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A History of Plant Pathology in Virginia: The Fromme Era (1915-1928)
Fred Denton Fromme was appointed Plant Pathologist and Bacteriologist and Head, V.P.I., Department of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station (V.A.E.S.), on July 1, 1915, one day after H. S. Reed's tenure in that position had ended. Apparently, Reed had notified the administration of his impending departure date and it may be speculated that he helped to find his own replacement; certainly, he must have known Fromme from contacts made at the American Phytopathological Society meetings. However, Fromme's appointment was conceived, there was no interim period as Reed and Fromme were Heads of the Department on consecutive days. How efficient; how different from today's entanglement of search committees, interview expenses, faculty politicing, acting heads, and administrative dilly-dallying, much of which is in an effort to meet state and federal guide-lines which did not exist before 1960.
Fromme came to V.P.I. with excellent credentials. He earned a B.S. degree at South Dakota State College in 1911, and a Ph.D. degree under E. B. Olive from Columbia University in 1914. He was Assistant Botanist at Columbia University in 1912 and 1913. He also served as Assistant Botanist at the Indiana Agricultural Station, Purdue University, from 1913 to 1915. There, he worked and published papers on the plant rusts with the renowned uredinologist, J. C. Arthur. His interest in plant rusts would continue throughout his tenure at V.P.I. He had inherited some on-going projects from his predecessor, Reed, but he would need to develop projects around his own interests and capabilities and for solution of some destructive diseases of Virginia crops.
When Fromme arrived at V.P.I., the faculty in the Department consisted of Assistant Plant Pathologist C. H. Crabill, Assistant Bacteriologist Bruce Williams and Fromme. The next 3 years must have been somewhat frustrating because Fromme was continually accepting resignations and hiring replacements. Both Crabill and Williams resigned on September 1, 1915, only two months after Fromme became Department Head. Karl E. E. Quantz, who had been a student assistant under Reed was immediately appointed to replace Crabill as Assistant Plant Pathologist. T. J. Murray was also hired as Associate Bacteriologist on September 1, 1915, to replace Williams. On December 13, 1916, Quantz resigned to take a position in Brazil. Meanwhile, H. E. Thomas was appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist on July 1, 1916 but he stayed only 8 months and resigned on February 28, 1917, to accept a position at the Puerto Rico Experiment Station. Not until Fromme hired S. A. Wingard on July 1, 1917, as Assistant Plant Pathologist was there any stability achieved in the plant pathology faculty. Indeed, Wingard would remain at V.P.I. until he retired on November 1, 1964. Murray remained until February 5, 1918; his replacement, A. B. Massey, was appointed Assisant Bacteriologist on June 1, 1918. Now in both disciplines, stability had been achieved as Massey would remain on the faculty until he retired on June 30, 1959, although in various other capacities during his tenure.
Projects initiated under Reed, which Fromme deemed necessary to continue included the survey of plant diseases and control of tomato diseases by dusting and spraying. He initiated a project to study the black root rot disease of apple that Reed and Cooley had described, and started experiments for control of cedar rust of apple and peach scab by dusting. Before reviewing Fromme's research, his responsibilities to teaching for the 1915-16 session should be recalled.
As Professor of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology, Fromme inherited a considerable teaching load from his predecessor, Reed. The courses listed were General Bacteriology, 3 hr, I; Laboratory Bacteriology, 5 x 3 hr, I (= five three-hour labs./wk. Fall qtr.); Bacteriology and Clinical Diagnosis, 5 x 3 hr. II; Biochemical Microbiology, 3 x 3 hr, II; these were taught by T. J. Murray.
Fromme taught Plant Pathology 3 hr, I, II; Laboratory Plant Pathology 2 x 3 hr, II, in which he used as a textbook Duggar's "Fungous Diseases of Plants." He was assisted at first by Quantz and Thomas. Fromme also taught Systematic Mycology 3 hrs. I, II; and Laboratory Mycology 2 x 3 hr, II and 5 x 3 hr, III, in which Steven's "The Fungi Which Cause Plant Disease" was the textbook; and Applied Mycology 3 hr, III, in which "Lafar's Technical Mycology" was the textbook. Journal Club 1 hr. I, II, III was also led by Fromme. Thus, it appears that Fromme was responsible for 39 contact hours of plant pathology and mycology per year. How much was delegated to Thomas is hard to say but when Thomas departed in February 1917, Fromme was saddled with II and III quarter courses for the remainder of 1916. In addition, he served on the College Entrance Requirements Committee from 1915 to 1920.
The first publication during Fromme's tenure was by C. H. Crabill, The Frog-eye Leaf Spot of Apples, Va. A.E.S. Bul. 209, December 1915. This, of course, was the culmination of Crabill's work that had been the subject of his M.S. thesis. It is difficult to say whether Crabill and Fromme had a congenial relationship; they co-authored no publications. Crabill may have decided to become a farm manager before Fromme was hired but it appears that Fromme must have encouraged Crabill to publish notes on three diseases he had studied. With H. E. Thomas, Crabill published a note that bitter pit or stippen was a physiological problem and not due to spray injury (Phytopathology 6:51-54, 1916). He described white spot of alfalfa but did not recognize its cause (Phytopathology 6:91-93). It is now attributed to potassium deficiency. Reed and Crabill had first reported on root rot of apple in the 1913 Annual Report of the Va. A.E.S. and they thought that one or more mushroom fungi might have caused it. In Crabill's final note on the subject, he concluded that it was caused by Trichoderma koningii (Phytopathology 6:159-161). Fromme investigated root rot after Crabill's departure and in collaboration with H. E. Thomas, found that a Xylaria sp. Was the probable cause. They isolated X. hypoxylon, X. polymorpha and a species resembling X. cornu-damae. After a series of pathogenicity studies, they attributed apple black root rot to X. hypoxylon (Jour. Agri. Res. 10:163-173 + 3 plates 1917). Fromme would later rename the fungus X. mali (Va. A.E.S. Tech. Bul. 34, 1928).
At the end of 1916, Fromme gave a brief review of the work on root rot at the 21st annual session of the Virginia State Horticultural Society (Va. Fruit 5:212-214: Rept. 21st Ann. Session. V.S.H.S., Dec. 5-7, 1916). He was referred to as "Dr. Froome" in the proceedings. He made these points: The cause of root rot is a fungus. Loss of trees begins at age 7 and may run as high as 25 percent of the original planting. The disease occurs in any type of soil. Tree foliage yellows and thins, trees bear heavily, tilt and then uproot. There is no resistance. Cultivation is the chief agency in the spread of root rot as rows of infected trees almost invariably follow the lines of cultivation. Worming (removal of flat headed or round headed apple tree borer larvae) may contribute to spread of root rot; therefore, if worming is practical, sterilize the knife between trees.
At the same meeting, Charles Brooks spoke to the Society on bitter-rot and York-spot control. For York-spot, he recommended the control of rosy aphids, but he ignored bitter-rot and spoke instead on the control of a fruit rot caused by Phoma pomi, also known as Brooks spot. Any fruit spray after July 1 would control it. (I found it, named it, I promote its control).
About two weeks before Fromme arrived in Blacksburg, J. A. McClintock was appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist at the Virginia Truck Experiment Station (V.T.E.S.). He had earned a B.S. degree at Michigan State College in 1913, and an M.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1914. He had worked on control of nematode diseases as a Bureau of Plant Industry Agent at Michigan State and had published a bulletin on the subject but published nothing about nematode diseases during his three years at the V.T.E.S.
A number of diseases new to Virginia were reported in 1915, in some cases whether by Reed, Fromme, or McClintock is uncertain. These include bean Rhizoctonia root and stem rot (Plant Dis. Reptr. 2:264); Stewart's wilt of sweet corn (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 2:214); peanut wilt caused by Sclerotium rolfsii found by McClintock at the V.T.E.S. (Jour. Agri. Res. 8:441-448); and violet root rot of alfalfa caused by Rhizoctonia crocorum found in Botetourt Co., 1914 and 1915 (Fromme, Phytopathology 6:90, 1916).
In the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station "Annual Reports", it was customary to publish fullblown papers, some of which were duplicated in station bulletins. Three such plant pathology papers appeared in the 1915-1916 "Annual Report".
Fromme and H. E. Thomas under the title "Dusting for cedar rust" described futile attempts to control rust on apple (pp. 179-183). The work was done on the G. F. Blandy farm at White Post, Clarke Co., a farm which eventually became the Blandy Experimental Farm of the University of Virginia. None of the various dust treatments with sulphurs, coppers, and their combinations proved feasible. On the other hand, Thomas found sulphur and lime dusts effectively controlled peach scab, (Cladosporium carpophilum (Dusting for peach scab, pp. 184-186). The various experiments with dusts were precipitated by the manufacture of new, finer dusts and light-weight dusting machinery.
Fromme summarized the results of the plant disease suveys for 1915 and 1916; newly recognized diseases or new sites were:
- Bean stem crack, Rhizoctonia solani, Henrico Co., plants lodged, photo. (See also Plant Dis. Reptr. 2:214, 1915).
- Lima bean downy mildew, Phytophthora phaseoli, Blacksburg Gardens, 1916, photo.
- Beets, root knot, Heterodera marioni, scattered gardens, state wide, photo.
- Cabbage, black leg, Phoma oleracea, Greene Co., known previously from Norfolk area, photo.
- Crimson clover, stem rot, Sclerotinia trifoliorum Nottoway Co. (see also Va. Dept. Agric. Imm. Rept. 1916:50-52).
- Cotton anthracnose, Glomerella gossypii, Brunswick Co., 30% damage in one field.
- Cowpea wilt, Fusarium vasinfectum, Isle of Wight, Louisa, and Nottoway Cos.
- Grape rot, Pestalozzia uvicola, Blacksburg, on one variety, 1915; did not repeat in 1916.
- Peanut wilt, Fusarium (?) probably vasinfectum, Isle of Wight Co., 1916.
- Tomato wilt, Fusarium lycopersici, new locations were Botetourt, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Henrico, New Kent, Nottoway, and Roanoke Cos.
Fromme and Thomas summarized experiments conducted in Blacksburg in 1916 in "Spraying and Dusting Tomatoes" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 213, 1916) by stating the results "are in substantial agreement with those previously reported from this station. Septoria leaf spot and late blight developed in the experimental plots. Late blight but not leaf spot was controlled by both liquid and dust applications of copper materials; sulphur dust was virtually useless for both diseases."
Bulletins and annual reports issued by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration were rich sources of miscellanous plant pathology. Although it was clear that the Department did not generate most of the information, it passed on much practical, accurate news to its subscribers. Items published in 1916 included, "Corn smut and its control" in which losses of 5-10%, disease cycle, and possible methods of control were discussed. Farmers were comforted by the statement that it is unlikely that smut spores affect livestock (Bul. 111:6-7). Farmers were admonished to cut down cedar trees that bear rust galls and use the trees for fence posts (Bul. 112:8). Watermelon anthracnose was described and called a troublesome disease preventable by spraying. Host range included watermelon, cucumber, canteloupe, and squashes. Implementation of an accompanying Bordeaux mixture spray schedule was said to prevent the disease (Bul. 113:6-7).
An unusual notice was published warning that seed infestations may be a means of spreading stripe rust, Puccinia glumarum, into eastern wheat regions. Growers were warned not to purchase seed produced west of the 104th meridian (Bul. 113:14). Introduction of stripe rust is highly unlikely because hot growing seasons are unfavorable to this cool climate disease. Although the warning was issued over 75 years ago, stripe rust is still unknown east of the Mississippi River.
In an article entitled "Tobacco Growing" there was a section on "Diseases of the growing plants" (Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1916, p. 92). The entire paragraph is quoted here:
"There is probably no crop produced of the same magnitude that suffers so little from disease as tobacco, and many of these diseases may be avoided by proper care in the selection of the soils, in the judicious application of manure and in the cultivation of the crop. The greatest number of diseases to which the crop is liable come from a want of drainage in the soil. These diseases rarely affect more than a fraction of one percent of the plants in a field." Perhaps this explains why there were so few references to tobacco in Virginia plant pathology literature.
In another brief item, "Blight," the twig blight phase of fire blight is discussed (Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1916, p. 108). The article ends with:
"To sum up: Cut out blighted wood early in the spring and burn. Treat tools and wounds with disinfectant. Watch for appearance of blighted limbs in pear and quince as growth begins and throughout season. Remove promptly and burn. As buds are swelling, spray thoroughly apple, pear, and quince with strong Bordeaux mixture."
