Aster yellows and garlic

hortster(6a, southcentral KS)August 19, 2012

soilent_green, didn't want to post on your thread and cause it to drop as this may be important to garlic growers.

My comment is this - in the last three to four years I have lost all of my coneflowers and rudbeckias to aster yellows. This year I have none remaining. I have grown garlic for seven years, not in the same garden bed but less than 100' away. Considering that it is spread by the same insect vector, aster leafhopper, might it be possible that some strains of garlic are unattractive to that insect? After reading about this I can't figure why my Spanish Roja would have been unaffected. It took two to three years for all of my coneflowers and rudbeckias to succumb so I would assume continuous exposure. When I would spot it I would immediately remove the affected perennials, but that wouldn't have stopped the leafhopper since the infection would have occurred earlier.

Anyone, any thoughts?


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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Due to my curiosity about this I have done a bit of research to try to answer my own question.

Aster leafhoppers must feed on an infected plant to get the mycoplasmalike organism into their system. Once that happens it takes about 3 weeks before they are able to transmit the disease to another plant.

Here in KS (and I'm sure elsewhere) there are two kinds - native and migrant. Natives are not the likely vector in most cases here.

Migrants ride southern winds to get here from Texas and Oklahoma. With their earlier spring warmups some of the overwintering southern leafhoppers have passed through the 3 week incubation period by the time they get to KS. They are the likely vector.

Garlic is green and growing long before either perennial or seedling coneflowers or rudbeckia begin growth (usually mid to late April). In my case I have begun pulling diseased established plants and seedlings by mid May. The point is that there would have been plenty of time for garlic exposure, perhaps even before the other host plants emerged.

Although I have read that aster leafhoppers may prefer plants other than garlic and that it would be low on their list it is very hard for me to believe that not one garlic plant showed anything obviously similar to the yellows over a three year period, causing me to wonder if perhaps some strains might have better resistance.

If anyone in WI or MN could shed some light on this it would be good info to pass along.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 2:43PM
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