|University Archives of Virginia Tech|
A History of Plant Pathology in Virginia: The Wingard Era - I (1928-1935)
When F. D. Fromme's tenure as Department Head ended on June 30, 1928, S. A. Wingard was named Department Head the next day, July 1. The transition was efficient; there were no search committees, interim or acting appointees, no interviews, etc. Presumably Wingard had been selected to succeed Fromme soon after Fromme submitted his resignation. No doubt, in the 1920's, a departing Department Head offered suggestions as to who might logically succeed himself. Fromme and Wingard had shared 11 years of productive association; Fromme had seen Wingard through a Ph.D. program under R. A. Harper at Columbia University and together they had laid the foundation for leadership in tobacco disease investigations. Growth of the Department under Wingard's leadership during the next 36 years was a tribute to the foresight of the administration of 1928 and to Fromme. The transition coincided with the appearance of C. E. Owen's textbook "Principles of Plant Pathology", which set the format for plant pathology textbooks for years to come.
When "Sam" Wingard assumed the headship, the Department functioned under two titles; it was the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology in the V.P.I. catalogue, and the Department of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology in the Agricultural Experiment Station. In addition to Wingard, the faculty included Professor Horatio S. Stahl who taught botany and plant physiology; Associate Professor A. B. Massey who taught botany, bacteriology, and plant pathology; Associate Plant Pathologist F. J. Schneiderhan, fruit pathologist at Winchester; Assistant Plant Pathologist R. H. Hurt, fruit pathologist at Crozet; James Godkin, Assistant Extension Plant Pathologist; and E. F. Davis, Assistant Plant Physiologist for the Experiment Station at Blacksburg. Godkin was on educational leave and H. R. Angel was filling in for him during 1928-9. (The exact dates are not available). On Sept. 5, 1928, S. B. Fenne completed the M.S. degree in plant pathology.
In the teaching program, courses established during Fromme's administration were continued well into Wingard's administration. In the catalogue for the academic year 1928-29, issued May 1928, the following courses were listed:
- 131 - Principles of Botany; III, 3H, 6L, 5C. (III = 3rd qtr., 3H = 3 lecture hours, 6L = 6 laboratory hours, 5C = 5 credit hours)
- 212-222 - General Botany; I, II, 3H, 6L, 5C/qtr.
- 223 - Sanitary Bacteriology; II, 3H, 6L, 5C.
- 321-331 - Plant Pathology; II, III 3H, 3C/qtr.
- 322-332 - Plant Pathology Laboratory; II, III, 6L, 2C/qtr.
- 333 - Household Bacteriology; II, 2H, 6L, 4C.
- 411 - Bacteriology; I, 3H, 3C.
- 412 - Bacteriology Laboratory; I, 12L, 4C.
- 413 - Pathogenic & Dairy Bacteriology; I, 12L, 4C.
- 424 - Advanced Botany; II, 4H, 12L, 8C.
- 431 - Plant Physiology; III, 3H, 6L, 5C.
- 435 - Taxonomy of Flowering Plants; III, 6L, 2C.
- 5?1 - TBA - hours and credits in areas of specialization for graduate students.
Since the catalogue was issued in May 1928, Fromme, Massey, and Stahl were the instructors. For 1929-30, only Stahl and Massey were the instructors, assisted by graduate student W. F. Skinner. Massey had received his M.S. degree in Plant Pathology only in June 1928, but he had gained much respect. After Fromme departed, he became acting advisor for Biology, Pre-medicine, and Pre-dentistry undergraduates. For 1929-30, he was advisor.
The teaching program underwent changes in the 1930-31 catalogue. Whether or not he taught, Wingard was added to the teaching faculty. The student assistant was S. D. Preston. Plant Physiology was revised, and other courses were added. 232 (from 431) - Plant Physiology; III, 2H, (reports 1H), 6L, 5C (or 4C if reports not opted).
- 323 - Diseases of Crop Plants; II, 6L, 2C.
- 424 - Advanced Work; (a - Bacteriology; b - Ecology; c - Plant Anatomy; d - Mycology; e - Plant Pathology; f - Plant Physiology; g - Economic Botany), II, 3 or 4H, 6 or 12L, 5 or 8C.
- 5?1 - Graduate Work in Bacteriology - T.B.A.
- 5?2 - Graduate Work in Botany - T.B.A.
- 5?3 - Graduate Work in Plant Pathology - T.B.A.
In the catalogue for the 1931-32 academic year, the years of appointments for the faculty were shown. Stahl was the senior faculty member, having been appointed in 1908. Doris Shannon was the Service Fellow for Botany and Plant Pathology. In the 1932-33 catalogue, I. D. Wilson was first shown as adviser for Biology, Pre-medical, and Pre-dental students and there were some changes in botany courses. New courses were listed:
- 112-122-132 - General Botany; I, II, III, 2H, 4L, 3 1/3C/qtr. was specified for Wilson's advisees.
- 212-222 - General Botany; I, II, 3H, 6L, 5C/qtr., was specified for agricultural majors.
- 411 - Agricultural Bacteriology (changed from Bacteriology); I, 3H, 3C.
- 412 - Agricultural Bacteriology Laboratory (from Bact. Lab.); I, 12L, 4C.
- 413-423 - Pathogenic Bacteriology (from 413, Path. & Dairy Bact.); I, 3H, 12L, 7C; II, 3H, 6L, 5C.
Thomas E. Smith was the Service Fellow in Botany & Plant Pathology. Again in the 1934-35 catalogue, the courses were revised:
- 112, 122, 132 became
- 211-221-231 - Botany and Plant Physiology; I, 3H, 6L, 5C; II, 2H, 3L, 3C; III, 1H, 3L, 2C.
- 212-222 - General Botany; I, II, 1H, 6L, 3C/qtr.
- 233 - Mycology; III, 1H, 6L, 3C.
- 313 - Plant Physiology; I, 2H, 2C.
- 332 - Plant Pathology Laboratory III, 6 to 12H, 2 to 4C.
- 411 - Bacteriology; I, 3H, 3C.
- 412 - Bacteriology Laboratory; I, 6L, 2C.
- 414-424 - Plant Ecology; I, II, 3H, 3C (Lab.-TBA).
- 422-423 - Bacteriology Laboratory; II, III, choice of (a) Soil Bact. (b) Veterinary Bact. (c) Dairy Bact., 6H, 2C/qtr.
- 435 - Plant Anatomy; III, 6H, 2C.
Other courses remained as in previous catalogues. There were no changes in the 1935-36 (May 35) but in the 1936-37 (May 1936) catalogue, Botany and Plant Pathology disappeared and its courses were incorporated under the Department of Biology. Thus began phase II of the Wingard era. What happened and how it came about will be described later.
The research programs under way when the Wingard era began were continued. The projects at Blacksburg addressed black root rot of apple, loose smut of wheat, bean rust, ringspot of tobacco and drought spot of tobacco. With Fromme's departure and Wingard's promotion, there was a vacancy. Robert G. Henderson was hired as Assistant Plant Pathologist on March 20, 1929. Other vacancies soon occurred; Schneiderhan resigned June 30 to take a similar position in West Virginia. The announcement of his resignation appeared in Virginia Fruit [17(5):7-8, May 1929] with the comment that, "While it is not officially announced, no doubt, an increase in salary is one of the inducements offered by West Virginia. It is indeed a shame that Virgnia, the third largest apple-growing state in the Union, does make such a meagre appropriation to the Horticultural Division of our State Agricultural College that the latter serves largely as a training ground for scientific workers who are picked up by other States as soon as they have proven their ability in their chosen field." Although this lament may have had foundation, Ancell B. Groves, who was appointed on September 1, 1929, to replace Schneiderhan, became a leader in fruit pathology and remained at Winchester until his death in 1966. Everett F. Davis, Assistant Plant Physiologist resigned on June 30, 1930, and was immediately replaced by G. Myron Shear on July 1. Both Henderson and Shear would remain in the Department until they retired. All three of these men contributed significantly to their fields and were a tribute to Wingard's sagacity.
The development of the Department under Wingard's leadership can be assessed in part by publication records and in part by growth of the faculty and facilities. Henderson apparently was assigned to investigate tobacco diseases. His initial efforts were to carry on the ringspot investigations. He published nothing on the topic until 1931. Everett Davis furthered the information on walnut toxicity in a paper entitled, "The toxic principle of Juglans nigra as identified with synthetic juglone, and its toxic effects on tomato and alfalfa plants" (Am. J. Bot. 15:620-?, 1928). "It is thought that resistance and susceptibility of plants to walnut toxicity may be related directly to differences in reducing intensity to the extent that the cells of certain plants (resistant species) may be able to reduce the toxic quinone to its hydro-form. The roots of susceptible species may be unable to make this reduction." (Ann. Rept. of Va. Agri. Expt. Sta., July 1, 1927-June 30, 1931:31.1931).
Even though there was a scarcity of publications in the first 6 months of Wingard's headship, there were a number of diseases reported throughout the State by federal and state workers in volume 12 of the Plant Disease Reporter:
- p. 45 - Wingard reported wheat stem rust very severe in Washington Co.
- p. 46 - H. R. Angell (substituting for James Godkin) reported copper carbonate seed treatment had reduced bunt in wheat fields to negligible amounts.
- p. 47 - Angell reported wheat scab as up to 5% infection.
- p. 49 - Schneiderhan reported rapid development of apple scab and losses in southern Valley of Virginia counties would be greatest since 1924.
- p. 51 - Wingard reported Bacterium pruni to be very severe in Loudoun and Campbell Cos.
- p. 65 - McWhorter at the Truck Station reported 100% infection of cantaloupe by Sclerotium rolfsii, following carrots in the rotation.
- p. 82 - Vera K. Charles and G. H. Martin (U.S.D.A.) reported a Kabatiella sp. causing damage to plants of Lilium auratum received from Virginia (place not named).
- p. 92 - Schneiderhan reported brown rot of peaches to be more damaging than in any year since 1922.
- p. 98 - Angell reported tobacco wildfire, blackfire, ringspot, and mosaic to be widespread during August.
- p. 143 - L. C. Beamer, V.P.I. Extension Horticulturist reported heavy damage to sweet potato by Ceratostomella fimbriata, causing black rot and Fusarium spp., causing stem rot, on Eastern Shore.
- p. 149 - McWhorter reported an association of Sporotrichum poae and a mite Pediculopsis graminum, on diseased greenhouse carnations at Newport News.
The Extension Service published Bul. 102, Spray Information (for fruit growers) and the Southern Planter reprinted it. Motz, horticulturist, Schneiderhan and Hough (entomologist at Winchester) collaborated in its preparation. The importance of other plant diseases was highlighted by notes on controlling potato late blight with Bordeaux mixture [Sou. Pl. 89 (14):19, July 15] and treating oat seeds with formaldehyde dust (3 oz/bu, store 12 hr, and plant). Several testimonials indicated smut was eliminated but there was no comment on yield [Ibid. (16):19, Aug. 15]. In the "Work for the Month" column farmers were urged to treat seed wheat with copper carbonate dust to control stinking smut and to treat wheat and barley with hot water to eliminate loose smuts. This time the wet treatment of oats with formalin (1 pt. to 40 gal. water) for the control of smuts [Ibid. (17):32, Sept. 1] was recommended. To facilitate efficient dust treatments of seeds, a barrel treater was illustrated and described [Ibid. (18):22, Sept. 15]. T. W. Wood and Sons, Virginia's largest seed company had a full page advertisement illustrating smutted spikes and kernels, and advocating the purchase of their seed wheat treated for control of stinking smut (for an added cost of 10¢/bu.) [Ibid. (19):2, Oct. 1].
At the end of the year Godkin published Extension Division Bulletin 110, "Four Major Tobacco Diseases in Virginia and Their Control." The diseases were blackfire, wildfire, drought spot and mosaic.
