HDC seminar to share impatiens findings

Growers and retailers will have the opportunity to discuss approaches to managing impatiens downy mildew at a Horticultural Development Company (HDC) seminar next week.

The event, supported by the HTA and the British Protected Ornamentals Association, will also provide a summary of HDC-funded projects examining the disease.

Work has been done on fungicides, the potential of the pathogen to overwinter, its resistance to a key fungicide, disease management and the potential for breeding resistance into plants.

There will be presentations from industry representatives about their approaches to the next season.

Stockbridge Technology Centre science director Martin McPherson said: "I am hoping we can impose restrictions on importing vegetative cutting material from overseas, which is where the problem came from. There are no perennial varieties of impatiens species, so the only bridge is resting spores in the soil. If they don't bring material in, where can the infection come from?

"Also, Phil Jennings' work at the Food & Environment Research Agency has shown that spores are surviving harsh winter conditions, and we still have to demonstrate that they can reinfect.

"Another issue will be resistance breeding. Certain types of impatiens are not susceptible to this strain and it will be interesting to see how hard they are looking into that."

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