G. C. Starcher of the Va. A.E.S. Horticulture faculty published in the Virginia Department of Agriculture Report an article entitled "Peach Growing in Virginia" (Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1916, pp. 42-49); he described yellows, rosette, little peach, curl, scab, and brown rot. He emphasized lime-sulphur sprays which would control curl, scab, brown rot, curculio, and scale insects.
J. A. McClintock published "Crown rot of clovers, a serious disease caused by Sclerotinia trifoliorum" (Va. Dept. Agric. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1916, pp. 50-52), in which he described finding a rot on clover in Hampton (City) and Accomack Co. in early April and May 1916, respectively. He described the disease cycle, listed clovers and alfalfa as the hosts, advised farmers not to move soil as was the practice to assure that Rhizobium would be present, prescribed a two-year rotation between winter legumes and suggested that cowpeas or any other warm season legume be planted in the rotation. The disease described in Delaware in 1890, had been long-known in the eastern states. Fromme reported its occurrence in Nottoway Co. (Va. A.E.S. Ann. Rept. 1915-1916).
Powdery scab caused by Spongospora subterranea had been found in eastern Canada and Maine in 1913. During the period 1913 to 1915, it was reported from New York and Florida and some western states (Walker, J. C. Plant Pathology, McGraw-Hill Book Co. 1950, p. 164); thus, it was a threat to the Virginia potato industry. McClintock discussed aspects of the disease in an article titled "Is powdery scab of irish potatoes a disease to be feared in Virginia?" (Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1916, pp. 133-134), also Phytopathology 7:72, abstr.). A federal quarantine had been enacted against Maine on August 1, 1914, for control of powdery scab. In the spring of 1915, federal workers planted powdery scab infected potatoes at the Va. T.E.S.; the subsequent crop was free of scab. Thereafter, the quarantine against powdery scab was discontinued in late 1915. Again, to reaffirm the decision, scabby tubers from Maine were planted at Norfolk and at Tasley on Eastern Shore without treating the seed-pieces. No scabby potatoes were produced and it was concluded that the pathogen was not adapted to Virginia.
McClintock's first Experiment Station bulletin was a description of "A Disease of Coldframe Parsley (Caused by Sclerotinia libertiana)," (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 18, 1916). Parsley growers in the area reported losses and McClintock made a quick survey-study and found the fungus causing the problems. He suggested formaldehyde treatment or steaming of the soil to prevent its occurrence. Diseased plants were to be removed and the infested area should be treated with formaldehyde. During the growing season, the frames should be ventilated as frequently as possible. Growers should be careful not to include diseased plants in boxes to be shipped.
Next, McClintock prepared a bulletin, "Sclerotinia Blight, A Serious Disease of Snap Beans Caused by Sclerotinia libertiana, Fckl." (Va. T.E.S. Bul. 20, 1916). In November 1915, a farmer in the Norfolk area complained about a snap bean disease that had cost him about one-third of his crop or a loss of about $2,250. McClintock ascribed the disease to Sclerotinia libertiana which also caused lettuce drop in the Tidewater, Virginia area. He conducted greenhouse experiments with the fungus in the winter of 1915-1916 and in 1916 field experiments. He found green-podded varieties to be susceptible and wax varieties to be resistant. McClintock recommended that bean fields be burned after harvest, then deep-plowed, and that crops not usually attacked by the fungus be grown; he listed corn, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, and spinach. The growers were advised not to grow cucumbers, lettuce, beans, and eggplant on infested land for "several" years. McClintock published a technical report, "Sclerotinia libertiana on snap beans" (Phytopathology 6:437-441, 1916) and followed this with an abstract of a paper given at the 1917 annual meeting "Economic hosts of Sclerotinia libertiana in Tidewater Virginia" (Phytopathology 7:60). He listed as hosts snap bean, tomato, parsley, cauliflower, lettuce, and eggplant.
Based on some observations made in 1915 and 1916, McClintock raised the question, "Is cucumber mosaic carried by seed?" (Science (N.S.) 44:786-787, 1916). He observed that growers planting seed from a common source had considerable mosaic. He was able in two years to show that seedlings protected from outside sources of mosaic developed the disease and suggested that virus-free seed were essential if growers were to avoid the disease.
The Southern Planter for 1916 had numerous articles and items on plant diseases, some contributed by out of state scientists. In January, James Johnson of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station, for many years Wisconsin's tobacco pathologist, contributed an article "How to steam tobacco beds" (Sou. Planter 77:11). He described the inverted pan method, construction of the pan, and general use of steamed tobacco seed beds. The editors added that steaming is an alternative to burning as practiced in Virginia.
In the same issue, W. J. Schoene, Acting Director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, published a note, "Campaign to combat fire blight," in which he reported on a gathering of experiment station representatives at the Bureau of Plant Industry in an effort to formulate a practical plan for eradicating fire blight. It was proposed that information on the nature of the disease and methods available be distributed on posters for display at post offices and stores everywhere in apple growing country. The Va. A.E.S. had started a number of blight eradication experiments around the state. "The Agricultural College and the Experiment Station stand ready to assist growers and provide information. The success of the campaign will depend largely upon what each grower does in his own community" (Sou. Planter 77:15-16).
G. S. Ralston, Field Horticulturist at V.P.I. provided a note, "Need of better orchard sanitation," in which he proclaimed sanitary measures to be an effective supplement to spraying. The removal of mummies, decayed fruit, and dead or cankered wood is essential to the control of bitter rot. "This is one of the most effective and least expensive forms of insurance against disease that the grower can have" (Sou. Planter 77:54). In February (Sou. Planter 77:75), the annual spray calendar was printed without changes from 1915, but with the note appended that all materials prescribed were commercially available.
In the Truck, Garden, and Orchard section of the March issue, an anonymous article, "Sweet potato diseases," was published in which the writer gave credit to T. C. Johnson, Director of the Virginia Truck Experiment Station, for advice in preparing the article. The author described stem rot, black rot, foot rot, and scurf and addressed the practices useful in controlling sweet potato diseases. These included detailed instructions for preparing uninfested seed beds, selection of disease-free seed roots, disinfection of the roots with corrosive sublinate, and crop rotations essential to reducing pathogen inoculum in fields.
In addition, there were brief articles on "Potato blight," by F. C. Werkenthin of New Mexico State College (Sou. Planter 77:75); "Summer spraying for apples and peaches," by C. J. Hayden of North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station (pp. 308- 309); "Bordeaux and the bluestone question," by G. C. Starcher of the V.P.I. Horticulture Department (pp. 357-358); and "Treat wheat for smut," by the editors (pp. 537-538). In the Inquirer's Column, growers from various counties showed a diversity of concerns. One from Buckingham Co. asked about controlling wheat smut (pp. 480- 481), one from Loudon Co. had cabbage losses apparently caused by Fusarium wilt (p. 530), one from Roanoke Co. was wary of northern seed potatoes because of black stem (= black leg) and was advised to use fall-grown seed of local origin (p. 580), and a Warren Co. grower wanted relief from bean rust and anthracnose for which Fromme described resistant varieties, Bordeaux sprays, crop sanitation, and use of disease-free seeds, (p. 638).
In the Tenth Report of the State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist of Virginia, 1914-1915 (published in 1916), W. J. Schoene summarized the cedar rust law and its impact (p. 6).:
"The fruit growers, realizing that the future profits of their apple orchards were imperiled, succeeded in having a law enacted declaring the cedar a nuisance."
"The cedar rust law, which is given on page 19 of this report, is a local option measure. It presupposes, first, that the cedar has no real value, and, second, that the cedars are to be removed by the fruit growers without using the law, whenever possible. The law is intended only as an emergency measure, to be used when other means have failed."
"A few person, however, have refused" (to allow cedars cut from their property) "and, as a last resort, the law had to be called into use. The first case was tried in Frederick County. This resulted in a complete victory for the fruit growers." The entire court case of the Virginia State Entomologist vs. The Glass Family of Winchester is recounted under "Court Decision Upholding the Cedar Rust Law." The case was heard in the Frederick County Circuit Court beginning February 2, 1915, Judge E. S. Turner presiding (pp. 16-29).
Schoene also reported on the "Control of the Chestnut Bark Disease" (p. 7), summarized as follows:
In 1912, an appropriation was made to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration by the state legislature, an amount which was doubled in a federal appropriation, for the purpose of checking the spread of chestnut blight. Cooperation was established between the Division of Forest Pathology of the USDA and the State of Virginia and a survey was conducted for 3 years. Chestnut blight was found throughout northern Virginia and as far south as Bedford City. By end of 1915 Congress stopped the appropriation and the state gave up the effort as hopeless. Chestnut blight could not be thwarted.
In 1917, there would be several significant events in Virginia plant pathology, among which was the resignation of H. E. Thomas on February 28, after only 8 months at V.P.I. Although Thomas had graduated from V.P.I. in 1915 and had earned an M.S. degree there in June 1916, he participated actively in the research project work of the Department of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology and was co-author of six publications and author of one other. The most important of Thomas' papers were "Black root rot of the apple" (Fromme and Thomas, Jour. Agri. Res. 10:163-174, 1917) and "Spraying and Dusting Tomatoes" (Fromme and Thomas, Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 213, 1916). Thus, he was a valuable asset to the Department. He later earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University and became Professor of Plant Pathology in the California Extension Service. Thomas was succeeded by Samuel A. Wingard on July 1, 1917. In that position, stability was achieved for Wingard would remain on the faculty until he reached retirement age in 1964, 47 1/3 years later.
Fromme devoted much of his early 1917 research time to the preparation of publications on black root rot of apple. In preliminary reports, Fromme and Thomas gave evidence that a Xylaria sp. was the probable cause (Science (N.S.) 45:93, 1917; Phytopathology (abstr.) 7:77, 1917), and in a detailed account (Jour. Agri. Res. 10:163-174, 1917), they attributed the disease to X. hypoxylon. Thus, they refuted the evidence by Crabill (Phytopathology 6:159-161, 1916) that Trichoderma koningii was the causal agent.
Another significant event in 1917, was the discovery of the wheat gall nematode at Dovesville in Rockingham Co. Fromme described the situation, "The correspondent stated that he had sown the same seed wheat for about ten years. At first only an occasional head was affected, but within the last six years or so the infection has become so general that he had searched for a remedy. Thinking it a form of smut, he tried both the formaldehyde and hot water treamtents, but with no noticeable success. He estimates the loss this year at about 25 percent on ten acres."
"The presence of this disease in the state had not been recognized prior to the fall of 1917, at which time a specimen of wheat containing nematode galls was sent to the Experiment Station from Rockingham County" (Fromme, Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 222, 1919). This led to a comprehensive survey for infested areas wherein the disease was found in 33 counties. A quarantine against Virginia wheat was threatened but not enacted. The diseased received special attention from Bureau of Plant Industry scientists (L. P. Byars, U.S.D.A. Bul. 842, 1920; R. W. Leukel, Jour. Agri. Res. 27:925- 956, 1924). Shakespeare, in 1594, had written in "Love's Labour's Lost," act IV, scene 3, "Sowed cockle, reap'd no corn." In 1743, a Catholic clergyman, J. T. Needham found nematodes in the cockles. Thus, the cockles mentioned by Shakespeare had come bearing nematodes to Virginia. The growers' complaint suggested the gall nematode had been present in Virginia by 1911.
A new disease of tobacco, blackfire, was discovered, "through complaints from tobacco growers in Halifax County in 1917, the disease having appeared there in a very destructive form.... Little information as to the history of blackfire prior to 1917 is available but there seems to be little doubt that it has existed in Virginia for a number of years.... Another closely related but entirely distinct disease was first described as occurring in North Carolina in 1917 under the name of wildfire. This disease also occurs to a limited extent in Virginia" (Fromme and Wingard, Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 228, 1922. (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 25, 1922) The disease caused extensive losses to growers in the Halifax Co. area in 1917. Fromme, T. J. Murray, and others spent the next three years developing a technical description of the bacterium causing blackfire and methods for controlling it. It seems to be a strange coincidence that both diseases appeared in 1917. Distinction between the wildfire and blackfire bacteria in culture is very difficult, therefore, one might have arisen as a mutant of the other. The blackfire bacterium lacks the ability to produce the halo-inducing toxin.