Schneiderhan presented a paper to the 33rd Annual Session of the Virginia State Horticultural Soc. on "A new method of preparing Bordeaux mixture." [Va. Fruit 17(1):104-112 + 3 pp. of questions and answers]. In this presentation, Schneiderhan reviewed the discovery of Bordeaux mixture and presented a case for more extensive use of the fungicide late in the season to protect apples from cloud and bitter rot. He compared the old way of making Bordeaux mixture from stock solutions with the new method of preparing "Instant Bordeaux". He also emphasized the importance of spraying the tank to emptiness within 3 hours of the preparation time. The paper was well received and a lively discussion followed. Schneiderhan usually injected humor into his talks and discussions but this one was strictly a no-nonsense presentation. It was also his swan song as the Winchester pathologist at these meetings. At the next meeting he would be on the West Virginia staff. However, as a result of his presentation, the volume of subsequent inquiries was so great he found it necessary publish a supplement, "Powdered bluestone and hydrated lime for preparing Bordeaux mixture according to the new method" [Va. Fruit 17(5):6-8]. Here he described the chemical and physical traits of copper sulphate and lime necessary to implement the Instant Bordeaux method.
At the same December meeting, Judge S. F. Tavenner of Woodstock gave a comprehensive review of "Our cedar rust fight through the U.S. Supreme Court [Va. Fruit 17(1):72-77]. The Judge demonstrated an incisive knowledge of rust and apple production. This is a landmark presentation in which the entire history of cedar eradication is reviewed concisely. Following his presentation and in recognition of the role he had played in behalf of apple growers, the Horticultural Society voted to make him an honorary life member. It was the first such action by the Society [Va. Fruit 17(1):77].
At the Truck Station, F. P. McWhorter, pathologist, and M. M. Parker, horticulturist, published V.T.E.S. Bul. 64, "Fusarium Wilt of Tomato in Virginia", and proclaimed wilt to be "The most destructive disease with which growers have to contend." It was severe in the Northern Neck canning and Roanoke trucking districts. They obtained evidence for the existence of Fusarium strains when 'Marglobe' was susceptible at some locations and resistant at others. This was the first recognition of Fusarium strains in Virginia.
Among events to occur elsewhere in 1928, the first organic-mercury chemical for seed treatment (Ceresan) was introduced and Purdy and Dvorek demonstrated that plant viruses are antigenic in animals (G. K. Parris. 1979. A Chronology of Plant Pathology, 2nd. ed., Publ. by the author, Mississippi State, Miss. 251 pp.). In 1929, the first full year that Wingard was Department Head, there were several staff changes. As previously noted, Henderson was hired on March 20, Schneiderhan resigned on June 30, Groves replaced him on Sept. 1 and Godkin was promoted to Associate rank. At Norfolk, McWhorter resigned on Dec. 31. The American Phytopathological Society met in New York Dec. 28, 1928 to Jan. 1, 1929. Schneiderhan read a paper, "The influence of the form and proportion of lime and copper sulphate on the suspension of bordeaux mixture." (Phytopathology 19:88, 1929). He had studied the effects of three lime sources and three types of copper sulphate in all possible combinations and at various ratios. Best results were obtained with chemical hydrated lime and finely granulated copper sulphate in a 2-3.5-50 formula.
Godkin read a paper, "Physiological studies of Bacterium translucens and Bacterium translucens var. undulosum" (Ibid. 19:99), probably based upon work done while he was on leave at the University of Chicago. The bacteria he studied are more common in northern states and rarely occur in Virginia. Godkin was also a co-author of a paper with G. K. K. Link and A. E. Edgecombe, "Further agglutination tests with phytopathogenic bacteria" (Ibid. 19:99). They reported on serological relationships among 9 bacteria.
Hurt reported on his experiments with, "Calcium monosulphide, a substitute for lime-sulphur for summer spraying" (Phytopathology 19:106). He had found that the product was safer (causing less injury) and more efficient for control of scab than lime- sulphur. It also gave fruit a better finish.
Schneiderhan and Hurt contributed information to Extension Division Bulletin III, Jan. 1929, "Spray Information for Virginia Fruit Growers". This was virtually reproduced in the Southern Planter 90(3):4, 8, Feb. 1, 1929.
Godkin received a personal tribute when he was pictured in the Jan. 15 Southern Planter [90(2):27] and named to be the toastmaster at the Virginia State Corn and Grain Show, Leesburg, Jan. 24-25. "His success as a toastmaster has made the banquet a leading feature of the show .... Godkin is widely known throughout the State and has done much for its agricultural advancement."
The most significant departmental publication in 1929 was by Hurt and Schneiderhan, "Calcium Sulphide for the Control of Apple and Peach Diseases" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 36. Feb. 1929). The experiments were conducted in private orchards near Crozet and Winchester and the owners' spray equipment was also used. The composition of CaS was described and data for 1926, -27, and -28 experiments were presented. They concluded, "That calcium sulphide is a comparatively non- caustic spray material that ... can be used throughout the season on varieties susceptible to spray injury." However, it "Should not replace Bordeaux mixture in late summer applications on varieties which are susceptible to bitter rot."
At the Truck Station, McWhorter and M. M. Parker, Horticulturist, concluded their studies on the tomato wilt problem with the publication of "A Comparison of Wilt Resistant Tomatoes in Virginia" (F. P. McWhorter and M. M. Parker. 1929. Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 69). This bulletin was also McWhorter's final contribution to Virginia plant pathology literature. The authors compared two Fusarium wilt resistant varieties 'Invincible' and 'Marglobe' with the susceptible varieity 'Stone'. Survival on wilt sick soil was about equal for Invincible and Marglobe; both were superior to Stone which was virtually wiped out. Surprisingly, no data were presented on yield. Invincible had been bred for greenhouse production but because of its high proportion of flesh, it proved to be prized by canners. Recall that earlier they had reported Fusarium strains which rendered 'Marglobe' susceptible.
"Spray Information for Virginia Fruit Growers" was issued in March (Va. Ext. Div. Bul. 111), but the Southern Planter published a copy of it in February [91(3):4, 8, Feb. 1]. That was the only plant pathology topic to appear in the 1929 Southern Planter.
Several significant reports of diseases on Virginia appeared in the 1929 Plant Disease Reporter, volume 13:
- p. 8 - McWhorter reported mosaic ranged from 2 to 50% in Narcissus on bulb farms in the Norfolk area.
- p. 9, 28 - Cobb and Steiner, (U.S.D.A.) reported the occurrence of Tylenchus dipsaci on 3 varieties of Narcissus and on bulbous Iris at North in Mathews Co.
- p. 14-18 - Schneiderhan reported on the incidence and severity of apple scab, the severe damage by fire blight and the predisposing weather during April, occurrence of rust near cedars, presence of frog-eye on poorly pruned trees, and a severe outbreak of powdery mildew in northern Virginia.
- p. 51 - Schneiderhan stated peach bacterial spot "Is general on foliage in northern Virginia. It is more prevalent than at any time in the history of peach growing in this state."
- p. 47-48 - Schneiderhan reported that "instant Bordeaux", 2-4-50, has become popular in Virginia.
- p. 48 - Scab has become more severe than in any previous four years.
- p. 49 - In a brief article, "Benefit from cedar eradication evident in Virginia", Schneiderhan reported that eradication of red cedar as the result of a rigidly enforced state law saved the apple industry. "We feel sure that we have here an example of disease control that will register a real kick to a plant pathologist's pride of profession".
- - In a second article, "Apple russeting in Virginia", he reported russeting was very severe on 'Ben Davis' and 'Grimes' in 1929. He suspected weather conditions were the major factor causing it, and that some sprays exaggerated it.
- p. 75 - Schneiderhan reported that sycamore anthracnose was severe. (Note: This has been a recurring problem - C.W.R.).
- p. 76 - G. H. Martin, U.S.D.A., reported severe blighting of hydrangea at Richmond and moderate blighting at Norfolk and Alexandria.
- p. 92 - Martin reported the first U.S.A. occurrence for both Ascochyta juelii and Phyllosticta latemerensis on Colchicum autummale at Cradle Point, Va.
- p. 97 - Godkin reported severe downy mildew, reducing the crop by 25% in 50 fields of cucumbers.
- p. 99 - Godkin reported on a tobacco plant bed survey. Blackfire was found in 8 of 11 counties surveyed, wildfire was found in only one. In fields, Granville wilt was 15% prevalent in a Brunswick Co. field, and ringspot was 25% prevalent in a Prince Edward Co. field.
- p. 105 - Godkin found the wheat gall nematode in fields in Albemarle, Prince William, Rappahannock, Rockingham, and Shenandoah Cos.
- p. 112 - Hurt reported heavy apple foliage scab in the Lower (southern) Valley and damage to 'Pippins' by fireblight in the Piedmont.
- p. 113 - Hurt reaffirmed the earlier reports of apple russeting attributed to frost. Of bacterial spot of peach he wrote "A few 'Hale' orchards will be a complete loss (fruit) due to this disease."
- p. 140 - Godkin observed cotton anthracnose in Nansemond Co. (now Suffolk) ranging from trace to 15% severity.
- p. 170 - Godkin reported on the use of seed treatment dusts to control cereal smuts, "About 20,000 bu will be treated for fall seeding. Copper carbonate will be used on wheat, while Ceresan is recommended for oats and barley."
The foregoing reports give some account of the principle diseases on Virginia crops. Note that peanuts, corn, tomatoes and other truck crops are missing from the list. This may be related to the predominance of attention to the crops listed, but it may also be due to a lack of inquiries by growers. As the personnel changes at Winchester, Blacksburg, and Norfolk in 1929 and 1930 no doubt so will the crop emphasis.
Other events occurring in 1929 that would have future impacts on Virginia plant pathology include Fleming's discovery of penicillin, Helen Purdy Beale's report that a partially purified virus may be injected into rabbits and an antiserum could be obtained; from this, serological tests were developed for identifying viruses. F. O. Holmes developed the local lesion method on Nicotiana glutinosa for estimating the titer of tobacco mosaic virus in tissue. As a matter of curiosity, the German dirigible, Graf Zepplin, plying the Atlantic Ocean was found to have three kinds of plant pathogens among floral arrangements displayed in passenger areas (G. K. Parris. 1979. A Chronology of Plant Pathology. pp. 116-117).
The Experiment Station plant physiologist, E. F. Davis, resigned June 30, 1930, and his replacement, G. M. Shear, was on the job the next day. Shear would make several pathology related contributions. Harold T. Cook was appointed Plant Pathologist at the Truck Station March 10, to replace McWhorter. As the result of a $2,500 contribution from the Virginia fruit growers, a new fruit research laboratory was constructed on the University of Virginia campus. There, for the first time, Hurt would have adequate office and laboratory space. It would serve as the Piedmont Research Laboratory for 19 years. He would share space with an entomologist.
No major research publications were prepared by plant pathologists in 1930. However, Hurt addressed the 34th Horticultural Society meetings in late 1929 on "New developments in spray materials"; [Va. Fruit 18(1):158-169, Jan. 1930]. He discussed calcium sulphide (also called calcium mono-sulphide), a fungicide of which he was the leader in its development. He described its preparation, properties, results of four years of tests, and comparison with recommended fungicides. He showed that the material was superior to Bordeaux mixture and lime-sulphur in disease control and producing better fruit finish but apparently it has an awful odor, that of hydrogen sulphide. Hurt next described the use of waste calcium bisulfite from paper mills in fruit sprays. The product was marketed as Glutrin (a liquid) and Goulac (a powder) and was suggested as a substitute for calcium caseinate, the traditional sticker-spreader of the time. Hurt claimed these products were easier to handle, produced a more stable emulsion, were miscible in any proportion with concentrated lime-sulphur, and was cheaper than calcium caseinate.
