Verticillium wilt of olive in the Guadalquivir Valley (southern Spain): relations with some agronomical factors and spread of Verticillium dahliae
Verticillium wilt of olive (VWO) is now the most destructive olive disease in the Guadalquivir valley in Andalucía (southern Spain). Disease surveys, conducted to assess the association of agronomical and geographical factors with the current spread of the disease, have shown that VWO is widespread in the valley, with a mean disease incidence (DI) in infested plots reaching 20.4% (9000 inspected trees), but with significant differences among the provinces surveyed (25.7, 23.7 and 12%, for Jaén,
... and 12%, for Jaén, Córdoba and Seville, respectively). The DI was significantly higher in irrigated (20.7%) than in dry-farming (18.3%) orchards, and also higher in non-tilled orchards (25.6%) than in regularly-tilled orchards (16.3%). The DI was likewise significantly lower for tree densities above 200 trees ha-1; and it was higher (21.5%) when the orchards were located near areas where other V. dahliae host plants were cultivated, than if the orchards were surrounded by non-host plants (11.9%). Lastly, the DI was significantly higher in plots where the tree were less than 25 year old and in plantations close to the Guadalquivir River (less than 10 km). 'Picual' was the cultivar most often affected with the disease, reaching a DI of 41.9% in orchards where this cultivar was grown. Highly virulent defoliating (D) isolates in the plantation surveyed were significantly more common (67.7%) than non-defoliating (ND) isolates (32.3%). These factors could explain the substantial increase in incidence and severity of VWO seen in the valley during the last decade.