In 1917, Drinkard listed the project "The relation between parasitic fungi and their host plants" (Adams Fund) and stated that "This is largely a study of the resistance of varieties of beans to the bean rust fungus, Uromyces appendiculatus." Fromme and Wingard were the principal investigators and they were the first to study resistance to rust in beans. Fromme, having been trained to study rusts, had initiated the project in 1915 and Wingard would continue this project for more than 40 years. The first publication from this project would appear in 1918.
During 1917, Fromme reported for the first time that Physoderma zeae-maydis occurred on corn in eastern Virginia (Plant Dis. Bul. 2:215, 1918). Other diseases reported as causing losses in 1917 were oat smuts, 8%; oat rusts, 5% (P.D.B. 2:7) wheat bunt, 5%; loose smut, 5%; rusts 1.5% (P.D.B. 2:3); corn smut 2% (P.D.B. 2:9); potato late blight and Fusarium wilt, 0.9% (P.D.B. 2:11); sweet potato stem and black rots, 7% and storage rots, 15% (P.D.B. 2:14); peach brown rot, 15%, leaf curl, 5% (P.D.B. 2:17); corn rust was first reported in 1917 doing only local damage (P.D.B. 2:220); bean rust, very severe in 1917 (P.D.B. 2:261); tomato Septoria spot, very severe in 1917 (P.D.B. 2:267). Tobacco ringspot was first found in 1917, but a study of it was deferred into the late 1920's (Phytopathology 17:321-328, 1927).
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration published reminders to its bulletin subscribers to spray tomatoes to control fruit rots (Bul. 117:5, 1917); control smuts in wheat by treating seed with formaldehyde and to use seed produced in smut- free areas (Bul. 119:3-5, 1917); and how to make self-boiled lime sulphur for fruit disease control (Bul. 120:18, 1917).
The Southern Planter had similar items; the annual spray calendar appeared in February (vol. 78:71); farmers were reminded to control wheat smuts and that the formaldehyde treatment will work 100% of the time except for a few locations where the soil is polluted with spores (vol. 78:482). (Note: Could this indicate dwarf bunt might be present in the East, or was this misinformation gleaned from experiences of western farmers who had the as yet unrecognized dwarf bunt?) The Enquirer's Column featured a question from New Kent Co. on the control of potato scab with a response to soak seed potatoes for 2 hours in a solution of one-half pint of formalin in 15 gallons of water; from Warren Co. one wished to know why cabbage wilts and dies early in the season. Fromme replied that it appeared from his examination that it was black rot and he recommended that the seed be soaked in 1;1000 mercuric chloride solution for 10 minutes then be dried thoroughly. He also recommended crop residue destruction and a rotation of 3 years or more.
From the V.P.I. Agronomy Department two bulletins were published featuring sections on disease control. In "Wheat Culture" by T. B. Hutcheson and T. K. Wolfe (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 216, 1917), the authors illustrated smutted wheat heads and described procedures for control of both loose smut and stinking smut (pp. 8-10). In "Potato Culture" (Ibid 217, 1917), the same authors described potato scab, early blight and late blight and their control measures. The procedures described were well established.
From the Truck Station came several publications by McClintock, who began the year with a bulletin on "Sweet Potato Diseases" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 22, 1917). Nine diseases were described and experiments on control of foot-rot were discussed. The diseases and their pathogens were white rust, Albugo ipomoeae-panduranae; leaf spot, Septoria bataticola; leaf spot, Phyllosticta batatas; soft-rot ring-rot, Rhizopus nigricans; soil pox, cause unknown, later shown to be a Streptomyces sp.; scurf, Monilochaetes infuscans; dry rot, Diaporthe batatatis; black rot, Sphaeronema fimbriata; foot-rot, Plenodomus destruens; and stem-rot, Fusarium hyperoxysporum and F. batatatis. The foregoing are listed merely to document their presence in Virginia by 1917.
McClintock gave three papers at the 1916 annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society. The abstracts were published in the January 1917, Phytopathology. The papers "Economic hosts of Sclerotinia libertiana in Tidewater Virginia" (7:60), "Lima bean mosaic" (7:60), "Will Spongospora subterranea prove serious in Virginia?" (7:72); all have been mentioned previously. He also published a note in Science (N.S.) 45:47-48, (1917) entitled "Peanut mosaic" in which he described observing on September 28, 1915, a single peanut plant bearing a single mottled shoot. He established the plant in the greenhouse and attempted by various methods to transmit a virus from the symptomatic shoot. He could not infect other peanut or pea plants, seeds from the symptomatic plant produced only healthy plants, and the plant matured and died before additional shoots developed symptoms. Since 1961, two peanut virus diseases have been found widely distributed on peanut in Virginia, namely, peanut mottle and peanut stunt. McClintock was a competent virus worker for his time. Had he found peanut mottle?
Finally, McClintock published his experiences with "Peanut-wilt caused by Sclerotium rolfsii" (Jour. Agri. Res. 8:441-448 + 2 pl, 1917). He first observed the disease at the Truck Station in 1915. He described the disease, concluded it survived in soil three years or more, and found 'Virginia Runner' to be "practically immune." Apparently, McClintock's paper was the first on the disease as a stem rotter, and certainly was the first indicating some peanut varieties were resistant to S. rolfsii (Note: The Compendium of Peanut Diseases, A.P.S. 1914, makes no mention of resistant cultivars as a means of controlling the disease).
In 1917, the federal quarantine against Ribes spp. and movement of five- needled pines was extended to include Virginia. This quarantine was implemented to protect commercial stands of pine from white pine blister rust, Cronartium ribicola. A survey for the rust was conducted in 1917 under the leadership of A. B. Moore. From May 15 to September 1, pine stands were inspected and in August a search for Ribes spp. revealed the presence of wild plants at Luray, Hot Springs, Basic (?), and Mountain Lake. No rust was found (11th Rept. State Entomol. and Pl. Pathol. of Va., 1916-1917:11-12, 1918).
By 1917, the Cooperative Extension Service was functioning fully in Virginia. Most county offices were staffed and there were some specialists on the faculty at V.P.I. However, there was no extension plant pathologist. Fromme and Wingard responded to inquiries about plant diseases.
The United States had declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, and on April 16, President Wilson in a proclamation had appealed to southern farmers to increase production of food crops and cotton (Sou. Planter 78:289). There was nothing in plant pathology literature to indicate there was a crisis until the report of the 1917 annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society appeared (Phytopathology 8:178-186, 1918). A resolution was adopted at the December 28, 1917-January 1, 1918 meeting to the effect that botanists be mobilized for war work and to the effect that those who had already been called to military duty be detailed to special agricultural duty and botanical work essential to prosecution of the war. The same resolution was adopted by the Botanical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The pathologists formed a War Emergency Board to cooperate with corresponding committees of other societies. Fromme would serve as secretary of the Central East region of the Board (Phytopathology 8:242-243, 1918). During 1918, J. A. McClintock resigned from the staff at the Virginia Truck Experiment Station on January 31; his position remained vacant into 1919. Arthur Ballard Massey was appointed Associate Plant Pathologist and Bacteriologist for the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station on June 1. He was the son of W. F. Massey of Raleigh, N.C. who wrote numerous popular articles on agriculture for the Southern Planter. Ralph C. Thomas continued his graduate work in plant pathology until February 28, 1918, when he enlisted in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army. Although he had been a cadet at V.P.I., there is no report of him having been a commissioned officer in the army.
Fromme began a 3-year term in January 1918, as associate editor of Phytopathology; his editorship was the first service rendered to the American Phytopathological Society by a Virginian.
As noted previously Fromme and Wingard were investigating the rust disease of bean and late in 1918, they published their first detailed account of their studies (Bean Rust: Its Control Through Use of Resistant Varieties, Va. Agri. Expt. Bul. 220, 1918). According to the authors, "Bean rust is one of the most destructive of the several common diseases of beans in Virginia .... Losses have sometimes amounted to the complete destruction of the crop." Farm and garden "production has increased considerably during the past two years as a result of the high prices and increased demand incident to the war, and the increased importance of home food production." The experiments consisted of testing of most available bean varieties for resistance to rust. Four categories of response were used to describe varieties, namely, rust-free, few or no pustules; rust-proof, more pustules but little or no injury; rust-enduring, moderate infection and some defoliation; and rust-susceptible, heavy rust infection, severe leaf fall, poor yield. Production and degree of resistance were highly positively correlated. Lists of dry-shell varieties, pole and bush wax and green beans were given in each response category. The four categories differed slightly from those described at the Pittsburgh annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society. There, Fromme described the resistance responses as "A decrease in the number of infections, the production of flecks indicating the early death of the mycelium and invaded tissue, a decrease in the size and spore producing capacity of the sorus, and the early production of teliospores." The flecking was called hypersensitivity in studies of other rusts but this term was not applied by Fromme to bean-rust reactions (Phytopathology 8:76 (abstr.), 1918).
During studies on the epidemiology of the cedar apple rust, an automatic spore trap was invented whereby spore deposition over a 12-hour period could be monitored. A disk attached to the hour hand movement supported a petri dish poured with agar which was divided equally into 12 pre-shaped segments. The disk rotated under another disk with a pie-shaped opening equalling one-twelveth of the area. When exposed, time of spore deposition could be approximated (Phytopathology 8:242-244, 1918).
In 1918, pathologists organized their War Emergency Board into regions. On February 12, 1918, The War Emergency Conference of Plant Pathologists of the Central East, met at Washington, D.C.; Fromme was secretary. Cooperation between states, and with federal workers was emphasized. Research and Extension on diseases of crops of vital importance in food production were emphasized. A united assault would be made upon diseases of potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, cereals, and fruits. A manpower census was also to be conducted (Phytopathology 8:242-243, 1918).
The Great Plains Plant Pathologists, among other things, launched their barberry eradication campaign. All the regional War Board Conferences joined in aiding agricultural specialists to obtain a deferred classification. Procedures to be followed when local draft boards would not grant deferment were published (Phytopathology 8:374-375, 1918).
During the War, pathologists were urged to report their observations on the incidence and severity of plant disease to the USDA Bureau of Plant Industry, Plant Disease Survey. In volume 2 of the Plant Disease Bulletin for 1918, reports on the situation in Virginia were made by Fromme unless otherwise noted.
No. 6, July 15 - Fire blight, "severe locally but probably not so general over state as commonly found" (p. 83). Apple scab, "unusually prevalent and the most destructive disease to date" (p. 84). Cedar-apple rust, "destructive locally" (p. 84). Bean anthracnose, "locally more destructive than last year ... first reported June 28, ... excessive rainfall has contributed to the infection" (p. 86). Bean bacterial blight, "not so prevalent as anthracnose, but rather common. First appearance June 20" (p. 87). Potato scab on a Virginia shipment according to a Boston inspector, 15% infection in 200 barrels, some as high as 50% (p. 92). Potato rot, according to a Pittsburgh inspector, 5 carloads, as high as 35% decay (p. 94). Wheat bunt, "Not so widespread as loose smut, ... as much as 25% in some fields, will average 3% in state" (p. 96). Wheat loose smut "Fields without a trace hard to find, 2 to 3% is the common amount found but occasionally 10 to 15%. The amount for the state may average 15%" (p. 96). (Note: the amount probably should have been 1.5%; in any case, not 15%). Wheat scab, "Unusually severe in southwestern Virginia where excessive rainfall occurred during heading. First reported June 15 from Pulaski" (p. 97). Wheat stem rust, "Sporadic" (p. 98). Oats smut, "... Not severe, ... 3 to 4% on an average" (p. 105). Oats crown rust, "Disease common" (p. 105). Peach leaf curl, "Very severe in southwestern Virginia ... to the extent of about 95% of the leaves" (p. 106). Peach brown rot, "Heavy infections in Petersburg and Appomattox section" (p. 107). Rye ergot, "Ergot rare" (p. 111). Rye leaf rust, "Common" (p. 112). Rye anthracnose, "Common and causing the injury of possibly 3 to 5% (p. 112). Tomato leaf spot, just getting started (p. 114). Watermelon stem end rot and anthracnose, 40 and 100%, respectively, of melons in one carload at New York (Inspector, p. 136). Cabbage black leg only in home gardens at Blacksburg (p. 142). Cabbage black rot, "Reported from Henrico County about June 15" (p. 142). Cabbage yellows, "Reported from Mecklenburg and Southampton Counties ... June 10" (p. 143). Various potato rots were found in potato shipments from Virginia received at northern markets resulting in 5% or more loss (pp. 155-157). Sweet potato stem rot and wilt, "Found in abundance on eastern shore ... also from King George County" (p. 159). Sweet potato foot rot "Found in abundance on eastern shore" (p. 159). Sweet potato black rot, "Found in abundance in the eastern shore and also reported from Chesterfield County" (p. 160). White rust, "Reported from Henrico County" (p. 160). Tomato Fusarium wilt, "Reported from four counties with losses varying between 5 and 20%" (p. 162). Septoria leaf spot "As usual, the most prevalent and generally destructive tomato disease" (p. 163). Tomato bacterial wilt, "Caused a loss of 30% on three acres in Roanoke County" (p. 164). Tomato late blight "Is reported from Dickenson County only" (p. 165). Watermelon Fusarium wilt "Reported from Franklin and Charlotte Counties" (p. 167). Cotton wilt, "Reported from Mecklenburg County" (p. 179). Cucumber bacterial wilt, "First reported from Manassas July 8. Seems to be generally prevalent throughout the state and to be the cause of the greatest losses to cucumbers" (p. 181). Corn bacterial wilt "Prevalent in gardens in Blacksburg. As high as 15% infection observed. One report, 1915," was the only previous report (p. 214). Corn smut, "Common but rarely more than 1% (p. 217). Corn leaf rust, "Common but comes late in season and does little or no damage." Reported previously only in 1917 (p. 220).