Dr. J. F. Adams of the Delaware Agricultural Experiment Station had been invited to speak at the same meeting on "Foliage injury in relation to spray materials and plant diseases of the peach" [Va. Fruit 18(1):52-59, Jan. 1930]. He described injuries caused by copper sprays, sulphur, arsenic, lead arsenate and their interactions with environmental factors. He also pointed out that bacterial spot damage is often confused with spray injury. He emphasized that although these injuries are difficult to control, they may be minimized by keeping trees at maximum vigor, carefully mixing sprays according to recommendations, and by applying sulphurs and arsenicals during the coolest part of the day. Bacterial spot control has not yet been achieved. James Godkin and A. H. Teske, extension fruit specialist had developed an interesting format to discuss fruit problems on WDBJ-Roanoke radio. Teske took the role of a Professor with boundless knowlege and Godkin, "The part of a Southern European who is just learning American Language and methods of fruit growing." Godkin was Joe Apple. "Those who have listened in, have pronounced the dialogue very humorous as well as instructive. Reports from growers all over the State have been highly complimentary, and it is evident the Professors Teske and Godkin are making an enviable reputation for their ability as broadcasters. Their Amos and Andy method of delivering otherwise dry information to the fruit growers, is rapidly gaining interest among grower radio fans" [Va. Fruit 18(5):3, May 1930].
At the annual meetings of the American Phytopathological Society, (Dec. 28, 1929 - Jan. 1, 1930), Hurt read a paper, "The waste sulphite liquor of paper mills as an adjunct to spray materials" (Phytopathology 20:111), in which he gave a brief review of his December Horticultural Society address.
The reports about Virginia plant diseases in the Plant Disease Reporter volume 14, were contributed by all of our pathologists:
- A. B. Groves and R. H. Hurt appraised the development of fruit diseases (pp. 55, 60, 66, 126, 133, 156). Fruit tree diseases were unimportant due to a prolonged spring and summer drought. Powdery mildew was severe in 'Jonathan' orchards.
- S. A. Wingard, H. T. Cook, T. C. Johnson, and R. J. Haskell collaborated on reports of onion white rot in Prince George Co., only the fourth known occurrence in the U.S.A. Since it was a rare disease, it created quite a stir among vegetable pathologists. (Ibid. pp. 82-83, 104-105).
- James Godkin and R. G. Henderson monitored tobacco diseases.
- H. T. Cook monitored vegetable diseases mostly in eastern Virginia. Cucumber downy mildew, lima bean stem rot (p. 143), powdery mildew of bean, first Virginia record (p. 217), two kinds of leaf spot and rust of cowpeas, downy mildew of soybean (p. 225) and dodder on pepper (p. 216), attracted his attention.
- Wingard and Henderson reported severe blossom-end rot of tomato in southwest Virginia due to severe drought and severe losses to cabbage yellows due to a lack of seeds of resistant varieties (p. 162). Ringspot occurred on cantaloupes in a Prince Edward Co. field near tobacco which also had ringspot (p. 187).
- Henderson found tobacco ringspot on Petunia violacea in Pittsylvania and Washington Cos. He had already found that ringspot is seedborne in petunia.
No corn, peanut, or potato diseases were reported in 1930.
"Information for Virginia Fruit Growers" was reissued in January as Extension Division Bulletin 114. There were new sections on rodent control, grafting, and wound dressing. The Southern Planter reprinted it in February [91(3) Feb. 1:4, 6]. For two years, 1929 and 1930, the spray information was the only plant pathology appearing in the Southern Planter. The magazine seemed to be drying up as a resource.
At the Truck Station, the first contribution by H. T. Cook to Virginia plant pathology appeared in the bulletin "Onion Culture" (W. O. Strong, H. H. Zimmerley, and H. T. Cook. 1930. Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 72), for which he prepared a section on fungous and bacterial diseases. He described neck rot, white rot, soft rot, and smudge, and gave control measures for each; he also rated the diseases for importance to Virginia growers. Strong was an Entomologist and Zimmerley was a Horticulturist.
Cook also began his pioneer work for forecasting the timing of fungicidal applications with special emphasis on potato late blight and cucurbit downy mildew.
In 1931, results of research by the new members of the faculty appeared in several publications. Henderson described experiments on, "Transmission of tobacco ringspot by seed of petunia" (Phytopathology 21:225-229). After having observed naturally infected Petunia plants in Pittsylvania and Washington Cos., he grew plants from seed produced on plants inoculated with ringspot virus from tobacco. In two plantings, 19.8 and 20.2%, respectively, of the seedlings were infected. In another publication, "Further studies on tobacco ringspot in Virginia" (J. Agr. Res. 43:191-207), Henderson and Wingard reported there was no transmission of ringspot virus through tobacco seeds. In tobacco, they reported that plants inoculated with ringspot virus showed symptoms soon after inoculation, but later, emerging leaves may be symptomless. Cuttings from symptomless portions of infected plants were virus-free. As a consequence, the term "acquired immunity" was coined, not by Wingard, and Henderson but by W. C. Price. Yet Wingard's name was associated with the term in the literature of the 1930's to 1950's. Wingard may have discovered the phenomenon of recovery from symptom expression but he never used "acquired immunity" in his publications. Henderson and Wingard made many inoculations with juice of sweet clover, yellow iron weed, petunias, and squash and found that virus from these sources was less virulent than virus occurring in tobacco. They referred to virus from those sources as attenuated strains.
Shear published "Studies on inanition in Arachis and Phaseolus" (Plant Physiol. 6:277-294, 1931); this was from his Ph.D. dissertation presented to the University of Illinois (Inanition = starvation). It had nothing to do with plant pathology but indicated Shear would be anxious to publish his findings. He would soon make contributions to the understanding of physiological diseases in plants.
Hurt authored, "The Waste Sulphite Material of Paper Mills as Adjuvant to Certain Spray Materials" (Va. Agri. Exp. Sta. Bul. 227). This was his M.S. degree thesis work; it has been reviewed previously (see 1930). Hurt was also a co-author of, "Removal of Spray Residue from Apples" (W. S. Hough, R. H. Hurt, W. B. Ellett, J. F. Eheart, and A. B. Groves. Va. Agri. Exp. Sta. Bul. 278, 1931). He presented a paper to the 35th Annual Meetings of the Horticultural Society December 1930, "New spray materials for apples and peaches [Va. Fruit 19(1):88-95, Jan. 1931]. He described lignin pitch, previously discussed as waste paper manufacturing sulphite (Goulac and Glutrin), and zinc-lime (see below) which he had found reduced spray injuries on peach. He carefully described how and when to use it. In a paper to plant pathologists, he described his discovery that the zinc-lime spray developed by J. W. Roberts for control of the peach bacterial shot-hole disease, if applied with lead arsenate, would prevent arsenical injury to twigs and foliage. There was no comment in his brief article as to the efficacy of the mixture toward peach insects (R. H. Hurt. The prevention of arsenical injury to peach twigs and foliage in Virginia. Phytopathology 21:1204, 1931).
Groves published his initial paper as a Virginia plant pathologist on, "Natural fireblight infections on Spiraea vanhouttei". At Winchester, two spiraea bushes growing under a pear tree developed fire-blight symptoms and Groves showed by inoculation experiments that both pear and spiraea were susceptible to the bacteria isolated from either host (Phytopathology 21:89-91, 1931).
At the 35th Annual Meetings of the Horticultural Society, December 1930, Wingard spoke on "Some important orchard diseases" [Va. Fruit 19(1):143-151, Jan. 1931]. The diseases covered were apple scab, powdery mildew, black root rot, winter injury, and fruit russet. He described and illustrated each item, and mentioned but did not dwell upon bitter rot, black rot, Missouri blotch, sooty blotch, fly-speck, and Phoma fruit spot.
Scattered throughout Virginia Fruit in 1931 were several other items on plant pathology. Wingard wrote, "Mr. Fruit Grower, don't forget apple scab this spring" [Va. Fruit 19(4):10-12, Apr. 1931], in which he reminded growers that even though scab was rare in 1930, there is ample inoculum to cause a flare-up in 1931. If cool, wet weather occurs in April, May, and June, scab infections may be expected. "The grower who sprays thoroughly with the proper materials and at the right time ... should have no difficulty in securing commercial control of scab."
James Godkin published notes on "Powdery mildew of roses" [Va. Fruit 19(6):15, June 1931], and "The home orchard" [Ibid. (7):14-16, July 1931]. For rose mildew, he recommended strict sanitation and use of potassium sulphide spray in the summer. For home orchards, he admonished owners to spray for disease and insect control or cut the trees down lest they menace commercial orchards. Godkin and Teske, it was announced, would be on a national radio hookup June 16, as Joe Apple and Professor Hort, in a discussion of "Apples consumers like to eat" [Va. Fruit 19(6):18, June 1931]. Groves wrote, "Fire blight becoming prevalent on apples" [Va. Fruit 19(7):14, July, 1931]. He emphasized occurrence of cankers on twigs which could lead to main- branch cankers. These could be treated with a hydrochloric acid-zinc chloride-alcohol concoction.
Vegetable Gardening Extension Specialist L. B. Dietrick wrote an article on, "Insect and disease control for truck crops" [Va. Fruit 19(6):16-18, June 1931], in which he enumerated 14 procedures for pest control; 11 of these were aimed partially or entirely at disease control. Items included were soil sterilization, crop rotation, field sanitation, resistant varieties, seed treatment, rogueing, spraying, and dusting. D. A. Tucker of the V.P.I. Horticulture Department contributed, "Growing grapes in Virginia" [Va. Fruit 19(8):12-13, Aug. 1931]. He hammered away on the necessity of controlling black rot with frequent sprays of Bordeaux mixture and by destruction of plant residue. (For many years black rot has been a limiting factor in Virginia grape production - C.W.R.).
S. B. Fenne published his M.S. thesis "Field studies on the ring-spot disease of burley tobacco in Washington County, Virginia" (Phytopathology 21:891-899, 1931). Although he was a county agricultural extension agent at the time, he would later succeed Godkin as the Extension Plant Pathologist at Blacksburg. Fenne found that steam sterilization of tobacco plant beds did not prevent ringspot infections in fields planted from such beds; that insects common on tobacco do not transmit ringspot; that Verbesina alternifolia, stickweed, was a carrier of ringspot virus. White sweet clover, as already shown by Wingard, was the only other weed carrying the virus. The loss due to ringspot in Washington Co., 1929, was $27,384.
The first original research published by H. T. Cook at the Truck Station was on the "Powdery Mildew Disease of Snap Beans" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 74, 1931). The 1930 fall crop was severely damaged by the pod-russeting phase of the disease. In 1930, commerical snap beans were usually hand picked several times. After the first picking, beans in subsequent pickings were severely russeted. Cook illustrated leaf and pod symptoms. The disease was favored by a dry, cool growing season. Sulphur dusts or sprays or lime-sulphur sprays were recommended for mildew control. Cook observed that 'Bountiful' green and 'Hodson Wax' varieties were susceptible while 'Refugee' was resistant and was recommended for fall crops. He presented a paper on the "Nature of powdery-mildew injury to snap beans in Virginia in 1930" at the December 30, 1930-January 1, 1931 meetings of the American Phytopathological Society (Phytopathology 21:116, 1931).
Cook's second major publication was "The Diseases of Sweet Potatoes in Virginia and Methods for Their Control" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 76, 1931). This was a review of literature; no original experiments were described. Cook described about 12 major diseases common to sweet potatoes in Virginia. The bulletin was well illustrated. In addition, there were reviews of control methods applicable to production and storage of roots. There was a six-part calendar of control measures, which appeared to be an original innovation.
In the Plant Disease Reporter, volume 15, Cook reported on the occurrence of spinach downy mildew (p. 36), kale Sclerotinia rot (p. 36), and Phomopsis vexans induced damping-off of eggplant seedlings (p. 48). W. D. Moore, U.S.D.A., reported extensive pod blight on lima bean (Diaporthe) in the Norfolk area.
