This blog reviews the latest products, plants and innovations in gardening. It also provides a link for my many gardening friends who are members of the GardenMessenger and Seedmessenger Yahoo groups and their sub-groups that I moderate.

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Location: Australia

I am a semi-retired UK botanical garden curator and former international horticultural consultant, who has worked extensively in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia. I spend part of the year in Australia and part in Europe, mainly due to family and work commitments. I earn my living from writing and editing Internet copy, articles and books. I have written over fifty books on gardening and have been translated into twenty-four different languages. I am a former UK Garden Writer of the Year and a previous Quill & Trowel Award Winner from the Garden Writer’s Association of America. I am interested in developing gardening communities on the Internet and I manage the popular GardenMessenger Yahoo group, along with its various sub-groups like PondMessenger and SeedMessenger. I also edit International Water Gardener and its associated regional web-sites.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Plum Pox Virus Hits New York

Plum Pox on apricot

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Plant Germplasm and Biotechnology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, has confirmed the presence of the Plum Pox virus (PPV) - sometimes known as Sharka - on plum tree leaf samples collected by New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (NYSDAM) officials. As part of a seven-year survey for the virus, state and federal agriculture officials collected 22 leaf samples from a 108-tree orchard located in Niagara County, New York within five miles of plum pox eradication zones in Canada. The samples were sent to Cornell University’s diagnostic laboratory for testing, where researchers obtained positive results.

The virus was first detected in Canada in 2000. The strain of virus identified in New York is identical to the D strain of the virus found in both Canada and Pennsylvania. The D strain of the virus is less virulent than other strains, making it easier to contain. Its early discovery of is credited to the department’s active surveys for plant pests and diseases. Survey specialists are currently surveying a 5-mile radius surrounding the initial detection to determine the extent of infestation. USDA will establish a co-operative eradication program with the state of New York. The program will include conducting extensive detection and delimiting surveys, establishing quarantine areas where infestations are found, and the removal of infested orchards and other host material within a buffer area of any infestation.

Plum Pox is a virus disease of stone fruits that first appeared in the United States in Pennsylvania in October 1999. The plant virus does not pose any human health risks. Since the discovery, agriculture officials there have successfully contained its spread. New York is only the second state where plum pox has been detected. The virus affects a number of fruits, including peach, nectarine, apricot and plum. Several aphid species can serve as carriers of the virus. The virus stays viable in the aphid’s mouth-parts for a period of an hour and most aphids can generally transmit infection several hundred metres from the initial source plant. Photo: Wikipedia

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