H. S. Stahl, V.P.I. Biology Department, was appointed by the Plant Disease Survey to make a special survey of root and stalk rots of corn in several midwestern states and Virginia. Most of his survey in Virginia was in counties west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and northeast of Montgomery county. He estimated 10% of the plants were symptomatic, having fallen stalks with rotted roots (p. 223) (Stahl was a plant physiologist).
Continuing the diseases reported by Fromme: Apple bitter rot, "Not nearly so destructive as in previous years" (p. 227). Apple blotch, "Scattered over state on early apples and Ben Davis" (p. 227). Apple black rot, "Perhaps the most serious disease this season ... Heavy defoliation has resulted in some orchards by the middle of July" (p. 228). Apple scab, "Unusually severe in southwestern Virginia" but not elsewhere (p. 228). Apple blister canker, "Becoming more prevalent ... in orchards of ten years or older" (p. 228). Cedar apple rust, "Common throughout the Valley and southwestern Virginia." (p. 228). Fire blight, "Very slight" (p. 229). Apple black rot, "Caused greater loss of trees than any other agency, with mice injury as a close second" (p. 229). Market inspections of carloads of cabbage and onion at various destinations had 20 and 6 to 10% loss, respectively (pp. 231, 233). Peanut stem rot or wilt, "has been reported from several places ... a Fusarium is suspected (p. 235). Market inspectors at Pittsburgh reported up to 20% bacterial decay in some carloads of potatoes from Virginia (p. 237). Potato late blight occurred only in "Wise and Dickenson counties (SW) in home gardens" (p. 236). Bean anthracnose, "Locally more destructive than in 1917. Reported from Bland, Montgomery, and Nelson Counties. A 10% loss" (p. 255). Bean bacterial blight, "Rather common. Not so prevalent as anthracnose. 5% loss." (p. 238). Bean rust, "General and very severe. 100% of crop injured with a loss of 10% ... 1917 very severe" (p. 261). Tomato Septoria leaf spot, "General and very severe. 25% estimated loss and 85% plus of crop injured" (p. 267). Tomato early blight, "More than usual" (p. 269). Bacterial wilt "Local, causing a 10% loss (p. 271). Tomato Fusarium wilt, "General and severe. Epidemic in Roanoke and Henrico Counties" (p. 272).
The foregoing list may seem a bit facetious but it gives a general picture of the plant disease situation in Virginia during World War I. Some noteworthy absences are Septoria glume blotch of wheat, Helminthosporium diseases of corn and small grains, powdery mildew of small grains, tobacco and hay crop diseases, and ear rots of corn. These diseases were not only absent from Virginia reports, they were absent from other state reports also. Why were they not listed? All must have been known.
The first Experiment Station publication to mention a peanut disease appeared in 1918. E. T. Batten, Superintendant of the Holland, Nansemond Co. Station prepared "Peanut Culture" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 218, 1918), in which he stated "The peanut crop is remarkably free from disease. One of the most common diseases is the leaf spot (Cercospora personata)... The disease usually attacks the plant so late in the season that it does not interfere seriously with the yield ... The disease ... is most probably spread by seed." No control was known except crop rotation (p. 16). Eventually, control of peanut leaf spot would become a major effort at the Holland Station.
Early in 1918, W. J. Schoene, State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist of Virginia, in the 11th Report, 1916-1917, published "Results of the Cedar Rust Law in Virginia" (p. 8-10). He reviewed the effects of cedar eradication on apple, costs of rust to growers, tax on orchardists to support cedar eradication, opposition to the law and resulting court action, and a review of cedar rust work in other states. Schoene had given the same report at the December 1917 meeting of the State Horticultural Society (Proc. 22nd Ann. Convention Va. State Hort. Soc., pp. 130-134. Va. Fruit 6:130-134, 1918).
Fromme also gave a review of the cedar rust situation at the 1917 meeting of the Virginia State Horticultural Society (Ann. Report of the Society 23:106-114, 1918, Va. Fruit 7:106-114). In "Cedar Rust," Fromme emphasized the commonality of cedars by citing ten Virginia post offices beginning with "cedar", Cedar Bluff, Cedarville, etc. The rust on cedar was found by Schweinitz in 1825 in North Carolina. Later he found the same fungus on wild crab apple but did not recognize that the fungi on the two unrelated hosts were actually one and the same. Cedar rust did not come into its own until the commercial apple orchards were developed. What really brought the rust to the forefront was the extensive planting of the very susceptible varieties 'York Imperial' and 'Ben Davis'. The York loses its foliage to rust while the Ben Davis fruit are spotted reducing them from grade no. 1 to grade no. 2. Outbreaks of rust in 1910 and 1912 precipitated passge of the Cedar Rust Law on March 4, 1914. Fromme described the benefits of cedar eradication on Frederick County and adjoining Berkeley County, W.Va., and the destruction yet incurred by rust in Augusta, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties. He said, "Cedar eradication is the cheapest form of orchard insurance you can buy. The cost on the average is less than the cost of a single spray application." He provided figures to prove the above statement. Near the conclusion of his presentation, he stated that, "I have admitted no argument as to whether cedar trees are necessary for cedar rust on apple. There is none. If there were no cedar trees there would be no apple rust." As it is now "There are thousands of trees waiting for the axe." Fromme's address was sprinkled with subtle humor.
At the same December 1918 meeting of the Horticultural Society, B. R. Leach and J. W. Roberts of the U.S.D.A. Bureau of Plant Industry spoke on "Dusting vs. spraying apples in northern Virginia." (Va. Fruit 7:150-155). Most of the effort was devoted to control of the codling moth but some was devoted to control of apple scab. Dusting proved inadequate for scab, (only 52% apples were scab-free) whereas spraying was economically successful (93% were scab-free). Charles Brooks, also of the U.S.D.A., spoke on "The control of apple scald" (Va. Fruit 7:49-52). He stressed that apples which are fully matured scald less than do under-ripe fruit when placed in storage promptly after harvest under a regime of 40°F for three weeks then at 32° with adequate aeration for the remainder of the storage period.
In the January 1918 Southern Planter (vol. 79:9), Fromme diagnosed a field of 1917 corn from Shenandoah County as having had Fusarium root and stalk rot. He recommended that some other crops be grown for three years. In the September and November issues (79:496, 620), two articles were published reporting the discovery of the wheat gall nematode in Virginia. W. F. Massey reviewed U.S.D.A. Circular 114 "A Serious Eelworm Disease of Wheat" by L. P. Byars. Massey discussed the disease cycle, and control measures. Both articles stressed crop rotation, planting nematode- free seed in nematode-free soil, and removing galls by immersing seed in 20% salt solution and skimming off the galls which floated to the surface.
The war ended on November 11, 1918, but there was little in plant pathology literature to indicate that a grave situation had existed. The War Emergency Board evolved into the Advisory Board of American Plant Pathologists at the December 1918 meeting of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). Also at that meeting the Southern Division of APS was formed.
In the Annual Report of the Virginia Department of Agriculture, published as a Year Book, 1917-18, it was stated that "Bordeaux mixture controls pea blight" (p. 49). The article contains recommendations for spraying pea vines. Under "Tomato wilt" (pp. 49-50), the author described the symptoms of Fusarium wilt, how the causal fungus is disseminated, what sanitary measures to practice, and that once the soil became infested with Fusarium, only resistant varieties could be grown successfully. A "Leaf spot disease of tobacco" merited considerable discussion (pp. 55-56). Although bacteria were not named as the cause, it is probable that either blackfire or wildfire or both were being discussed. "Apple scald", based on a publication by C. Brooks and J. S. Cooley, was reviewed and measures for controlling it were outlined (pp. 152-153). In a detailed review of U.S.D.A. Farmers' Bulletin 821, "Watermelon Diseases", a key to six diseases was included (pp. 167-174). Those diseases, wilt, root knot, anthracnose, stem-end rot, blossom-end rot, and ground rot, were carefully described and their control measures were outlined. Apparently, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration reached a number of farmers who depended on this annual publication for a summary of the latest in agriculture. A competent Botanist, G. J. French, selected the material on plant diseases that was published. The war apparently interfered with publication of the 1917 report, and, thus, a 1917-18 "yearbook" was published with a promise of an annual report hereafter.
On December 30, 1918, The American Phytopathological Society was 10 years old and the Southern Division of the Society was organized, probably in the winter of 1918. Thirty years earlier, Alwood had published the first paper from the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station related to plant pathology.
Ralph Cleon Thomas received a B.S. degree from V.P.I. in 1917 and immediately became a Student Assistant in the Department of Bacteriology and Plant Pathology. On February 28, 1918, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He was discharged in May 1919, and received an M.S. degree in Agronomy in July 1919. Thereupon, he was appointed Assistant County Agent in the Virginia Agricultural Extension Service. His primary function was to survey for the wheat gall nematodes. On November 1, he was appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station and was assigned to work on diseases of cereals and tobacco.
At the Virginia Truck Experiment Station, Charles T. Gregory was appointed Plant Pathologist on May 15, 1919, but he resigned on May 30 because he could find no place to live. The position of Plant Pathologist remained vacant for another year. Fromme had published a note in 1917 on the occurrence of the wheat gall nematode in Virginia. In 1919, he published "The Nematode Disease of Wheat in Virginia" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 222, 1919), the first state publication on the subject. Fromme reported that grain losses due to the disease were frequently 25% and in one case 50%. The survey conducted in 1918 revealed the nematode was present in 33 counties, mostly in the Northern Piedmont, the Shenandoah Valley and southwestern counties. It was found in only two Coastal Plains counties, Charles City and King and Queen. As a boy of nine years, I was shown by my cousin who lived in King and Queen Co. "cockles" in fannings from the wheat grown on their farm. Even though they had never seen them, they told me that cockles were full of little worms. Although it was meaningless at the time, it was my introduction to plant pathology. When it was first detected in Virginia in 1917, Fromme stated, "It appears from the evidence at hand that the disease has been present to some extent in a few localities for ten or more years."
Fromme demonstrated that the disease could be controlled by mechanical separation of galls from seed wheat, and by planting clean seed in nematode-free soil. He suggested that infested soil not be sown with wheat for three years and that legumes and corn be grown in the intervening years. (Note: Although galls may be found in wheat screenings at mills in Virginia even in the 1990's, I have not seen symptoms of the nematode disease in the field since 1947).