Reports on fruit diseases indicated there was little damage expected in 1931 (pp. 49, 99-100). Wingard reported powdery mildew to be playing havoc with wheat and barley in some sections of the State in May (p. 49). R. J. Haskell (U.S.D.A.) reported wheat stinking smut to be very damaging in Fairfax Co. Other wheat diseases found there were galls (nematode), loose smut, leaf rust, powdery mildew, scab, and glume blotch (p. 68). Leukel (U.S.D.A.) and Godkin, at the request of millers in Page Co., surveyed for and found galls in wheat from 12 farmers. All had purchased seed from a common source. He also learned that most farmers had implemented the recommended practices of cleaning seeds and crop rotation to rid their wheat of the galls (p. 129-130). In reports of tobacco angular leaf spot in Halifax (p. 58) and several other counties, Godkin found that growers who followed recommended practices of seed treatment and seed bed sanitation avoided the disease (p. 98). In late May and early June, downy mildew was generally prevalent in Mecklenburg and Patrick Cos. (p. 61). It was the first time this disease appeared in Virginia (Godkin). Cook (p. 50) reported rapid killing of alfalfa in Newport News in a field preceded by a planting of turnips which were also "affected by the same disease." (Note: the fungus was reported as Sclerotinia trifoliorum but this fungus does not colonize turnip; S. sclerotiorum colonizes both species - C.W.R.). The first report of the white pine blister rust fungus in Virginia came from Frederick and Rappahannock Cos. (p. 144). The fungus was found on Ribes rotundifolium according to Roy G. Pierce reporting in the Blister Rust News 15(9):213. In a survey of the Virginia peanut crop, W. D. Moore (U.S.D.A.) found peanut leaf spot (Cercospora personata) causing 15% defoliation and stem rot (Sclerotium rolfsii) causing a 5-10% loss, mostly on sandy soils (p. 166). Finally, a report of the sugar beet nematode, Heterodera schachtii, on a Polygonum sp. in Fairfax Co. came from G. Steiner (p. 145). The nematode was later found to be H. polygoni, not the sugar beet nematode.
The annual "Spray Information for Virginia Fruit Growers" was published early in 1931 (Va. Ext. Div. Bul. 123). It was republished in the Southern Planter [92(3):4-5, Feb. 1, 1931] and was the only plant pathology topic in the 1931 issues of the magazine.
For plant pathologists, the year ends with a meeting of the American Phytopathological Society, followed by publication in January of abstracts of their presentations. At the 1931 meeting, Cook, of the Truck Station, read a paper, "Control of powdery mildew of snap beans", in which he reports that of twelve sulphur and copper sprays and dusts, lime-sulphur spray and sulphur-based dusts gave the best control. Four applications at weekly intervals were necessary beginning when mildew first appeared (Phytopathology 22:7, 1932). Groves, of the Winchester station, reported on variation in cultures of fungi causing, "The sooty-blotch and fly speck of the apple" (Phytopathology 22:10, 1932).
Papers delivered before the December 1931 meetings of the Virginia State Horticultural Society were also published in January 1932. Hurt spoke on two topics, "Zinc lime spray and its importance as a peach spray", and, "Tar oil distillates as dormant spray materials for fruit trees" [Va. Fruit 20(1):94-104, Jan. 1932]. In the first paper, Hurt pointed out that arsenical injury of peach foliage coincided with efforts to control the oriental fruit moth and that he first observed injury in 1924. With the introduction of zinc-lime spray, zinc Bordeaux by J. W. Roberts (U.S.D.A.) for control of bacteriosis, Hurt experimented with it although no bacteriosis occurred in his spray plots. He discovered that arsenical injury was eliminated; this serendipitous find led Hurt to recommend zinc-lime be included in the spray simply as a foliage-maintaining product, not as a pathogen-controlling agent.
In the second paper, Hurt described the origin and diverse uses of coal tar oil distillates. Hurt experimented with them beginning in 1927 and found them to be very efficient for control of apple aphids, but petroleum oils were superior for San Jose scale.
M. B. Waite (U.S.D.A.) contributed a talk on, "Peach yellows and little peach in Virginia" [Va. Fruit 20(1):104-117]. He reported that peach yellows was common but not prevalent or destructive in Virginia through 1931. Little peach had been found only at Lovingston in Nelson Co., 1929. Waite considered this to be the southern-most outpost of little peach (Note: Little peach and yellows are now known to be different expressions of an MLO infection). No phony peach nor peach rosette was known in Virginia. For yellows control, infected (symptomatic) trees should be destroyed as soon as they are discovered. All trees in an area where yellowed trees are found should be surveyed frequently during the growing season. Control becomes a community necessity.
In 1931, F. E. Clements and C. L. Shear (father of G. M. Shear) published "The Genera of Fungi", a most useful taxonomic work.
The earliest research publication from the Blacksburg station in 1932, was "Some nutritional disorders in corn grown in sand cultures" (N. A. Pettinger, R. G. Henderson, and S. A. Wingard. Phytopathology 22:33-51, 1922). The authors recognized and described magnesium and manganese deficiency and sodium toxicity symptoms and, "Found that addition of manganese, zinc, copper, boron, and arsenic to the basal nutrient solution increased the frost resistance of young corn plants grown in sand culture."
Groves published an article, "A photographic light box for use in agricultural research" (J. Agric. Res. 44:467-475, 1932), in which he stated, "This light box ... has proved very satisfactory as a source of illumination for photographing diseased fruits and similar specimens." He illustrated the article with photographs of a mushroom, twig canker, apple spray injury, and an insect larva.
Thus, there was little research publication by the Experiment Station plant pathology staff in 1932. There was a considerable flow of popular articles, as cited below.
During 1932, several articles were published in Virginia Fruit. Hurt reviewed again how to, "Prevent arsenical injury to your peach trees" [Va. Fruit 20(3):10-12, Mar. 1932]. Wingard raised the question, "What is the present status of apple scab in Virginia?" [Ibid. 20(3):12-14, Mar. 1932]. The nation was gripped in the depths of a depression and growers were seeking ways to cut costs. Wingard warned them that they must apply pink, petal-fall, and 3-week sprays in order to produce a high percentage of No. 1 apples. Wingard also described and illustrated, "Blister canker of apple trees" [Ibid. 20(4):15-16, Apr. 1932], a disease apparently not well known to growers but wide-spread in Virginia orchards and caused by Numularia discreta. Varieties were classified into four response categories from very susceptible to very resistant. The disease was said to be one of old orchards where control by pruning proved unsuccessful. Wingard recommended destruction of old trees.
Two articles on peach leaf curl appeared in Virginia Fruit. Wingard described, "Peach leaf curl" [20(6):10-11, June 1932], and pointed out that a single oil emulsion spray of lime-sulphur or Bordeaux mixture should be applied during dormancy. Hurt reiterated the same points and emphasized that these oil emulsion sprays also controlled scale [Ibid. 20(12):6-8, Dec. 1932]. Hurt emphasized that even though orchardists were suffering in the depression, they could not survive if they did not maintain their trees in a healthy condition.
Wingard described, "Bitter pit of apple" [Ibid. 20(12):8-10, Dec. 1932]. He pointed out that this non-parasitic disease is affected by rainfall distribution and degree of maturity at harvest and storage temperature. Growers were urged to pick only fully ripe fruit. Hurt had two other publications in Virginia Fruit. He reviewed his, "Observations of tar oil sprays in 1932". The article dealt with insect control. There was concern for the environment even back in 1932. "Disposal of the acid wash solutions from fruit washers," was a topic aired by Hurt [Ibid. 20(8):6-8, Aug. 1932]. The lead and arsenic could be precipitated from the wash by the addition of calcium sulphide. The precipate was insoluble and could be dumped. (Could this be done in the 90's?)
Assistant Experiment Station Horticulturist, R. C. Moore, earned an M.S. in June 1932. He submitted a 140 page review of literature text on tree fruit diseases in Virginia for his minor. Each was beautifully illustrated with ink drawings of incitants and sections through infected tissues. There were also high quality photographs of each disease. Reiterating, this tome was submitted for a minor in plant pathology. Modern students do much less for a major. Having prepared this wonderful compendium, Moore submitted an extract from it to Virginia Fruit, "Fire blight of apple" [20(6):11-13, June 1932]. After a description of fire blight, Moore recommended strict pruning of cankers or treatment of cankers with a hydrochloric acid-zinc chloride-denatured alcohol mixture.
Godkin also published a note in Virginia Fruit. He described, "The wilt disease of sweet corn" [20(7):10, July 1932]. The sole source of inoculum was thought to be bacterial-infected seed. The role of flea beetles had not been established. Therefore, a seed treatment with bichloride of mercury was prescribed.
There was a warning to growers that cedar rust on apple leaves was increasing. Growers were urged to cut young cedars from previously cleared land. [Ibid. 20(9):11, Sept., 1932].
Virginia Fruit had become a clearing house for applied fruit pathology articles. Certainly, information was reaching the targeted audience. On the other hand, the Southern Planter as a source of popular articles had dried up. Through 1934, only reproductions of the spray program were published. However, sometime during late 1933, there was a change in the editorship; T. K. Wolfe's name was no longer listed in the masthead. Beginning in March 1934, Paul D. Saunders was editor. Perhaps thereafter, plant pathology articles would be featured. But beginning in 1932, the depression also struck the Southern Planter. It cut from 24 to 12 issues a year.
The Plant Disease Reporter vol. 16 had a scattering of reports of disease incidences and surveys from Virginia in 1932:
- p. 5 - Godkin described surveys made May 11 through July 1, 1931. He found wheat loose smut averaged 1%, stinking smut reached 40% but average 2%, nematode gall disease averaged 3% in seven counties, black stem rust was serious only in Grayson and Smyth Cos.; one field was scored 90% severity and was a total loss. Leaf rust averaged 5%. He found oat and barley smuts to be common and on rye only leaf rust was common. There was no mention of powdery mildew, glume blotch, crown rust or scald.
- p. 6 - In a field survey of tobacco diseases in 1931, he found blackfire, mosaic, black root rot and frenching. One field in Pittsylvania Co. had almost 100% prevalence of mosaic.
- p. 19 - Paul R. Miller and R. J. Haskell of the U.S.D.A. made a survey of sweet potato storage diseases during February 1932. They were accompanied by H. T. Cook of the Va. Truck Station. Black rot, soft rot, surface rot, and charcoal rot were most frequently observed.
- p. 92 - Groves at Winchester reported pear and apple fire blight to be more prevalent and damaging in 1932 than in previous year.
- p. 94 - Groves reported scab and powdery mildew to be very common in May 1932.
- p. 95 - Godkin reported tobacco downy mildew (= blue mold) to be present throughout the bright (flue-cured) belt, in 10 counties, by June 8. Where 4-4-50 Bordeaux sprays were applied, the spread of the disease appeared to be checked.
- p. 96 - G. F. Gravatt and R. B. Clapper (U.S.D.A.) reported maple Verticillium wilt to be present in Roanoke and Pulaski and from Staunton northward in the Valley of Virginia. They also found an Ailanthus tree with the disease in Roanoke.
- p. 111 - Physarum sp., a slime mold was troublesome in sweet potato seed beds in 1932.
- p. 115 - Wheat rosette-mosaic is mentioned by H. H. McKinney (U.S.D.A.) as occurring in Virginia.
- p. 153 - Cook reported damage from Septoria in Northern Neck tomato fields and bacterial blight of lima bean severe in King and Queen Co. and on Eastern Shore. In a test of Marglobe from different seed companies, variation in resistance was observed. From 4 to 58% wilted plants occurred in a heavily infested field.
- p. 158 - Paul R. Miller found apples not infected with cedar-apple rust were infected with quince rust. Quince rust occurred from Augusta and Albemarle Cos. northward.
- p. 164 - Miller also surveyed peanut fields from Virginia southward. In Virginia, he found Cercospora leaf spot, Botrytis leaf spot and Sclerotium rolfsii induced wilt.
