associated with twisted leaf

Symptoms associated with rusty mottle

The cherries from these trees are late to ripen and flavorless. The symptoms of this disease include smaller cherries being produced on trees that just look sick.

“Trees infected with these viruses just lack vigor,” CPCNW consultant Bill Howell says. But a tree full of small cherries isn’t the big concern. How quickly this virus spreads is.

“These viruses are particularly nasty about spreading to nearby trees,” Bill says, “and it’s hard to control.”

Both rusty mottle and cherry twisted leaf come from the same Foveavirus family. CPCNW research is trying to isolate which members of the rusty mottle and twisted leaf families are actually responsible for causing the disease.

Graduate Student Dan Villamor is working with Dr. Ken Eastwell to isolate and eventually sequence the full genome of the isolates. With that information scientists will eventually be able to create more accurate ways of detecting the viruses. These tests may eliminate some of the more time consuming woody indexing tests required now.

Check back to see how Dan’s research is progressing.

Woody Indexing Experiments

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