There was a threat of a quarantine against Virginia, West Virginia, and Georgia on account of the presence of the wheat gall nematode in these states (Sou. Planter 80 (Aug.):523-524, 1919). A hearing was called on July 15, 1919, before the Federal Horticulture Board in Washington, D.C. The Virginia officials participating included Governor Westmoreland Davis (himself a farmer); J. F. Fooshe, State Director of Markets; J. T. Brown, Chairman of the State Crop Pest Commission; W. J. Schoene, State Entomologist and Pathologist; E. M. Hunter, County Agent, Loudoun County; and F. D. Fromme, Plant Pathologist, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. The quarantine, if invoked, would prohibit the shipment of wheat, oats, and rye out of Virginia. Farmers having the problem took a double loss; yields were reduced and because millers could not separate galls from wheat they refused to buy "injured" wheat. Because the "Disease has been reported some years ago to exist in several parts of the country, and it is suspected of being present in a number of States where investigation has not been so thorough as in Virginia," no federal action was taken. The presence of tobacco blackfire or angular leaf spot was first detected in 1917 from diseased plants grown in Halifax County. Fromme and bacteriologist T. J. Murray collaborated and discovered that the bacterium causing it had never been described. In a paper, "Angular leafspot of tobacco, an undetermined bacterial disease," they described Bacterium angulatum, now known as Pseudomonas syringae pv. angulata. They also described the disease and illustrated its symptoms (Jour. Agri. Res. 16:219- 233, 1919).
In 1919, there was a national effort to determine the status of barberry bushes in relation to stem rust in the states contiguous with those where the barberry eradication campaign had been implemented. As cooperators, Fromme and A. B. Massey found aecia of Puccinia graminis on Berberis canadensis in Montgomery County on May 18. This was the first time the cereal stem rust had been found on native barberry in Virginia, probably because no one had looked for it. Later, infected bushes were also found in Pulaski, Smyth, and Wythe Counties. (E. C. Stakman and L. J. Krakover, 1920, Puccinia graminis on native Berberis canadensis. Phytopathology 10:305-306). Rust spread only slightly from barberry to wheat in Virginia in 1919.
"Greenhouse Tomato Growing in Virginia" was the subject of Virginia Truck Experiment Station Bulletin 26, by H. H. Zimmerley, Horticulturist. There being no pathologist at the station in 1919, Zimmerley described the disease problems to be encountered and prescribed methods for their control. He listed root knot nematodes (Heterodera radicicola, now any of several Meloidogyne spp.), leaf mold (Cladosporium fulvum, now Fulvia fulvum), Fusarium wilt (Fusarium lycopersici, now F. oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici), tomato mosaic, and blossom end rot. For root knot, steam sterilization of soil as deeply as possible was deemed necessary, followed by strict sanitary measures. For leaf mold, aeration and low humidity were required; spraying was of dubious value. For wilt, soil sterilization was also necessary. Knowledge about control of mosaic and blossom end rot was limited; healthy tomato plants should be handled before mottled ones and mottled ones should be removed before mosaic spreads throughout the planting. For blossom-end rot, it was thought drought favored it, and that liming abates it.
Fromme and G. S. Ralston, Field Horticulturist, V.P.I., described "Dusting Experiments in Peach and Apple Orchards," conducted in Albermarle and Botetourt Counties during 1919 (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 223, 1919). They found that dusts containing sulphur gave adequate control of peach scab but not of brown rot. Dusts containing Bordeaux mixture gave excellent control of apple blotch and leaf spots. Neither Bordeaux mixture dust nor sulphur dust controlled bitter rot. Data on apple scab were not obtainable.
On the back of Bulletin 223, was printed a "Note to fruit growers concerning cedar rust," stating that, "The losses from Cedar Rust this year (1919) were the greatest known to the history of apple growing in Virginia." They were estimated at one to one and one-half million dollars, a considerable sum in 1919. The note gave a concise review of the Cedar Rust Law and how it should be implemented.
In the Southern Planter, Fromme published a two-part article, "How to control tomato wilt and leaf blight" (vol. 80 (April):256-258), in an effort to stimulate interest in controlling these diseases. Fromme pointed out that recently canneries were closed because leaf diseases and wilt reduced tomato crops to unprofitable levels; the 1918 crop was 15% smaller than the 1917 crop. Fromme described wilt, mode of infection, persistence of the fungus in soil, that it is state-wide but most severe in lighter soils; longer rotations help but do not eliminate the fungus; the only sure method of control is to grow resistant varieties. Norton (R) was compared to Brimmer (S) on a farm near Richmond. Brimmer was a total loss; Norton yielded excellently. In 1919, growers provided testimonials that Norton produced crops where other varieties had failed. Limited supplies of seeds were available from the Plant Pathologist at V.P.I. in Blacksburg, Virginia.
In the second part (vol. 80 (May):333-334), Septoria leaf blight was described. Fruit scald was ascribed to loss of foliage due to leaf blight. Yields were reduced as much as 50%. Bordeaux sprays were not very successful, probably due to inadequate spraying or coverage. Fromme thought the addition of a rosin-fish oil soap as a sticker- spreader would improve the efficacy of Bordeaux mixture. The modified Bordeaux tested in 1918 had given a 33% increase in fruit on sprayed plants compared to unsprayed plants. Fromme claimed a net gain of $23/acre when 5 applications were made. The formula recommended was 4:2:50, copper sulphate:lime:water, plus 3 lb. rosin-fish oil soap. Sun scald was eliminated because the canopy was preserved. According to Fromme, if modified Bordeaux sprays were applied to wilt resistant varieties, commercial tomato production, especially for canning, would be sustained.
Several items of anonymous origin concerning plant diseases appeared in the 1919 Southern Planter, vol. 80. In January (p. 2), under "Burning plant beds," the writer suggested steaming was a better alternative because it killed weed seeds and fungus spores (as well as nematodes and insects). Readers were referred to U.S.D.A. Farmer's Bulletin 996, "Steam Sterilization of Seed Beds for Tobacco and Other Crops" (1918). In February, the spray calendar for 1919 appeared unchanged from 1918 (p. 77). The article, "Watch for new potato disease" was a warning that potato wart was found in Pennsylvania in 1918. State and federal pathologists were seeking to contain it in the isolated valleys where it was found. (A Federal quarantine (1912) against this disease was already in effect.) The disease was described and areas of infestation were mentioned. It was described as "One of the most dangerous diseases of Irish potatoes." In August (p. 515), farmers were advised to report any suspicious occurrences of wart.
In the October column, Work for the Month, an urging to "Prevent scabby wheat," appeared (p. 626). The writer stated that the eastern U.S. wheat crop had been severely damaged by scab. No satisfactory control was known because the causal fungus has a broad host range. Three recommendations were given; first, plant clean, formaldehyde-treated seed; second, sow wheat on thoroughly plowed land where corn stalks, wheat stubble, and grass straw are entirely covered; third, burn grasses in fence and hedge rows, and in waste places. "Of those fungi known to cause scab in wheat, the most important one attacks corn." The fungus also attacks rye, oats, barley, and many grasses.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration in its "Year Book 1919" also advised its constituency of "A new disease of wheat in Virginia" (pp. 117-120), in an article by G. J. French, Botanist in Charge. French reviewed the wheat nematode gall situation based on information provided by Fromme or gleaned from several U.S.D.A. publications on the subjects. He referred to USDA Bulletin 734, "Nematode Galls as a Factor in the Marketing and Milling of Wheat" which emphasized the need to control the nematode gall disease in order to prevent discrimination at the wheat markets and to prevent further widespread dissemination of the disease.
Under the title, "New and revised methods of seed treatment for stinking smut of wheat and oat smut," French reviewed a bulletin issued by the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station and written by G. H. Coons (pp. 121-124). The new method involved spraying full strength commercial formaldehyde (= 40% solution), over the grain, covering for 4 hours then spreading to dry and plant as soon as possible. Other items included in the 1919 report were a revised fruit spray calendar (pp. 50-51), a table of "Plant Disease and Remedies" which covered vegetable diseases, and some advice by G. C. Starcher, V.P.I. Horticulturist titled, "Peach growing in Virginia," in which growers were reminded how to control yellows, rosette, little peach, leaf curl, scab, and brown rot.
In the 1919 Plant Disease Bulletin (vol. 2) issued by The Plant Disease Survey, several diseases were cited by Fromme as occurring in epidemic proportions. These included apple scab, fire blight, black rot, and cedar rust; wheat scab, leaf rust and Septoria glume blotch; tomato late blight (almost a total loss); rye stem smut and anthracnose; peach leaf curl, brown rot, and scab. Several other diseases were cited as "Common, not serious" or "No damage or losses reported." The Plant Disease Bulletin, later The Plant Disease Reporter was for many years a log of the incidence of plant diseases. Most of the diseases listed for 1918 and 1919 were listed in the years thereafter. Hereafter, only those of extreme importance or which appear to be new will be mentioned.
During 1920, James F. Eheart was appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station on March 1, and R. C. Thomas was transferred to the Extension Division on November 1. Thus, Thomas became the first full-time Extension Plant Pathologist in Virginia. At the Truck Station, Fred W. Geise joined the staff on August 16, as Associate Plant Pathologist. He held a B.S. degree from Nebraska. The first Extension Service publication on a plant disease was issued in 1920. This publication, co-authored by R. E. Marshall, Extension Horticulturist, and F. D. Fromme, was devoted to cedar-apple rust, a disease that had received considerable attention in Virginia (Red Cedar Trees and Cedar Rust. Va. Agri. Ext. Ser. Bul. 39:1-8, 1920). A survey was conducted at the request of growers to establish whether cedar removal benefitted apple production. Data presented showed that profit was directly correlated with the distance of cedars from orchards.
Additional notice of the importance of plant diseases appeared in Extension Bulletin 62, June 1920, "The Production of Bright Tobacco," by J. C. Hart, Extension Agronomist. There was a section prepared by Fromme entitled, "Wildfire and angular leaf spot" (pp. 25-31). The disease was described and illustrated and sources of infection were identified. For control, Fromme emphasized disease-free seed from a disease-free crop, seed treatment with formaldehyde, and clean covers.
The Extension Division issued several lesson books on crop and livestock production; one was, "Twenty Lessons on Irish and Sweet Potato Production", June, 1920, (not numbered) by R. E. Marshall, E. C. Magill, and C. Woolsey of the Horticulture Department. Lesson 9 covered, "Diseases of the Irish potato and their control," (pp. 26-29). It summarized the nature of diseases; causes; spread; classification into fungous diseases of foliage, fungous and bacterial diseases of tubers and stems, virous diseases; and control measures such as sprays, seed piece treatments and sanitation. Lesson 17 gave similar treatment to sweet potato diseases with emphasis on control of foot rot, stem rot, black rot, scurf, and soft rot.
At the December 1919, American Phytopathological Society meetings, Fromme discussed "The development of loose smut of wheat as modified by soil fertility" (Phytopathology 10:53, 1920). This was the first publication showing his continuing interest in the wheat smut problem. Fromme reported that the poorer the soil, the greater the percentage of smutted heads. Conversely, as the soil was enriched by fertilizer applications, smut percentages declined. Fromme attributed this "To total or partial elimination of the smut fungus by the greater vigor of the growth of plants on the more fertile soils."
Fromme, G. S. Ralston (Field Horticulturist), and Eheart collaborated to publish "Dusting Experiments in Peach and Apple Orchards in 1920" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 224, 1921.). Their experiments with peaches were summarized in the statement, "Dusting materials have given very satisfactory control of scab, and ... the data with respect to the control of brown-rot and curculio are insufficient for drawing conclusions." With apples, they found that copper-lime mixtures had no value for the control of bitter rot. "There seems to be no justification for the use of any of the copper dusting mixtures in Virginia apple orchards." (In short, keep spraying!) The data in bulletin 224 were accumulated by Eheart and appear in his thesis for the M.S. degree in Plant Pathology and Horticulture.
There were no other research reports published from the Department at V.P.I. in 1920. There was considerable research underway and there were other activities in plant pathology around the state. At a Washington, D.C. meeting of the Advisory Board of American Plant Pathologists, January 29-31, it was voted to hold a summer field meeting emphasizing fruit diseases. Fromme was elected chairman of the Arrangements Committee (Phytopathology 10:258). This, the second such summer meeting, convened August 3, at Staunton, Va., where there was an "Inspection of interesting demonstrations of apple root rot and cedar rust, and comparative dusting and spraying experiments for control of various apple diseases." The party spent August 4 in Berkeley Co., West Virginia (Phytopathology 10:496-498). As a sidelight, the secretary, G. R. Lyman, reported that, "Scenically, the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains are famous throughout the world. Historically, every foot of ground traversed is of interest from Staunton on the south to Gettysburg on the north and the party was able to make special pilgrimages to the battlefields of Antietam and Gettysburg."