- p. 182 - Miller followed up the earlier storage survey of sweet potato diseases with a field survey. "... There is a close correlation between severity of disease in storage and the cultural and handling practices, especially the rough handling during harvest."
Godkin wrote about "Controlling tobacco diseases in Scott County, Virginia" (The Extension Pathologist 3:25-26, Nov. 1932). He described the treatment of 130 lots of tobacco seed with bichloride of mercury and how plants from treated seed were free of black fire while plants from untreated seed had the disease. The profit from treating were estimated at $10,000-15,000.
At the Truck Station, Cook and H. G. Walker released a bulletin, "Rose Diseases and Insects and Their Control" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 79, 1932). Powdery mildew and leaf spot were among the 10 diseases listed. The use of sulphur dusts and sprays and Bordeaux mixture was recommended.
M. M. Parker, Horticulturist prepared a bulletin entitled "Celery Culture in Eastern Virginia" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 78, 1932) in which he described briefly damping-off (caused by several fungi), pink rot (Sclerotinia spp.), early blight (Cercospora apii), and black heart (physiological). Crop rotations were required and weekly spraying with Bordeaux mixture was recommended as soon as early blight was detected. Parker did not acknowledge any help from Cook.
Cook published an article, "The control of powdery mildew of snap bean" (Trans. Peninsula Hort. Soc. 22:25-28), in which he reviewed the content of Truck Experiment Station Bul. 74.
In American Phytopathological Society affairs for 1932, of Virginia pathologists, only Cook served on a committee, the Elections Committee, an annual ad hoc function.
As in previous years, meetings were held in December, papers were read and the contents were published in January 1933. At the December 1932 meetings of the Virginia State Horticultural Society, Hurt spoke on "Zinc and copper spray materials for peaches and apples" [Va. Fruit 21(1):55-64]. Since having learned to control arsenical injury to peach foliage by adding zinc sulphate, Hurt said spray pressure may be increased from 200-225 lbs. to 300-350 lbs. He presented a revised peach spray schedule. He discussed Bordeaux mixture injuries and how to ameliorate them by adding calcium sulphide. There was a lively question and answer session following Hurt's paper.
The after dinner speaker for the 1932 meetings was S. W. Fletcher, former director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, who addressed the Society on "A history of fruit growing in Virginia" [Va. Fruit 21(1):109-146, Jan. 1933]. This must have lasted more than an hour; I hope his voice and manners kept his audience awake. In the talk he mention that as of 1722, stone fruits bore lavishly even under neglect. "There were no serious insect or fungous pests." Early in the 17th century, the London and Virginia Companies and the Colonial Assembly offered rewards and requirements that growers plant European grapes. These plantings were doomed to failure by downy mildew, black rot and the phylloxera root louse, to which native American grapes were resistant. The Old Dominion Fruit Growing Co. had planted 18,000 peach trees in Surry Co. by 1867. They were not profitable because the fruit rotted. They tried in 1873 with 20,000 pear trees, mostly Bartlett. They were profitable through 1881 but then fire blight began to decimate the orchards and by 1887, little remained of Tidewater pear culture. In other Tidewater areas, peach culture was destroyed by yellows, borers, and brown rot. Grape culture was attempted again after the Civil War but by 1870 black rot and downy mildew forced growers out of business. Two years later, Bordeaux mixture was discovered but by the time the growers could master spraying, the vines were gone. Fletcher reported that Oscar Reierson of Albemarle Co. was spraying with Bordeaux mixture in 1887. It remained for William Alwood of V.P.I. to experiment with and teach spraying methods. (And also import suitable spray equipment). Fletcher recalled that Alwood had in 1889 published the first papers in Virginia on spraying and on apple rusts. He also reminded growers that the first crop pest law in Virginia aimed at controlling peach yellows had been prepared by Alwood. No doubt Alwood was in the audience to hear the praise for his role in saving the Virginia fruit industry.
At the December American Phytopathological Society meetings, Henderson reported that carbolic acid would preserve tobacco ringspot virus in extracts for 7 days (Phytopathology 23:14-15, 1933). Hurt described the substitution of zinc hydroxide for calcium hydroxide in arsenical sprays to reduce arsenic injury (Ibid. 23:17, 1933). Wingard described the, "Nature of rust resistance in beans," in which he described reaction types and distinguished three reponse groups (Ibid. 23:38, 1933). This work is illustrated in Va. Agri. Expt. Tech. Bul. 51, 1933). Cook of the Truck Station spoke on, "Infection of seed clusters of spinach by Peronospora effusa" (Ibid. 23:6, 1933). Infection of pericarp, funiculus, and intiguments of ovule but not of the embryo or perisperm was demonstrated.
In 1932, the genetics of fungi was stimulated by Hansen and Smith who reported heterokaryosis was a mechanism which enabled fungus variation, and by Lindegren whose studies with Neurospora laid the groundwork for vast experimentation in Ascomycete genetics. (Parris, 1979. A Chronology of Plant Pathology, 2nd ed., p. 123).
During 1932, Hurt completed the requirements for an M.S. degree in plant pathology. His thesis was entitled, "A study of calcium monosulphide and waste sulphite material of paper mills as fungicides and adjuncts to fungicides and insecticides." A copy is on file at the V.P.I. & S.U. Library but oddly it is not dated and there are no literature citations.
Shear published his first technical bulletin based on research at V.P.I. in June 1933 (G. M. Shear. Field and Laboratory Studies on Frenching of Tobacco. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 49). Frenching had caused some problems in the southwestern Virginia burley area. It was first noted by John Clayton of Virginia in a letter to the Royal Society of London, dated May 12, 1688. It is characterized by a ceasation of terminal growth, whitening of veins and chlorosis, a proliferation of axillary buds resulting in an excessive number of strap shaped leaves. Shear attempted to determine its causes. He was able to induce the disease in the field at Blacksburg and in soil and sand in the greenhouse. Frenched plants showed signs of recovery when a superfluous amount of nitrogen was applied to field soils. In greenhouse experiments, Shear noted that excessive watering and soil compaction favored frenching. He could produce the symptoms in glazed, paraffine-coated, or shellacked pots but not in uncoated clay pots. Aeration of glazed or coated pots reduced symptoms as did addition of ammonium nitrate. Cotton added to the soil (to create competition for nitrogen between microorganisms and tobacco) favored frenching; symptoms developed at pH 5.2 to 7.9, the range of the experiment; optimum was pH 7.0-7.5. He collected leachings from soils that produced frenching and watered plants in sand culture with it and produced symptoms, provided the sand surface was sealed with paraffine and the pots were impervious. He observed that partial sterilization of frenching-prone soil prevented frenching. He also observed that application of nitrogen to symptomatic foliage and to roots of frenched plants protruding from pots did not ameliorate symptoms. Shear concluded that the cause of frenching is inherent in the soil on which it occurs. Leaching experiments "... Indicate that frenching is the result of some material in the soil that is toxic to tobacco plants." Thus, frenching, he concluded, is a toxicity disease rather than a deficiency disease, as were the prevailing view of the time.
Groves published his Ph.D. dissertation which he had presented to the Univeristy of West Virginia as the text for a technical bulletin from Virginia (A. B. Groves. A Study of the Sooty Blotch Disease of Apples and the Causal Fungus Gloeodes pomigena. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 50. Sept. 1933). He received his degree in June 1933. Groves studied cultural variation in the fungus and tried to relate colony type in culture to that on apple fruits. He had to develop efficient methods of isolation and suitable culture media. He had photomicrographs that demonstrated penetration of cuticle and epidermis of fruits. He concluded the fungus is an active but weak parasite.
A third technical bulletin from the Department was published by Wingard (S. A. Wingard. The Development of Rust-Resistant Beans by Hybridization. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 51. Oct. 1933). In this report, Wingard's objectives were to determine the inheritance of the rust-resistance factor in beans and to develop rust-resistant strains of Kentucky Wonder (green, pole) and Boston Navy beans. In all crosses between resistant and susceptible varieties, the F1 plants were resistant and F2 segregated 3:1 resistant:susceptible. Thus, resistance was conditioned by a single dominant factor. The resistance was described as "hypersensitiveness of the host to the parasite." Wingard could establish no linkages between resistance and morphologic characters. He complained that it did "require an unusually large number of generations to obtain hybrid plants combining the plant characters of the susceptible parent with the rust resistance of the resistant parent". Apparently Wingard made no use of the backcross procedure which might have simplified his project. For this work, Wingard was awarded the J. Shelton Horsley Research Prize of the Virginia Academy of Sciences, May 1933.
Hurt published the final bulletin of the year from the Department. (R. H. Hurt. Tar Oil Distillates as Dormant Spray Materials for Fruit Trees. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 293, Dec. 1933). In the bulletin he described the nature of tar oil distillates as probably being creosotes, his seven years of experiments with them in apple orchards, instructions for preparing them, and time to apply them. For peaches, the distillates were recommended where aphids were a problem. Hurt had discussed this topic before the Horticultural Society in December 1931 [Va. Fruit 20(1):94-104, Jan. 1932]. Mary C. McBryde received an M.S. in Plant Pathology in June 1933. Her thesis was entitled "Preliminary studies of boxwood blight."
The 1933 Plant Disease Reporter contained subjects that forecast trouble to two prominent Virginia plants, tobacco and American elm. Tobacco downy mildew became widespread in Virginia in 1933. Godkin reported an outbreak of the disease in Halifax Co., April 24. Widespread occurrence was reported in Halifax and Pittsylvania on May 2 (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 17:31, 1933). E. E. Clayton reported from a survey that all tobacco beds examined in Dinwiddie, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Nottoway Cos. on May 15, had downy mildew present for at least two weeks. Neil Stevens (U.S.D.A.) found it in Washington Co. on May 11. (Ibid. 17:45, 60). A summarizing comment by Clayton indicated losses may be reduced because growers doubled seed bed sizes. "It is reported that more tobacco cloth was sold in southern Virginia than for many years (p. 45).
G. F. Gravatt and M. E. Fowler (both of U.S.D.A.) published an interesting article titled "Log interceptions at Norfolk in relation to the entry of tree diseases" (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 17:129-133, 1933). They reported that three shipments of elm logs were intercepted by quarantine inspectors at Norfolk, Virginia on July 25, August 15 and 22. In each shipment, Graphium ulmi (now Ceratocystis ulmi) was isolated from logs in each shipment. Scolytus beetles, known vectors of G. ulmi in Europe, were found in the August shipments and 14 of 52 larvae were found infested with G. ulmi. Thus, the risk of an outbreak of Dutch elm disease lay on piers at the Norfolk waterside. No diseased trees were found in Virginia in 1933.
There was a disturbing article published in the June Plant Disease Reporter (Ibid. 17:46-53, 1933). Eel grass (Zostera marina) was dying out in the coastal waters from North Carolina to Labrador. Eelgrass served as a water fowl food and was used in packing, insulation, bedding, etc. The plant abounded in Back Bay, Virginia Beach and in various parts of Chesapeake Bay. Loss of this plant caused starvation among the migratory ducks and geese that wintered in Back Bay. No cause of eelgrass death was demonstrated; its disappearance was documented on the European Atlantic coast at the same time it was dying out in the North American coast (Ibid. 17:119-120, 142- 144).
Wingard, Groves, M. B. Waite (U.S.D.A.), J. S. Cooley (U.S.D.A.), and C. L. Shear (U.S.D.A.) issued reports on various fruit diseases (Ibid. 17:33, 41, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 111, 176). Groves wrote a summary of, "The fruit disease situation in northern Virginia for 1933" (Ibid. 17:134-137). He covered the gamut of fruit diseases. Noteworthy diseases were apple scab which was deemed the most damaging since 1924 and cedar rust which had ceased to be damaging as a result of cedar eradication.
Cook reported a destructive outbreak of Sclerotinia drop of kale in January and a 30% loss of autumn cabbage caused by black rot in the Norfolk trucking area. Cook attributed the outbreak to wind-driven rains from tropical storms that swept the area on August 23 and September 16 (Ibid. 17:18, 156).
