A field study was conducted at the National Ornamental Research Site at Dominican University California (NORS-DUC). The study goal was to evaluate three chemical inducers applied as foliar treatments for controlling Phytophthora ramorum, on Rhododendron x ‘Cunningham’s White’ nursery plants. The inducers were chlorine dioxide (ElectroBiocide), hydrogen peroxide (OxiDate 2.0), and acibenzolar-s methyl (Actigard). Water samples from the electrostatic sprayer were measured for three physicochemical water properties. Visual assessment of plant foliage, based on the Horsfall- Barratt scale, was conducted at three and five months after chemical treatments. Foliar fluorescence (Fv/Fm) was measured over three dates. The success of P. ramorum inoculations were determined using qPCR methods. Visual assessment across both months showed no signs of P. ramorum infection or chemical injury symptoms. However, P. ramorum infection vis-à-vis qPCR analysis was confirmed. The September Fv/Fm results revealed that all the chemical inducer treatments were equivalent to the water treatment, except for Actigard. The qPCR results were in general agreement with the Fv/Fm results indicating that the rhododendrons were successfully inoculated with P. ramorum but were non-symptomatic. The electrostatic sprayer ionized the water droplets, resulting in increased Fv/Fm values for the water treatments 90 days after application. There was a three-month delay in fluorescence responses to the most effective chemical applications, indicating that woody plants may need to be monitored over the long term to determine accurate responses to foliar treatments.
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