At the Truck Station, Loren B. Smith, Associate State Entomologist, published a summarizing paper on "Breeding Mosaic Resistant Spinach and Notes on Malnutrition" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 31 and 32, 1920). In this publication, Smith described the extensive work with plant pathologists which led to the recognition of mosaic, and the discovery that aphids could transmit it. He compared the symptoms of malnutrition and mosaic; this allowed growers to recognize which problem was damaging their crop. He detailed the botanical characteristics of 'Manchurian' spinach, resistant to mosaic and susceptible 'Savoy' and the hybrids from them. From progeny was selected 'Virginia Savoy' which outyielded commercial types then in production. This project, initially in collaboration with J. A. McClintock, restored the spinach production industry in eastern Virginia.
Smith co-authored with H. H. Zimmerley, Horticulturist, "Relation of Pressure to Effectiveness in Spraying Tomatoes" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 33 and 34, 1921.). Target diseases were Septoria leaf spot and Cladosporium leaf mold. They applied Bordeaux mixture at 75, 140, and 200 lbs p.s.r. Results were somewhat garbled. Either 140 or 200 lbs gave the best yields but results varied from one variety to another. They did not recommend that tomatoes be sprayed at a particular pressure. At the December 1920 meeting of the Virginia State Horticultural Society, W. J. Schoene, State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist, presented a report on cedar tree litigation (Va. Fruit 9:36-38, 1921). Opposition to the cedar rust law had arisen in Shenandoah County in 1917. Attorneys for the opposition admitted the presence of cedar rust and damage it caused to orchards but opposed the constitutionality of the act. The Circuit Court at Woodstock ruled in favor of the orchardists and the Judge awarded ample damages and ordered the cedars cut. The case was carried to the Court of Appeals where it was questioned whether the Crop Pest Commission had authority to fund legal services. Thereupon, the directors of the State Horticultural Society, since the Society had "fathered" the act, arranged to finance the contest in the Court of Appeals at Staunton. The ruling of the lower court was upheld. Schoene reminded the Society that it was the place of the orchardist being injured to seek permission and to finance removal of cedars on neighboring property. Upon meeting opposition the State Entomologist is empowered to push for a settlement.
The Southern Planter magazine began a twice monthly publication schedule in 1920. There was a corresponding increase in items about plant diseases. In volume 81, pages were not numbered continuously as before, thus reference is made to each date of publication.
The Spray Calendar format was changed; instead of one big chart, four charts were presented, one each for apples, stone fruits, grapes, and brambles (Jan. 15, p. 6.). Extension Horticulturist R. E. Marshall pointed out that, "Spraying has been talked and written until it would seem that all (fruit growers) ... would be familiar with the best practices in ... spraying," yet the losses in 1919 caused by pests controllable by spraying amounted to one 1 1/2 million dollars. The losses were attributed to insuffcient number of sprays, improper dilution of sprays, ill-timed sprays, and inadequate coverage of fruit and foliage. These are age-old problems.
Mycologist F. A. Wolf of North Carolina Agricultural College presented an article, "Forage poisoning from water grass" (Jan. 15, p. 14.), in which he describes effects of Claviceps infections of Paspalum spp. on livestock. From the description the fungus is Claviceps purpurea; however, it was most probably C. paspali, as the latter is widespread on Paspalum spp., but even today C. purpurea is known on Paspalum spp. only from Georgia. Watergrass is P. dilatatum, or dallis grass and is common in Virginia. Sclerotia of C. paspali frequently occur on dallis grass in Virginia. Animals poisoned by ergot appear to have chills; they tremble, are wild-eyed, have high pulse rates, are easily excited, and fall or stumble headlong. Near water, they may fall and drown. Animals must be separated from the ergot source or they will die. To avoid animal losses, Wolf advised farmers to clip pastures during the period August to October.
In the May 15 issue (Sou. Planter 81 (10):30-31), Fromme described "Angular leaf spot and wild fire" of tobacco, and stated that the diseases were caused by bacteria, rather than by unfavorable weather, fertilizer injury, or poor soils as was previously thought. From the research that had been conducted since 1917, Fromme recommended that:
- Seed beds be on new ground and that drainage should be away from them.
- Old covers should be boiled.
- There should be no old tobacco refuse near seed beds.
- Growers should remove spotted plants from seed beds.
Since the diseases occurred on seed pods, it was suspected that they were seed-borne, but Fromme was not yet willing to recommend seed treatments. However, in the December 15 issue (Sou. Planter 81 (24):5.), C. F. Phillips, Amelia County Extension Agent contributed an article, "Control measures for wildfire and angular-spot of tobacco," in which he described additional procedures:
- Seed treatment - soak in formaldehyde solution (1 oz. Formalin in 1 pt. H2O and dry.
- Old covers - as noted above or soak in 1:1000 HgCl2 solution.
- Burn new ground seed beds.
- Practice a rotation, 2 years between tobacco corps. No doubt, Fromme had furnished him information.
Reminders to control cereal smuts appeared several times [Sou. Planter 81(12):22; (16):4; (19):30; (20):3-4]. All recommended copper sulphate or formaldehyde soaks to control wheat bunt and two described hot water treatments for wheat loose smut. In Rockingham County, a community hot water treatment center was set up in a creamery. Other articles included "Control measures for bacterial wilt" of curcurbits for which control of the cucumber beetles was recommended and "Spray for leaf-spot of tomatoes" [Sou. Planter 81(12): 6; (12):36]. The Inquirer's Column responded to questions on tomato blight in Montgomery Co. [(7):30-2], summer sprays for peaches, plums and apples in Campbell Co. [(10:32], grape mildew and black rot, peach summer sprays, and rose mildew in Pittsylvania Co. [(13:22], and whether red cedars caused tomato plants to die. Fromme suggested Fusarium wilt was the probable cause [(3):34]. (Note: Walnut toxicity was also a possibility but had not yet been recognized.)
In the 12th Report of the State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist, W. J. Schoene reported that a survey of white pine stands revealed no blister rust in Virginia (Quarterly Bul. Va. State Crop Pest Comm. 1:14-15, 1920). [Note: Wilbur O'Byrne stated white pine blister rust had been found in Clarke Co. In 1911. (Agencies destructive to the forests, pp. 413-423, in The James River Basin, Past, Present, and Future. Va. Acad. Sci. Richmond, VA. 1950]. Schoene also reported that apple growers were organizing from Botetourt Co. northward to eradicate cedars. Apparently, they had been somewhat passive or not willing to antagonize their neighbors (p. 15). For the first time take-all of wheat had been identified in Virginia; it was found in Roanoke Co., probably in June 1991 (p. 22).
When the Cedar Rust Law was enacted in 1914, owners were authorized to destroy cedars within one mile of their ochards and the State Entomologist was authorized to do so within two miles of an orchard. In 1920, the Legislature removed the discrepancy and cedars within two miles of orchards could be destroyed by growers. This was a local option law and county supervisors had to ratify it in order that cedar eradication could be implemented on farms adjacent to orchards in their county.
In the Plant Disease Bulletin, Fromme reported on occurrence of numerous cereal, fruit and vegetable diseases. It was noted that cedar rust was severe in most orchards except those in Frederick County where cedars had been virtually eliminated (4:15, 1920). Fusarium wilt of cabbage caused considerable losses in the Marion area of Smyth County (4:1195, 1920). In Roanoke County, Fusarium wilt of tomato took a toll except where the resistant varieties Marvel and Norton were grown (4:90, 1920). Septoria leaf spot severely damaged tomatoes in western Virginia (4:89-90, 1920). On tobacco, black root rot was very damaging in Charlotte County (4:52, 1920). Fromme reported that, in general, the fruit crop was little affected by plant diseases in 1920.
Fromme completed a 3-year term as Associate Editor of Phytopathology, and a 5-year term on the V.P.I. College Entrance Requirements Committee. He served on the Bulletin Committee from 1919 to 1922 and the Physical Welfare Committee for two sessions, 1919 to 1921. He was inclined to be an "involved" professional. Further evidence of this was shown in 1921, when Fromme began a 3-year term as a member of the Board of Control of the Crop Protection Institute which was organized at the December 1920 meeting of the A.P.S. "The Institute is the outcome of the spontaneous desire --- of plant pathologists, economic entomologists, and certain business men to secure united attack on certain problems. It has been organized under the auspices of the Division of Biology and Agriculture of the National Research Council" (Phytopathology 11:198, 1921).
At the same December meeting, Fromme and Wingard read a paper on the "Treatment of tobacco seed and suggested program for control of wildfire and angular-spot" which was the basis of Phillips article in the December 15, 1920 issue of the Southern Planter, previously noted (Phytopathology 11:48-49, 1921).
Early in 1921, Fromme and Wingard published an article, "Wildfire and angular- spot" of tobacco (Sou. Planter 82(2):8-9, 18, 1921), which was a summary of their work on these diseases. They stated that serious losses due to these diseases had been sustained in the four seasons, 1917-1920. Spread had been rapid in wet weather and growers attributed the diseases to weather. Fromme and Wingard sought to convince growers if they controlled the disease in seed beds, it would be no problem even in wet weather. The emphasis was on disease-free seed, and disease-free seedlings. Methods for obtaining healthy seedlings was stressed.
In the April 15 issue, Fromme reviewed Experiment Station Bulletin 224 "Results of Peach and Apple Dusting Experiments in 1920" (Sou. Planter 82(8):5, 1921). He stated that sulphur dust was superior to self-boiled lime-sulfur for control of peach scab but not for brown rot. Sulfur dust was acceptable for control of apple scab but any copper dust was worthless for other apple diseases.
Fromme conducted tests with cabbage in Smyth County. To determine the value of two yellows-resistant varieties for Southwest Virginia. (Fromme, F. D. 1921. The Yellows Disease of Cabbage in Southwest Virginia. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 226). Regional losses to yellows had amounted to 25% with losses of 90% in a few cases. It was estimated the 50% of the cabbage lands were infested with Fusarium conglutinans and growers in some cases had been forced to abandon cabbage production. Fromme obtained seed of 'Wisconsin Hollander' and 'Wisconsin All Seasons' from J. C. Walker at the University of Wisconsin, where the two varieties had been bred for resistance to yellows. Tests in 1921 proved both varieties would restore cabbage production to "yellows sick" soils.
Fromme and Wingard reported on an intensive study of reactions of bean varieties to rust, Uromyces appendiculatus (Varietal susceptibility of beans to rust. J. Agri. Res. 21:385-404 + 4 pl. 1921). They described techniques developed, types of reactions, and variations in incubation period, and correlated reactions with plant type and seed color. They worked primarily with one isolate originally collected at Blacksburg but did some comparative work with an isolate collected in California. They recorded differences in reaction for the two isolates and, thus, recognized for the first time physiologic forms of U. appendiculatus. This was also the first work with physiologic races of any pathogen in Virginia. They concluded that pole beans were generally more susceptible than bush beans, green beans were more susceptible than wax beans, white-seeded varieties were more susceptible than colored, and plants producing marrow type seeds were resistant while pea and kidney varieties were apt to be susceptible. Some varieties appeared to be heterogeneous for rust reaction but reactions of individual plants were uniform. Greenhouse tests could be used to predict field performance.
Although Fromme and Wingard clearly recognized the existence of races of the rust fungus, their statements to that effect are largely overlooked. In 1957, Zaumeyer and Thomas stated, "The inheritance of rust resistance was shown by Wingard in 1933 to be dependent on a single dominant factor. His work was conducted before the discovery of various physiologic races of the organism" (A Monographic Study of Bean Diseases and Methods for Their Control. U.S.D.A. Tech. Bul. 868, 1957). Thus, if you want to be recognized for a discovery, you have to say to the world, "I was the first to ..., etc." In retrospect, Chupp in 1925 acknowledged that, "There is some indication that there are at least two biologic forms of U. appendiculatus," an apparent reference to Fromme and Wingard (Chupp, C. 1925. Manual of Vegetable-Garden Diseases, Macmillan Co. 647 pp.).