Aside from tobacco diseases, only alfalfa and clover root rot (Sclerotinia trifoliorum) were reported by Wingard as very destructive in late winter (Ibid. 17:34).
In The Extension Pathologist, Godkin reported on plans of Virginia cabbage growers to produce their own seed of Fusarium wilt resistant varieties. Seed of Marion Market, Jersey Queen, and Wisconsin All-Seasons had been in short supply in some previous years. Such a procedure would pump $30 to 60 thousand into the cabbage production area (Serial No. 8:36-37, Aug. 1933).
The annual, "Information for Virginia Fruit Growers" is numbered Extension Bulletin 131. It would remain 131 and be revised for many years.
In Virginia Fruit [21(4):6-10, Apr. 1933], Groves wrote about, "Lime-sulphur substitute spray materials." The products he described were sulphur manufactured by a variety of procedures. As a consequence, the particle sizes vary; this is related to their fungicidal properties. Groves gave a description of several products, giving their physical characteristics and relative effectiveness.
Hurt wrote about, "Fungicide compositions for late summer applications on apples" [Ibid. 21(6):18-19, June 1933]. He explained how the growers should adjust the strength of various components when making mixtures, i.e., Bordeaux mixture and wettable sulphurs, zinc-lime and wettable sulphurs.
Wingard contributed two articles, the first, "The black root rot disease of apple" [Ibid. 21(7):13-14, July 1933], was an admonition to growers not to attribute all apple tree death to black root rot. Severe drought had contributed to death of trees in shallow soils and those weakened by winter injury, mouse injury or other causes. If trees died from the aforementioned causes, growers could safely replant in the vacant site, but if black root rot caused death, replanting in such a site would only lead to death of the replant. Thus, the grower needed to establish in each case whether black root rot was the cause. Therefore, Wingard described and illustrated the symptoms and signs and stated that roots must be examined for blackening. Northern Spy had been previously recommended as a resistant root stock but recent observation indicated it was as susceptible as others. Thus, to avoid the disease, growers were advised to keep trees in a vigorous state.
Wingard's second article was a warning to growers that, "Peach leaf curl is ready to play havoc with the 1934 peach crop if ---" [Ibid. 21(10):8-10, Oct. 1933]. A build-up of peach leaf curl had been noted during 1931, 1932, and 1933. This was attributed to the depression during which growers were seeking ways to cut expenses and off-set falling fruit prices. As a result, they had reduced their efforts during dormancy and bud expansion. Wingard advised them to spray for control of curl and scale insects with an oil-lime sulphur or an oil-Bordeaux dormant spray. Leaf curl cannot be controlled after the buds open.
Even Godkin had an article in Virginia Fruit; his was a warning to readers to look for Dutch elm disease [Watch your elm trees. Va. Fruit 21(10):11, Oct. 1933]. This disease was spreading and a new outbreak had occurred in New Jersey. Recently, four logs from France had been found at Norfolk bearing the causal fungus. (See review of Plant Disease Reporter items below, esp. vol. 17:129-133). Dutch elm disease had not yet been found in Virginia but readers who found suspicious trees were encouraged to contact the Dutch Elm Disease Laboratory at Wooster, Ohio. The year ended with five talks on plant diseases given to the State Horticultural Society and two papers being read to the American Phytopathologic Society.
At the Horticultural Society, C. R. Willey, Associate State Entomologist, Richmond, spoke on, "Cedar rust and Japanese beetle" [Va. Fruit 22(1):58-63, Jan. 1934]; actually it was more of a conversation with the audience. Willey described why cedar eradication failed to protect orchards in 1933 as it had also failed in 1924. Eradication to the north, west, and south of orchards but not to the east had been very thorough. A few isolated trees to the east had showered orchards with spores when for the first time in years at a critical time, an east wind had prevailed during a wet spell. Willey then described the Cedar Rust Law enacted March 4, 1914, which must be adopted by the county Board of Supervisors before it can be implemented. Afterward a petition must be provided to the State Entomologist who investigates and certifies that a condition meriting eradication exists on non-orchardist property. The Entomologist notifies the petitionees; then eradication may begin. The growers must finance the eradication. He gave precautions to growers as to how public funds must be accounted for by county Commissioners and Treasurers.
Next, Hurt spoke on, "Phoney peach and other peach diseases" [Ibid. 22(1):64- 69, Jan. 1934). Note the spelling of "phony." He described the disease symptoms, incubation period, transmission by root grafts, control, and distribution. It had been found in Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, and southward, but not yet in Virginia. Hurt did not call it a viral disease but later it was thought to be. (Note: It was established in the early 1970's that rickettsia-like bacteria cause the disease. It had been established earlier that certain leafhoppers were the vectors). Hurt also talked about brown rot and bacterial shot-hole. Afterward, President Nininger complimented Hurt on his good work through the years.
Groves spoke on, "The lime-sulphur substitutes and their role in the Virginia spray program" [Ibid. 22(1):116-126, Jan. 1934]. This was a grower-oriented discussion of various sulphur fungicides, their efficacy, etc. Their usage was recommended to reduce injury caused by Bordeaux mixture and lime-sulphur. Groves was becoming an expert on sulphur fungicides.
Next, F. D. Fromme, now Dean of Agriculture at West Virginia University, spoke as a substitute for S. A. Wingard who could not attend the meeting. His topic was, "Apple scab control" [Ibid. 22(1):142-149, Jan. 1934]. Fromme gave detailed discussion of the disease cycle, epidemiology, and effects of environment, especially rainfall in May, on the severity of scab. Failure in wet years was due to extremely vast numbers of ascospore being discharged over a long period, and inability of the grower to get into the orchard for timely spraying. He dwelt briefly upon fungicides, but because he had already been in administration for five years, deferred that discussion to Virginia's fruit pathologists.
Hurt presented a second talk on "Tar oil distillates (tar creosotes) as dormant spray materials for the control of aphids and other insect pests" [Ibid. 22(1):149-160, Jan. 1934]. This was an oral repetition of his 1933 bulletin no. 293, previously reviewed.
Resolution no. 5 requested that the Society Secretary contact and ask the Civil Conservation Corps to join in destroying cedars near orchards; and further resolved that the CCC be reminded of the importance of destroying cedar, barberry and other plants harmful to agriculture; and the U.S.D.A. be urged to destroy systematically all plants that harbored harmful diseases and insects [Ibid. 22(1):163, Jan. 1934]. Mention of the CCC reminds us that the New Deal programs had been activated under the auspices of the National Industrial Recovery Act (later NRA), enacted by the Congress June 16, 1933. The act provided for establishment of the AAA, PWA, CCC, and WPA, all of which contributed to the betterment of agriculture during their existence, and in several cases were involved with plant pathology projects.
At the 25th annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society in Atlantic City, December 28-30, 1933, only Henderson presented papers. He described the, "Effect of air temperature on tobacco ring-spot infection" (Phytopathology 24:10-11, 1934), in which he reported that moving symptomatic plants from the lower temperature (80-85°F) to a higher temperature (above 93°F) curtailed further development of symptoms. Plants at 93° having no symptoms developed symptoms when moved to 80- 85°. In the paper, "Experiments on the control of downy mildew of tobacco" (Ibid. 24:11), he reported the product Cal-Mo-Sul (calcium monosulphide) gave results approaching commerical control, while Bordeaux mixture gave only slight control. In the annual report of the meeting, it was announced by H. H. Whetzel that Phytopathological Classic No. 3, "The Discovery of Bordeaux Mixture," three papers by Millardet, had been prepared by F. J. Schneiderhan and published by the Society in 1933 (Ibid. 24:569). Schneiderhan had translated Millardet's publications during his review of literature for his Ph.D. project; he earned the Ph.D. degree at West Virginia University.
That resistance to tobacco mosaic virus is conditioned by a single dominant gene in Nicotiana glutinosa, was announced by F. O. Holmes in 1933. This discovery provided tobacco pathologists, including R. G. Henderson, and breeders the tool to virtually eradicate tobacco mosaic from grower's fields.
Only one publication by Virginia pathologists appeared in a scientific journal in 1934. Henderson reported on the, "Occurrence of tobacco ring-spot-like viruses in sweet clover" (Phytopathology 24:248-256, 1934). When the viruses were transferred to tobacco, symptoms atypical of tobacco ringspot were produced. However, he could not transfer the virus back to sweet clover. The sweet clover virus obviously is not the same as tobacco ringspot.
Groves spoke to the Peninsula Horticultural Society on, "Fungicides in relation to spray russet and disease control" [Bul. State Board Agri., Camden, Del. 24(5):20-24, 1934]. He stressed that most fungicides offered fruit growers are tested at Winchester and the acceptable ones are recommended. Copper fungicides are most apt to cause russet, but there is some variation in apples with respect to russet sensitivity.
Virginia Extension Bulletin 131, "Information for Virginia Fruit Growers" continues to be reproduced in the Southern Planter. Apple and peach spray program tables appear annually in the monthly bulletins of The Department of Agriculture and Immigration (for example, Bul. 313:5-6, 1934). In these bulletins one expects to find notices of federal and state law changes related to plant diseases and pests. The Crop Pest Law provides that the Commissioner of Agriculture, with Board of Agriculture, may revise the list of plant diseases which appear in Rules and Regulations. Effective February 7, 1934, black stem rust, cedar rust, and Dutch elm disease were added to Regulation One. Black stem rust was added because of a movement afoot sponsored by Federal and State agencies to eradicate barberry bushes from certain areas of Virginia. Dutch elm disease was added because Virginia had been exposed to the disease by infested logs imported through Norfolk in 1933. Cedar rust was already covered by the Cedar Rust Law but had not been named as a serious pest before. (Va. Agri. & Imm. Dept. Bul. 313:14-15, 1934). It was noted that in the winter of 1933-4, cedar cutting had been limited to Augusta and Frederick Cos. and little had been done to protect other orchard areas (Ibid. 314:7, 1934).
State Plant Quarantine No. 3, effective May 25, 1934, permitted state agents to eradicate all species of wild currant and gooseberries growing in 10 counties of the Piedmont, and cultivated species growing within 1500 feet of white pine stands (Ibid. 319:11, 1934). The discovery of Dutch elm disease in a single elm tree in Norfolk, October 1934, was announced in the December issue (Ibid. 322:11, 1934). Scouting for diseased trees in 1935 would be hampered by a lack of funds in the depression.
Several short papers appeared in Virginia Fruit. Wingard described, "Winter injury to fruit trees" [22(3):8-12, Mar. 1934]. It was a review of literature including symptoms and procedures for minimizing damage. A severe temperature drop from well above freezing on Nov. 30, 1929 to O°F on Dec. 3., followed by a severe drought in 1930 and a repeat of a similar cycle in the next 3 years brought about various kinds of winter injury and killing. During the depression, growers could not afford the labor to tend their orchards properly, thus, avoiding winter injury by normal orchard culture. Groves followed with an article on, "Early spraying and scab control" [Ibid. 22:(3)12-14]. It was an urging of growers to be vigilant and follow the prescribed schedule.
Wingard followed with a brief note on, "Control of peach leaf curl in orchards where fruit buds have been killed" [Ibid. 22(3):14, Mar. 1934]. He tried to assure growers that even though there may be little fruit, the trees should be protected from curl which would weaken them and decrease future crops.
Shear contributed an article on, "Winter injury of ornamentals" [Ibid. 22(4):20- 233, Apr. 1934]. Wingard had already addressed winter injury of apple and peach, therefore, an article on ornamental shrubs and trees affirmed the seriousness of the situation. Shear coupled fall drouth with winter injury, sudden temperature drops especially after a warm fall, and unseasonably warm periods in February followed by severe cold.
Godkin contributed a brief note urging farmers to treat seed corn with one of three dusts, Barbak, Merko, or Semesan, Jr. [Treating seed corn for the control of root, stalk, and ear rot disease. Ibid. 22(5):13, May 1934].
