Pierce's Disease
Research Updates


What is Pierce's Disease?

Pierce's Disease is a bacterial infection, which is spread by bugs that feed on grapevines, particularly the "glassy winged sharpshooter." Grapevines that become infected with PD can quickly become sick and die.

glassy-winged sharpshooter

Sycamore dieback research in Mississippi and Alabama

  • Author(s): Britton, K.; Chang, Chung-Jan; Leininger, T.; Schiff, N.;
  • Abstract: Dieback in American sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) growing in plantations has been observed for 30 years. In 1996 it was determined that Xylella fastidiosa, the causal agent of bacterial leaf scorch in numerous other tree species, was playing a major role in the development of sycamore dieback. Beginning in 1998, a number of greenhouse and field experiments were initiated to learn more about disease development caused by X. fastidiosa in plantation-grown sycamore. Symptoms are being evaluated in the crowns of three and four-year-old sycamores from 26 families that were exposed to naturally occurring bacterial leaf scorch infections. Bacterial leaf scorch symptoms were evident within five months of challenging one-year-old seedlings of fifteen other sycamore families with X. fastidiosa. Populations of xylem-feeding insects that may transport X. fastidiosa from host to host are being documented. The future use of American sycamore as a major source of fiber for forest industries may depend on the success of a breeding program designed to mitigate the effects of bacterial leaf scorch.
  • Publication Date: Jun 2001
  • Journal: Phytopathology