In other studies, Fromme noted that the "Incidence of loose-smut in wheat varieties" varied from 0 to trace in Leap (= Leap Profilic) in 52 fields and from 0 to 10% (av. = 3.6%) in 74 fields of Stover wheat in 1921 (Phytopathology 11:507-510, 1921). It was not determined whether Leap was resistant or escaped infection. Bearded varieties generally had more smutted heads than beardless types. This was the beginning of studies and a breeding program for resistance to smut at V.P.I. that would last another 25 years.
James F. Eheart was awarded the M.S. degree in Plant Pathology and Horticulture on June 10, 1921. He had written two theses for his degree requirements; the first was, "Dusting and spraying experiments with apples and peaches," approved by Fromme and H. L. Price. This work was published in Experiment Station Bulletin 224 and has already been reviewed. For his minor thesis, Eheart studied the "Enzymatic activity of Xylaria digitata and the cultivation of Penicillium pinophilum in nutrient salt solutions," approved by A. B. Massey and H. L. Price. Eheart held the position of Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station from March 1, 1920 to March 1, 1921. From June 1919 to March 1920, he had been a Student Assistant in Plant Pathology and Bacteriology where he assisted A. B. Massey in teaching bacteriology courses. After March 1921, Eheart was Assistant (Agricultural) Chemist in the Experiment Station.
In Extension Bulletin 67, June 1921, "Bush Fruit Culture," C. Woolsey, Horticulturist, described briefly crown gall, anthracnose, cane blight, double blossom, spur blight, yellows, leaf spot, and yellow late rust of brambles, and leaf spot, anthracnose, powdery mildew, and cane blight of currants (pp. 14-16).
At the 1920 meeting of the Virginia State Horticultural Society (Va. Fruit 9:170- 172, 1921), there was an interesting discussion between Mr. Vance and Professor Alwood. Fromme had advised Vance to use lime around some trees apparently infected by the black root rot fungus and to pull soil away from the roots to expose them. This the grower did and in addition fertilized them with nitrogen. The trees recovered. Thereupon Alwood declared he had discovered the same treatment and it had worked for him and he advised others to use it on symptomatic trees.
Loren B. Smith had for several years served in the dual role of Associate State Entomologist (and Plant Pathologist) and Entomologist for the Truck Station. Smith's contributions to control of spinach mosaic have been described. On April 1, 1921, he resigned to study Japanese beetles in New Jersey. He had prepared an article on, "Control of spinach leaf mold (downy mildew) by spraying" for the Quarterly Bulletin of the Virginia Crop Pest Commission [3(1):pp not numbered, April, 1921] in which he described and illustrated the disease, lamented the difficulty of estimating losses, and stated that it was most destructive from October to December following wet warm spells. He compared 2 strengths each of copper sulphate and Bordeaux mixture, with and without fish oil soap. Copper sulphate, 1/4%, plus fish oil soap was superior. With H. H. Zimmerley, Smith had co-authored bulletins 33 and 34 (published under one cover, January 1, 1921), previously noted. Smith had contributed greatly to the betterment of truck farming though both entomology and plant pathology. Apparently, the Crop Pest Commission felt that his replacement, W. S. Hough, was needed more in fruit work; they stationed him at Winchester, July 1, 1921. Although Hough was the first professional at Winchester, he was not the first Experiment Station employee there.
Three presentations relating to apple diseases were made at the December 10- 12, 1921 annual session of the Virginia State Horticultural Society (Va. Fruit 10(2), 1922). W. J. Schoene, State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist gave "A progress report of cedar rust litigation." He reviewed the initial efforts of the Society to have the cedar law enacted. "The first legal fight occurred in Woodstock at the September term of court in 1919. This case was promptly carried to the Court of Appeals by the cedar owners. This case resulted in favor of the fruit growers, and shortly afterwards the cedars were cut under the discretion of the State Entomologist. It was thought at the time that this would end all cedar rust litigation. However, ... the cedar men ... announced that the next case would be carried to the United States Supreme Court" [Va. Fruit 10(2):44-48. 1922]. At the time (Dec. 1921) the ruling of a circuit court judge was pending.
John W. Roberts of the U.S.D.A. gave a discussion of "Apple scab control" in which he described carefully his work with spray programs and the need to make four applications of lime-sulphur specifically timed to control the fungus. There was much discussion on the preparation of lime-sulphur (Va. Fruit 10(2):159-169). G. S. Ralston, Horticulturist at V.P.I., presented a discussion of the "1922 spray recommendations," which was somewhat redundant to that by Roberts. However, it was more detailed; he described in detail nine spray applications giving details for mixing ingredients, and carefully defining the target pests of each spray. He also condemned the spray gun as an inadequate tool for the apple grower, giving reasons. There was a very lengthy, lively discussion following Ralston's talk [Va. Fruit 10(2):179- 194.]
The Southern Planter continued to publish timely reminders of farm operations for plant disease control. The annual spray calendar was reduced to sections on apple and peach pest control [82(5):6-7, 21]; an item on treating tomato seed with HgCl2 solutions to control bacterial spot was authored by C. G. Woodbury based on information from Max Gardner of Indiana [82(6):7]; Floyd H. Keister, Associate Horticulturist at the Truck Station described a seed-potato treatment for controlling scab [82:(6):7-8] and methods for controlling sweet potato "seed"-borne diseases [82(9):6]. In the column "Work for the month" the editors twice emphasized treating seed wheat to control stinking smut and loose smut; in the first they described formaldehyde and hot water treatments [82(16):3]; in the second they described the formaldehyde and the copper sulphate-lime liquid treatments aimed at stinking smut [82(20):4]. In March, the losses from dodder were highlighted [82(5):19] and methods for controlling it were detailed. Suscepts listed were clover and alfalfa; not susceptible were corn, soybean, cowpeas, and small grains.
Numerous diseases were reported in the plant disease survey for 1921 to occur in Virginia (Pl. Dis. Bul. Of Pl. Dis. Survey 5), Noteworthy reports were wheat nematode disease in Wilkes Co., N.C., traceable to seed lots purchased from T. W. Wood Seed Co. of Richmond, Va. (p. 8); leaf rust of wheat was the worse than Fromme had ever seen (p. 24); angular leaf spot of tobacco was present in 70% of the beds examined, seed treatment and new or boiled covers controlled it very well (p. 65); Granville wilt of tobacco was more common because farmers were hunting for it (pp. 65-66); a bacterial soft rot of tomato caused a 50% loss in Blacksburg area gardens (p. 84).
Two other major events occurred in Virginia plant pathology in 1921; on April 19, Curtis Roane was born and on November 1st, Martha Kotila Roane was born!
In 1922, the structure of plant pathology research in Virginia changed significantly; the first sub-station or field station plant pathologist was employed. Felix J. Schneiderhan was appointed as Assistant Plant Pathologist on March 14, and assigned to Winchester. There he joined W. S. Hough, Assistant State Entomologist, who had preceded him by a few months and who was an employee of the Virginia Crop Pest Commission. Thus, Schneiderhan was the first Experiment Station employee at the Winchester Station and was placed in charge of the laboratory. It was Hough, however, whose pleadings to the Horticulture Society and Crop Pest Commission for pathology help that precipitated Schneiderhan's appointment. The apple scab outbreak in 1921 had overwhelmed growers and interfered with Hough's codling moth and aphid research. Schneiderhan was to study apple scab, bitter rot, black root rot, cedar rust, and any other apple disease that attracted his attention and to focus on control of these diseases. He grasped quickly the magnitude of his task and presented to the State Horticultural Society a very convincing picture of why the profit of growing apples was unnecesarily narrow. That report will be reviewed later.
Perhaps the most significant publications issued by the Department in 1922 were two on tobacco bacterial leaf diseases. A popular bulletin entitled, "Blackfire and Wildfire of Tobacco and Their Control" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 228, 1922), and a technical bulletin entitled, "Blackfire or Angular leafspot of Tobacco" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 25.), appeared almost simultaneously in April. The former was issued to aid farmers in the control of the two diseases named, and the latter was a comprehensive account of the history and research conducted on blackfire since its discovery in 1917. There was an Experiment Station "first" in bulletin 228. It contained two color plates in which blackfire and wildfire were compared. In the technical bulletin, the authors, Fromme and Wingard, reviewed the history of blackfire, regional distribution, losses, comparison of blackfire with other leaf diseases, symptoms, the causal agent (Bacterium angulatum) and its cultural characteristics, epiphytology and procedures evolved for its control. Much effort was devoted to developing seed treatment with formaldehyde and HgCl2 and demonstrating that used covers must be boiled if they were to be reused. The simplified recommendations which appear in bulletin 228 were seed selection (from disease-free plants), disinfection, plant bed sanitation (clean covers, plant beds on new ground), and field sanitation (practice rotation and destruction of tobacco crop residue).
Fromme reported on "Experiments in Spraying and Dusting Tomatoes" from 1918 to 1922 (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 230). The 1918 experiments were to compare the efficacy of soap Bordeaux and standard Bordeaux; soap Bordeaux was superior in that it reduced the incidence of fruit rot and Septoria leaf spot. After the 1919 experiments were completed, Fromme stated, "Spraying with soap Bordeaux mixture provides a satisfactory control of leaf blight and softrot." In 1922, tests were conducted to determine the value of copper-lime dust for control of diseases in the Blacksburg area. Late blight was the most destructive disease encountered. Dusting gave excellent control of late blight fruit rot and its use was encouraged.
Fromme read a paper at the December 1921 American Phytopathological Society meetings on "Susceptibility of apple root-stocks to black root rot" (Phytopathology 12:54-55), in which from inoculation experiments, Northern Spy-rooted trees was found to be superior to seedling-rooted trees. Nurserymen were encouraged to shift to Northern Spy for rooting material.
At the same meetings, Wingard read a paper on "A yeast parasitic on lima beans." A Nematospora sp. was reported to cause infections on cotyledons, pods, and seeds (Phytopathology 12:47, 1922). Late in 1922, Wingard published an account of his experiments and declared that the causal agent, N. phaseoli, and the yeast-spot disease of lima bean and cowpea were hitherto undescribed (Wingard, S. A. 1922. Yeast-spot of Lima beans. Phytopathology 12:525-532). He illustrated fungous vegetative cells, an ascus and ascospores. Most vegetative cells were oval but some were "in the shape of tennis rackets and walking sticks." Specimens from which cultures were made came from Essex, King and Queen, King William, and York Counties in the Coastal Plain and Dinwiddie, Albemarle, and Henrico in the Piedmont.
Wingard took an educational leave in September and went to Columbia University to study under R. A. Harper, eminent Botanist-Mycologist. There he studied further the Nematospora disease and embodied the study into a dissertation.
At the Truck Station, Fred Geise collaborated with H. H. Zimmerley and C. R. Willey to publish "Dusting Vegetable Crops, Preliminary Report" (Va. T. E. S. Bul. 35 and 36, 1922, published under one cover). They explored different procedures; there was no progress with diseases because droughty conditions prevailed and fungi were inactive. Geise reviewed conditions for "Storing and Bedding Sweet Potato Stock" (Va. T. E. S. Bul. 39 and 40, 1922). No doubt this had been inspired by Schoene's comment that 40% of the stored sweet potato crop is lost to disease (Quarterly Bul. Va. State Crop Comm. 3(4), including 13th Rept. of the State Entomologist and Plant Pathol., 1920-21). Geise's bulletin emphasized conditions to be maintained in storage houses and the care of handling the roots to induce disease-free sprouts.
Late in 1922, the station published bulletin "Spraying and Dusting Vegetable Crops in 1922" (Va. T. E. S. Bul. 41, 1922.) Here Geise, Zimmerley, and Spencer described experiments aimed at control of eggplant fruit rot (Phomopsis vexans), tomato leaf spot (Septoria lycopersici), and cantaloupe and cucumber downy mildew (Peronospora cubensis). This was a follow-up of bulletins 35 and 36. Dusts produced higher crop yields than sprays; the dusts were dehydrated copper sulphate, calcium hydroxide, insecticide mixtures.
Geise, who had joined the Truck Station staff in August 1920, resigned on December 31, 1922, to take a position in Maryland.