W. J. Schoene (Entomologist) and Wingard contributed a lengthy article on, "The more important insects and diseases of grapes" [Ibid. 22(5):13-18, May 1934]. They included a spray calendar, disease cycles and control measures for black rot and downy mildew. In addition to spraying with Bordeaux mixture, pruning and destruction of crop residues (sanitation) was advised.
Hurt added an item, "Protect your peaches against brown rot at harvest," [Ibid. 22(7):14-16, July 1934] in which he advised growers to spray or dust peaches just prior to harvest, or during the packing process.
Groves discussed, "The fruit disease situation and mid-summer spraying" [Ibid. 22(7):16-17, July 1934]. Thus far, 1934 seemed to be a recovery year from severe drouth, insect, and disease damage. He advised growers how to protect from fruit diseases while controlling the codling moth. Primarily, the task was to avoid pesticide incompatibility and phytotoxicity.
In the final issue for 1934, Groves pointed out that growers could, "Control peach leaf curl with fall spraying" [Ibid. 22(12):14-15, Dec. 1934] instead of waiting until February or March. The probability of having better and more spraying time is greater in fall than in spring. Emphasis on leaf curl was apparent in a number of articles in 1934 because growers were financially pressed and were cutting corners in the spray programs. As a result, leaf curl had increased from 1932 to 1934.
In the Plant Disease Reporter for 1934, there were reports by Cook of overwintering of the spinach downy mildew fungus (Peronospora effusa) in systemically infected spinach plants (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 18:48-49, 1934), and of seed-borne pepper mosaic (Ibid. p. 49); Godkin reported the presence of tobacco downy mildew in all the bright belt tobacco counties by May 28 (Ibid. p. 49). Henderson summarized, "Diseases of burley tobacco on Southwest Virginia" (Ibid. p. 135-36). He mentioned root knot, frog-eye leaf spot, angular leaf spot, black root-rot, mosaic and frenching. In an article, "Tobacco diseases for 1934 in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania," seven tobacco scientists including Henderson, reported on the distribution of 10 parasitic diseases (Ibid. pp. 154-155). Only Granville wilt, black root rot, downy mildew, angular leaf spot, and mosaic were reported from Virginia, yet Henderson had already reported frog-eye leaf spot and root knot from burley areas.
The tobacco workers were feeling the need to have a more formal organization. They met in a "Conference on diseases of flue cured tobacco" at Oxford, N.C., Aug. 8- 10, 1934. Wingard, Henderson, Godkin, and Shear of the Experiment Station at Blacksburg, and Cook of the Truck Station and V.P.I. graduate student, W. A. Fuller, represented Virginia (The Extension Pathologist, Ser. No. 14:38-53, Oct. 1934). Henderson spoke on spraying for downy mildew (blue mold) control in 1934, and on black root rot of tobacco. In the latter case, the problem was very severe in burley areas and was appearing in some bright areas. 'Turkish' was being used as a source of resistance. It was for Henderson the beginning of a long career of breeding disease resistant tobacco. Godkin described the progress made in Scott Co. from 1931 to 1934 in controlling blackfire. There was a steady decline of disease incidence and a steady increase in yield and leaf quality. Shear described his work with frenching and a committee (including Henderson) gave 11 suggestions for controlling downy mildew and two for controlling root knot. Clayton and Stevenson (U.S.D.A.) said the downy mildew fungus should be Peronospora tabacina rather than P. hyoscyami as was the current name. The Tobacco Research Committee would meet again in 1935.
In other areas, Wingard and Paul Miller (U.S.D.A.) reported on cereal, fruit, tomato, and shrubbery diseases in Southwest Virginia based on a joint tour through Carroll, Grayson, and Wythe Cos. in July (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 18:115, 117, 118). They reported that wheat scab, stem rust, loose smut, and glume blotch were very severe and damaging; that bacterial (Stewart's) wilt of sweet corn was very damaging; and that barley stripe was more prevalent than average. Apple scab and rust were of average severity but cherry brown rot was extremely severe. They reported tomato early blight would probably reduce the crop by half. Neil Stevens (U.S.D.A.) reported heavy damage by the sweet corn wilt bacterium in the Arlington area and in test plots (Ibid. p. 122).
At the December 1934 meeting of the Virginia State Horticultural Society, A. W. Drinkard, Jr., Director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, spoke on, "Progress in horticultural research" [Va. Fruit 23(1):116-118, Jan. 1935]. He praised the progress that had been in fruit pathology and entomology. Especially significant to him was the Virginia Spray Service (referring to the card mailings of alerts, and the bulletin "Information for Virginia Fruit Growers"). Revisions, he said, were made annually based on research findings at the field stations. He was very appreciative of Hurt's accomplishments at the Piedmont Field Laboratory in Charlottesville. He enumerated as among Hurt's significant contributions the development of a zinc sulphate and hydrated lime solution to prevent arsenical injury to peaches, a machine for dusting sulphur on peaches at packing time to control brown rot in transit, the find that lignin pitch was a good emulsifying agent, and that tar oil distillates control aphids. C. R. Willey, Associate State Entomologist told, "How the fruit grower can use the Crop Pest Law" [Ibid. 23(1):74-78, Jan. 1935]. He reviewed the history of the Crop Pest Law and pointed out that Virginia had few state quarantines because state quarantines cannot conflict with federal quarantines. In 1934, Virginia was cooperating with the Federal Government in the Japanses beetle, white pine blister rust, and Narcissus bulb quarantines. Willey told growers how to petition against an orchard harboring a pest. State quarantine no. 3 described earlier apparently is the intra-state quarantine paralleling and required in a Federal quarantine.
The reliable R. H. Hurt reviewed, "Our peach spray program" [Ibid. 23(1):90-96, Jan. 1935]. It was more of a pep talk but the new dust chamber for applying sulphur to protect peaches from brown rot in transit was mentioned and promoted.
Groves discussed, "Fungicides in relation to scab control and spray russet" [Ibid. 23(1):100-105, Jan. 1935]. He pointed out that many products are foisted upon the orchardists. They must be tested for efficacy of disease control, non-injurious effects and compatibility with other pesticides. For this reason the growers should follow Experiment Station recommendations and not yield to the claims of advertisements. The Society heard two talks about black root rot. Wingard spoke first on the, "Black plague of apple and its path of destruction" [Ibid. 23(1):142-146, Jan. 1935]. He described the interactions of drouth and winter injury with black root rot. Essentially, black root rot-affected trees were more prone to killing by drouth or winter injury and drouth or injured trees were more susceptible to black root rot fungus infection. He described the weather for 1930 to 1934 during which many trees died and he told of the contribution of each factor, drouth, winter, and fungus.
Schneiderhan of the West Virginia Station at Kearneysville, spoke next on, "The black root rot disease --- a serious threat to our apple orchards" [Ibid. 23(1):147-153, Jan. 1935]. Through a series of questions he posed, he guided the audience lucidly through the life cycle of Xylaria mali and the disease cycle, symptoms, the search for resistant rootstock, and advice to examine roots of dead trees and not replant apple trees where black root rot was found. Because orchard space is lost where black root has occurred, he considered the disease the apple orchardist's No. 1 enemy.
The other year-end event was the Pittsburgh meeting of the American Phytopathological Society, December 27-29, 1934. Four papers were contributed by Virginians. Cook of the Truck Station spoke on the, "Occurrence of oospores of Peronospora effusa with commerical spinach seed" (Phytopathology 25:11, 1935). He said that the 1932 seed crop was badly infested and the 1933 crop grown from those seed was severely damaged by mildew. Cook and J. A. Callenbach (a Va. Smelting Co. Res. Fellow in Pl. Path. and Entom. at the Truck Sta.) contributed a paper, "Spinach seed treatments in Virginia" (Ibid. 25:12, 1935). They found that copper sulphate solution, red copper oxide, zinc oxide, zinc hydroxide, and Vasco 4 (a zinc material) gave approximately equal results. Increases up to 594% of untreated stands and 42% in yield were obtained. Semesan was the least beneficial. Zinc fungicides were being used on 90% of the seed sown for the early fall crop.
Henderson reported on, "Control downy mildew of tobacco" (Ibid. 25:19, 1935). He described testing numerous materials in greenhouse experiments and found that benzoic acid, cuprous oxide, and a copper-molasses mixture were most effective. Field tests of the best materials were needed.
Wingard reported on, "Host-parasite relationship in bean rust" (Ibid. 25:39, 1935). He described the histology of resistant and susceptible reactions. Resistant plants were hypersensitive but susceptible plants nourished sori at the expense of surrounding host cells. No one from Virginia participated on committees of the Society for the 1934 meeting.
In 1934, Tisdale and Williams patented dithiocarbamate fungicides. At last, the possibility of controlling plant diseases with products other than inorganic sulphur and copper compounds loomed possible (Parris, G. K. 1979. A Chronology of Plant Pathology. 2nd ed. Publ. by author, State College, Miss. 251 pp.).
In the V.P.I. Catalogue for 1932-33, I. D. Wilson was named course adviser for Pre-dental, Pre-medical and Pre-veterinarian students. Massey of the Department of Plant Pathology and Botany had been handling this assignment. This change was an ill omen for in the academic year 1935-36, Plant Pathology and Botany was obliterated; the faculty were included in the Biology Department with Wilson as Head. Wingard was thereafter called Head of the Section of Plant Pathology and Botany. In essence, he functioned only as administrator of Experiment Station projects and personnel conducting research in plant pathology and physiology at Blacksburg, Charlottesville, and Winchester. Massey no longer taught plant pathology and may have been transferred to the Wildlife Unit of the Biology Department. J. George Harrar was appointed as Assistant Professor of Biology with responsibilities in teaching botany, plant pathology, and plant physiology courses. There was bad blood between the faculty of the former Plant Pathology and Botany group and the Biology people Harrar and Wilson, which endured throughout the Harrar and Wilson tenure. Thus, the fiscal year beginning 1935-36 (= July 1, 1935) marks the end of part one of the three part Wingard era.
One member of the Department did not survive to know of its demise. H. S. Stahl died on January 14, 1935. He had taught plant physiology and other botanical courses since 1908, thereby having served under Reed, Fromme, and Wingard.
The last degree awarded by the Department of Plant Pathology and Botany was an M.S. degree in plant pathology on June 11, 1935 to W. A. Fuller. His thesis was entitled "A study of the nature of rust-resistance, rust-susceptibility, and rust infection in beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)." For the next 14 years, all degrees in plant pathology would be awarded in the Biology Department.
It was a lean publication year for the Department; only Shear managed a technical article, "The growth of Agaricus campestris on plots treated with sodium chlorate" (Phytopathology 25:440-442, 1935). On land infested with quackgrass, 30 plots 11.5 ft. square totaling 1984 square ft. were treated with sodium chlorate on June 1. An additional, alternate 30 plots were left untreated. On Aug. 3, there were 293 mushrooms on treated plots (2 to 47 per plot) and 47 (0-13 per plot) on untreated plots. On Aug. 16, there were 70 (0-15 per plot) on treated and 17 (0-4) on untreated plots. Shear pointed out that sodium chlorate sufficiently concentrated to kill weeds was not toxic to A. campestris, and the mushrooms proliferated where there was no competition, but an increase of available food. Also, decomposition of sodium chlorate may have stimulated mushroom growth.
Cook and Callenbach published their bulletin on, "Spinach Treatment" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 87, 1935). They found that Vasco 4, a zinc oxide + graphite material, gave the best stands when compared to zinc oxide, red copper oxide and Semesan Jr. Vasco 4 worked best on early fall plantings because when spinach was sown then, the temperature was most favorable for spinach damping-off caused by Pythium spp. The graphite reduced the tendency of zinc oxide to plug up planters; it also reduced wear on planter plates. Since early fall was the time when the most spinach was planted, the introduction of zinc oxide plus graphite essentially saved the spinach industry in eastern Virginia as it netted growers over $100 per acre. After treatment was adopted by growers, seedsmen began treating seed for growers at cost.
