Root Rot of Juniperus and Microbiota by Phytophthora lateralis in Oregon Horticultural Nurseries

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Plant Disease, Volume 104, Issue 5, p.1500 - 1506 (2020)



Widespread symptoms of root rot and mortality on Juniperus communis and Microbiota decussata were observed in two horticultural nurseries in Oregon, leading to the isolation of a Phytophthora sp. from diseased roots. Based on morphology and sequencing the internal transcribed spacer ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 region, isolates were identified as the invasive pathogen Phytophthora lateralis, causal agent of Port-Orford-cedar (POC; Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) root disease. Additional sequencing of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 and 2 genes identified all isolates as belonging to the PNW lineage. Utilizing recovered isolates plus a POC-wildlands isolate and susceptible POC as controls, we completed Koch's postulates on potted Juniperus and Microbiota plants. Nursery isolates were more aggressive than the forest isolate, which was used in the POC resistance breeding program. Increased aggressiveness was confirmed using a branch stem dip assay with four POC clones that differed in resistance, although no isolate completely overcame major-gene resistance. Isolates were sensitive to mefenoxam, a fungicide commonly used to suppress Phytophthora spp. growth in commercial nurseries. Although POC resistance is durable against these more aggressive nursery isolates, the expanded host range of P. lateralis challenges POC conservation through the continued movement of P. lateralis by the nursery industry.