Several popular articles by the Experiment Station plant pathologists were printed in Virginia Fruit in 1935. Groves led off with a discussion of, "Early spraying and scab prevention" [Va. Fruit 23(3):24, Mar. 1935]. This was a pep talk to remind growers that timely spraying with appropriate materials was very necessary on susceptible varieties such as Delicious and McIntosh. Shear followed with an article on, "Arsenic in the soils" [Ibid. 23(3):28-28, Mar. 1935] in which he described the pros and cons of continued use of arsenical insecticides. He allayed fears that arsenic caused damage to plants and said that soil microorganisms could decompose arsenicals and cause arsenic to pass from the soil in a gas. Thus, it did not accumulate. In an article, "The control of plant diseases through the use of resistant varieties" Wingard made a few general statements about substituting genetic resistance for chemical control and cited troublesome cabbage yellows in southwestern Virginia, told how L. R. Jones at Wisconsin developed Wis. Hollander No. 8, Wis. Brunswick, and Wis. All-Seasons. These varieties were used in the Virginia cabbage industry [Ibid. 23(3):29-30, Mar. 1935]. A series of articles was planned for Virginia Fruit which when completed would be assembled in bulletin form. The first article by Groves was, "Apple or cedar rust" [Ibid. 23(4):26-30, Apr. 1935]. Groves described the indigenous origin of the cedar-apple rust fungus and its being presented with an additional succulent, highly susceptible host as colonists introduced the apple. Details of the symptoms, disease cycle, fungus life cycle, effects of weather, relative resistance of apple varieties, comparisons of cedar-apple rust with quince and hawthorn rusts, and controls were provided. Photographs referred to in the text were eliminated by the editor but were to be included in the prepared bulletin.
Hurt reviewed his work with an knowledge of, "Honeysuckle as an orchard pest and its eradication," with cresylic acid and tar emulsions [Ibid. 23(5):18, May 1935]. Growers were provided with concise procedures as to how to kill or just control honeysuckle for the enhancement of apple production.
In the July 1935 issue of Virginia Fruit, three items on plant pathology were published; G. T. French, State Entomologist at Richmond wrote that the, "State is being thoroughly scouted for the phony peach disease" [Ibid. 23(7):6, July 1935], and in the area between highway U.S. 1 and the Chesapeake Bay, none had been found. Groves continued the proposed bulletin series with an item on "Apple blotch" in which he described the symptoms on fruit, leaves, and limbs, all caused by Phyllosticta solitaria [Ibid. 23(7):10-13, July 1935]. The outline followed the pattern set for cedar-apple rust, and this time illustrations were included. Immediately following, Wingard issued a warning that, "Brown rot stands ready to attack the Virginia peach crop" [Ibid. 23(7):13- 14, July 1935]. He pointed out that the weather in the spring of 1935 was conducive to the blossom and twig blight phases and that even green, immature fruits were rotting in some orchards. He urged growers to intensify their use of sulphur sprays and late season dusts so that fruit would be adequately protected at harvest time. A pink sulphur dust had been developed by Hurt that blended with the color of ripened fruit. Wingard urged growers to use this product just prior to picking and to dust fruit during packing to protect them during transit.
French published a follow-up note, "Phony peach disease found in Virginia this year," a title which should have read ... "disease not found ..." [Ibid. 23(9):16, Sept. 1935], as the final paragraph begins, "We are encouraged to believe as a result of this summer's scouting that the Phony Peach Disease has not become established in Virginia."
The new status of the now defunct (as of July 1, 1935) Plant Pathology and Botany Department was announced to the Horticultural Society through a brief article by J. G. Harrar, newly appointed Assistant Professor of Biology who would instruct all classes in plant pathology, plant physiology, forest pathology and botany [Ibid. 23(10):13-14, Oct. 1935]. In the article, "Horticultural students at V.P.I. to receive thorough grounding in biology," Harrar indicated the former Departments of Botany and Zoology had been consolidated into the Department of Biology. "This department is prepared not only to continue the services heretofore rendered but to render additional service to Virginia orchardists by improving its teaching program....It is hoped that each year a number of students will be graduated in Horticulture and Biology who will give their services to the field of Horticulture...A new service laboratory has been established in the department, enabling the grower to send specimens to the college for diagnosis." Although Wingard, Godkin, Groves, and Hurt already provided this service, Harrar was presenting it as a new innovation. He needed specimens for his classes and experience in diagnostics for his soon-to-enroll graduate students. Most probably it was a preliminary step in establishing himself as the kingpin in V.P.I. plant pathology. He might have succeeded had he not have hooked an even larger fish in 1941, the Headship of Plant Pathology at Washington State University.
Harrar followed the article above with one on, "Boxwood diseases in Virginia" [Ibid. 23(10:14-15, Oct. 1935]. He named Macrophoma candollei, Volutella buxi, and Nectria rousselliana as most probable causes of boxwood problem, and prescribed four general measures for preventing boxwood diseases. He indicated that research on boxwood diseases would be initiated. Why Harrar became interested so quickly in boxwood problems is unknown but perhaps there were several wealthy estate owners in Virginia who felt their horticultural status symbols were imperiled and perhaps they would support boxwood investigations. On the other hand, Blacksburg and V.P.I. abounded in boxwood plantings which furnished a convenient source of material that attracted Harrar's eyes. Who knows why Harrar chose boxwood among the myriad of choices available?
In the same issue, Groves contributed a third chapter to the fruit disease bulletin, "Apple scald" [Ibid. 23(10):17-19, Oct. 1935]. He described and illustrated the disease. Quick cooling and the distribution of oiled paper at the rate 1 1/2 lbs/barrel was recommended.
In the Plant Disease Reporter, R. K. Beattie and A. E. Verrall, U.S.D.A., reported that the elm burl logs that entered the United States in 1933 had been traced from ports of entry to their destinations (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 19:11-14, 1935). One shipment from Norfolk travelled through Virginia to Princeton, W.Va. (and ultimately to Indianapolis, Ind.), thus exposing over 320 miles along the Norfolk and Western Rwy. in Virginia to Dutch elm disease. There were also seven shipments by truck from Norfolk piers to Portsmouth, Va. (Probably to Dixie Veneering Co. near highway U.S. 13 and Norfolk Navy Yard at Portsmouth Va.).
Clarence Cottom reported an improvement of eelgrass stands in the Chesapeake Bay of Maryland and Virginia but not along the Atlantic coastline. There was no explanation as to the demise of the plant [The present situation regarding eelgrass (Zostera marina). Ibid. 19:33-36, 1935].
Wingard in, "Plant diseases and weather in Virginia," stated that reported appearances of tobacco downy mildew proved false; injuries were caused by low temperatures and too much rain. Blossom and twig blight of peach caused by Sclerotinia fructicola was playing havoc following a three-week rainy period in late April (Ibid. 19:99-100, 1935). This precipitated the warning Wingard published in Virginia Fruit [23(7):13-14, July 1935].
Groves reported on, "The fruit disease situation in northern Virginia" (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 19:137-138, 1935). Apple scab was more prevalent because rains had favored ascospore discharges on May 2-3, and had interferred with petal fall sprays. He was concerned about the large number of trees being destroyed because of black root rot. Wingard reiterated that scab was causing problems (Ibid. 19:199, 1935). He also reported on bacterial canker, Alternaria collar rot, Fusarium wilt, and southern bacterial wilt of tomato, black knot of plum and cherry, cane blight and anthracnose of raspberry, frog-eye leaf spot and cedar-apple rust, peach leaf curl, black rot of grape, and potato black leg (Ibid. 19:198-204, 1935). A number of common cereal disease were listed (Ibid. 19:209).
Two trees were confirmed in 1935 as having Dutch elm disease in Norfolk; the report said nothing about the proximity of the trees to the pier where infested logs had been imported in 1933 (Ibid. 19:217, 1935). A quarantine in effect since October 1933, had prevented further imports. In late summer, an infected tree was found in Portsmouth (Ibid. 19:259).
Cook reported on, "Vegetable diseases in Virginia" (Ibid. 19:243-244, 1935). Bacterial canker caused extensive damage to tomatoes in Northern Neck, Essex, King and Queen and Middlesex Cos. Seed from several companies were involved but the highest percentage of damage was in plants grown from one seed source. Fusarium wilt had become so widespread in the same area that only resistant tomato varieties could be grown. Successful spinach growers were producing crops from seed treated with Vasco 4. Those who were not successful were trying to produce stands from untreated seed and a Pythium sp. was rotting seeds and seedlings. Later, Cook reported that a severe outbreak of powdery mildew on snap beans in the Norfolk area caused at least a 50% loss of the fall crop. Growers were warned twice through newspaper articles to spray or dust with sulphurs. Those who did produced a full crop and received a high price (Ibid. 19:311-312, 1935). Cook also reported isolated outbreaks of lettuce leaf spot (Septoria lactucae), drop (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), and yellows (virus) and a severe, costly outbreak of spinach downy mildew. Godkin reported tomato bacterial canker from Bedford Co. (Ibid. 19:244, 1935); apparently the seed-borne disease was widespread in Virginia in 1935.
Tobacco pathologists from Connecticut, Wisconsin, Pennyslvania, Virginia, Georgia, and the U.S.D.A. banded together to report on "Tobacco plant bed diseases in 1935" (Ibid. 19:192-194); R. G. Henderson represented Virginia and reported a late appearance of downy mildew and only slight damage caused by it. Blackfire was universally present but wildfire was seen only once. South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee pathologists joined the above to report on "Tobacco diseases in the field, 1935" (Ibid. 19:295-299). Diseases causing significant damage in Virginia were bacterial wilt, wildfire, blackfire, and mosaic. Members of this informal group became the nucleus of the Tobacco Disease Council.
The Tobacco Disease Council was organized at a conference in Greensboro, N.C., Nov. 6-7, 1935, for the purpose of coordinating research work on tobacco diseases (Phytopathology 26:495-496, 1936). Sixteen members of the American Phytopathological Society were present. The Executive Committee consisted of S. A. Wingard, Chairman; E. E. Clayton, U.S.D.A.; R. F. Poole, N.C.; W. D. Valleau, Ky.; and G. M. Armstrong, S.C.; R. G. Henderson was elected Secretary. Wingard and Henderson, having been elected Chairman and Secretary, respectively, of the Council, would serve in this capacity for many years. The group discussed 6 diseases, tobacco disease survey, and breeding disease-resistant varieties. A list of items for possible coordinated study was compiled for each item. Then there was a round-table discussion of the various diseases, with emphasis on distribution, relative importance, epidemiology and progress in control with emphasis on chemicals and finding sources of resistance.
It was ironic that in 1935, Wingard was deposed as a department head and became leader of one of the most important agricultural work groups in the eastern United States. Although his own research work on tobacco diseases had ended, his leadership, the work of Henderson, and several pathologists to be hired later for tobacco disease research at Chatham, VA., would establish Virginia as a premier center for applied tobacco pathology.
The final year of phase I of Wingard's 3-phase headship of plant pathology ended on the 50th anniversary of Millardet's publication on Bordeaux mixture; 1935 was the year W. M. Stanley reported the isolation of a crystalline protein having the properties of tobacco mosaic virus. This would lead to a Nobel prize, the first awarded for work with a plant pathogen; and F. A. Wolf of Duke University published, "Tobacco Diseases and Decays," the first comprehensive text on diseases of the "sovereign weed." During the next 14 years, the Experiment Station plant pathology faculty would increase from 4 to 8 and the world would endure the most destructive war ever.
Previous Table of Contents Next
VT History | Digital Library and Archives | Special Collections | University Archives
Send questions or comments to:
Tamara Kennelly, University Archivist
P.O. Box 90001
Blacksburg, VA, 24062-9001
Last Modified on: Thursday, 21-Oct-2004 12:58:03 EDT by Mark B. Gerus