R. C. Thomas contributed very little to the plant pathology literature in the years he was Extension Plant Pathologist, November 1, 1920 to September 1, 1922. He was co-author of the bulletin, "Orchard and Garden Insects and Disease and Their Control" (Ralston, G. S., F. A. Motz, and R. C. Thomas. Va. Ext. Div. Bul. 68, June 1922). The bulletin included about 42 diseases of fruits and 46 diseases of vegetables, procedures for preparing fungicides, descriptions of application equipment and spray calendars. Soon after, Thomas resigned on September 1 and James Godkin was named Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Extension Division.
Fromme contributed an item to the Southern Planter, "Recommendations for the control of wildfire and blackfire of tobacco" [83(4):8, Feb. 15, 1922.] in which he reviewed the procedures he and Wingard had developed and which were described in Virginia Agriculture Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 25 and Bulletin 228. Fromme, in the item, emphasized that the grower could not omit any of the control measures and expect success. An interesting sidelight is that Fromme and Wingard developed the seed treatments with bichloride of mercury and formaldehyde between 1919 and 1922. George B. Lucas in his book "Diseases of Tobacco" 3rd edition, 1975 (p. 407), credited James Johnson and H. F. Murwin for developing a silver nitrate treatment in 1925 but ignored Fromme and Wingard's earlier procedure. Another contribution from Virginia had fallen through the cracks.
Much of plant pathology is the constant reminding growers to carry out plant disease control measures at the right time. For this purpose, popular farm magazines were the medium most often used in the 1920's. The Southern Planter excelled at providing timely reminders for Virginia growers. The annual spray calendar for fruits usually appeared in February (for ex. 83(3):6, Feb. 1, 1922), and exhortations to treat seed wheat for smut control usually appeared in early fall (ex., 83(19):4, Oct. 1, 1922). Since procedures had not changed for several years, these were stereotyped articles. Occasionally Virginia farmers were alerted to diseases occurring elsewhere that had the potential of damaging their crops. Flag smut of wheat appeared in the St. Louis area and was found on 72 square miles in 1921, and 700 in 1922 [83(16):5, Aug. 15, 1922]. Among the soft red winter wheat varieties grown in Virginia and found to be highly resistant or immune were Stoner, Marvelous, and Fulcaster. In 1922, Virginia growers were not threatened by the disease but were alerted to look for it. "The flag smut situation was further described in the Plant Disease Bulletin (6:2-4, 1922).
Fromme reported that numerous diseases occurred in Virginia in 1922 (Plant Dis. Bul. 6:9, 10, 53, 62, 75, 83, 157). Powdery mildew of red clover caused a crop failure in much of Virginia. It was epiphytotic in the whole eastern United States (6:9, 10). Fromme and Schneiderhan reported on the cedar rust situation as follows (6:75): "Cedar rust is epiphytotic wherever cedars and apples occur in proximity. Frederick County is the only Valley county which will not suffer severe losses. Systematic cedar eradication has been in progress there for several years. Leaves are beginning to fall and the fruit is showing the dwarfing which follows (as of July 19). Many of the York orchards appear to be burned and discolored. In many cases there is premature defoliation" (July 24).
The report that take-all of wheat occurred in Roanoke county in 1919 apparently shook pathologists. A reinvestigation of the site revealed no take-all. The false report was attributed to an incorrect diagnosis by a federal plant pathologist (Schoene, W. J. 1922. Thirteenth Rept. State Entomol. and Pl. Pathol. 1920-21 in Quarterly Bul. Va. State Crop Pest Comm. 3:12-13). In that same report (p. 12), Flippo Gravatt reported finding Verticillium wilt of maple at Leesburg in 1921. Reed and Crabill had called it thrombotic disease when it occurred in Roanoke about 10 years earlier. Thombosis was an early name for Verticillium wilt.
An item in The Southern Planter, "Disease resistance in varieties of wheat" [83(10):16, June 1, 1922] was prepared by "the Extension Specialist in plant disease, V.P.I.," that being Thomas. The writer described his findings on the incidence of loose smut in Leaps Prolific and Stoner wheats. The smooth-headed Leaps Prolific had only a trace of smut in 52 fields observed in 1920 and 1921, whereas bearded Stoner and others averaged 7% in 74 fields. Fromme had credited Thomas for making this observation in his 1921 report (Phytopathology 11:507-510, 1921) and should have made him co-author but didn't.
Schoene, the State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist, spoke to the Virginia State Horticultural Society at its December 1922 meeting on "The past, present, and future of the cedar situation." [Va. Fruit 11(2):2-4, 1923]. He pointed out that the law enacted in 1914 was met by growers with mixed feelings. Before and after enactment some growers favored its passage and vigorously pursued cedar eradication, some opposed its enactment, some refused to accept the rust theory and some well known orchardists claimed that cedars did not interfere with the production of Yorks (the most susceptible variety), and they were willing to testify in court to that effect. After its passage, the Crop Pest Commission was expected to enforce it but no funds were set aside to conduct court cases. People who were at first unsympathetic toward the law changed markedly and by 1920, supported the law. Schoene endorsed organized efforts to eradicate cedars in a neighborhood and cited the success attained in Frederick County. Such a program was underway in Augusta. The practice of paying damages to cedar owners was opposed by Schoene. A resolution to that effect was proposed and there was some opposition (pp. 206-207). Schoene explained the reason for the resolution. People who have cedars want them cut, "And they are waiting for the fruit growers to come and cut them. And what else? They want damage. When the fruit grower comes along and cuts their cedars, they put in a claim to the court for damages. And ... in every case but one the court has given damage. If the Society would put up a fight, there won't be but one case come up, just one case, that is all. As soon as these cedar people find that this Society is not going to stand for damages, they are not going to ask for any more damages." Schoene cited a case in Frederick County, where once legal fees to support a damage petition had to be paid by cedar growers, petitions were no longer presented to the court. Thus, by fighting one case, Frederick County growers no longer had to pay damages. After the statements by Schoene, the resolution that the Society opposed damage payments was passed.
Additional accounts of the cedar eradication program and litigation over cutting cedar trees may be found in the Quarterly Bulletin of the Virginia State Crop Pest Commission 3(4):20, 1922; 4(2):3, 1922; 5(1):not numbered, 1923.
In addition to the interesting discussion on cedar eradication, Schneiderhan, after only nine months on the job at Winchester was invited to speak to the Horticultural Society on, "Scab and other things" [Va. Fruit 11(2):153-174]. He exposed his philosophy of disease control as being an effort by the fruit grower to make more profit for himself. He first showed a photograph of a million pound pile of apple culls, one of 22 such piles in Winchester. That was 22 million pounds that should have made growers money. Schneiderhan said, "When I stood on top of that rotten pile of apples, I felt that I was on top of the pathological situation of the world." He pointed out that scab was the most serious disease for Virginia growers because cedar rust, which was number one in the growers mind, was only temporary. Cut down the cedars and it would go away but scab would still be there; it accounted for 30.9% of the culled apples. Schneiderhan harangued them for being under-equipped, for under-spraying, and under-estimating disease potentials. He showed them the effects of omitting particular sprays recommended in the calendar; the results were dramatic. A full spray program of eight sprays was the only alternative. He also showed them the need to have an accurate hydrometer for measuring the strength of lime-sulphur and he described a new wound dressing. In his first year and in his first address, Schneiderhan made quite a splash. It was obvious he was going to have a very favorable impact on Virginia's apple industry in the seven years he would be at Winchester.
Another important December meeting for pathologists was that of the American Phytopathological Society. The meetings were between Christmas and New Year; as a consequence, the proceedings appeared after March of the next year. The report of the 1922 meeting showed that F. D. Fromme was elected Vice-President of A.P.S. for 1923, that he was a member of the Auditing Committee for 1922, that he was to assist J. C. Arthur in the preparation of a book on plant rusts, that he was a co-leader of the A.P.S. project on dusting, and that he was a representative for A.P.S. on the Board of Governors of the Crop Protection Institute. Thus, Fromme was heavily involved in A.P.S. affairs, the only person from Virginia to be so, thus far (Phytopathology 13:188- 198, 1923).
Some staff changes occured in the V.P.I. Department of Plant Pathology in 1923. Robert H. Hurt was appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist on June 5, and assigned to establish a field station at Crozet, Albemarle Co. Hurt had just earned his B.S. degree in Biology from V.P.I. He was to work on diseases of peaches, apples, and small fruits. His "laboratory" was a garage in which he stored the paraphernalia for doing orchard spray experiments. He had the backing of the State Horticultural Society, so presumably his laboratory was equipped with sprayers, mixing tanks, and a microscope. The records I find don't say.
Sam Wingard returned in May or June from a term of graduate study at Columbia University. Thereupon, he was promoted on June 5 to Associate Plant Pathologist. With Wingard recently on leave, Massey heavily committed to teaching, and Fromme involved in A.P.S. and departmental administration and Schneiderhan relatively new at Winchester, no research publications were issued by the department in 1923. There were brief notices on the incidence and severity of diseases in the Plant Disease Reporter in 1923, the new name for the Plant Disease Bulletin. Fromme and Schneiderhan independently reported on apple diseases (P.D.R. 7:42, 56, 57). Cedar rust in 1923 was rated at 5% in the Valley, compared to 100% in 1922. Godkin invited F. E. Kempton, federal officer-in-charge of barberry eradication, to visit Wythe, Carroll, and Pulaski Counties to see the devastation of wheat adjacent to native barberry bushes. They reported that grain up to 10 rods from bushes was shrivelled but further away grain was plump even though 10% severity of rust was encountered at 50 rods.
Fromme had indicated that Godkin would be assigned to intensify extension work on hot water treatment of wheat for loose smut control. The Extension Pathologist, a publication of the federal extension service, first appeared in November, 1923. Godkin published an account of "Cereal seed treatment in Virginia" [Ext. Pathol. 1(1):15, 1923], in which he cited the intensive effort to treat wheat in Botetourt County. The availability of tomato canneries in the county with their ability to supply hot water made the program successful.
Fromme made use of the second issue to describe the "Spray service for fruit growers in Virginia" [Ext. Pathol. 9(2):10-11, 1923]. He stated the service was started in 1922, and that in a coordinated effort by the Departments of Entomology, Horticulture, and Plant Pathology, with personnel stationed at Winchester, Leesburg, Crozet, and Blacksburg, information and advisories for current conditions were disseminated as soon as the information became available. A calendar for spraying had long appeared in The Southern Planter.
In 1922, the Experiment Station and Extension Division had cooperated to start the "Spray Service" by which growers were notified in advance by mail to apply certain sprays. In subsequent years efforts were made to expand the mailing list for this service. A significant step was taken when the Extension Division undertook the publication of a spray calendar (Orchard Spraying in Virginia, 1923. Va. Agri. Ext. Div. Publ. E-198). This was the first of such annual publication that would be continued by the Extension Division and the Experiment Station.
Another service of The Extension Pathologist was to publish a list of extension bulletins. (For example, James Godkin. 1923. Loose Smut of Wheat and its Control. Va. Agri. Ext. Bul. 210). I would have missed this publication without it having been listed [Ext. Pathol. 2 (7 and 8):81, 1924].
The Annual Report of Extension Work July 1, 1921 to November 30th, 1922 (Bulletin 82, 1923), indicated that Godkin emphasized treatment of tobacco and wheat seeds, rag doll tests with corn seed, and demonstrations on control of cabbage, watermelon, potato, and tomato diseases. He travelled 1140 miles by rail and 1870 by "car and other means."
Just before F. W. Geise resigned from the Truck Station on December 31, 1922, he prepared a bulletin, "Experiments With Inoculated Sulphur, Preliminary Report" (Va. T. E. S. Bul. 42, 1923). The bulletin was in two parts, (1) For control of potato scab (2) Effect on subsequent crops. At Norfolk, there was some scab reduction when 300, 450, or 600 lbs was incorporated into the soil just before potatoes were planted. At Onley on Eastern Shore, 300 lbs/ac gave very good control of scab and caused least reduction of corn yields and rye growth. Growing potatoes in acid soils has been practiced since the bulletin was published, but with some modifications.
Howard Zimmerley, Horticulturist, and Herbert Spencer, Entomologist wrote, "Hot Water Treatment for Nematode Control" (Va. T. E. S. Bul. 43), summarizing 10 years of experiments aimed at controlling root knot nematodes in greenhouses and cold frames where steam was not available. Formaldehyde, calcium cyanamide, sodium cyanide, and carbon bisulphide were ineffective. Boiling water applied at the rate of five gallons per cubic foot of soil gave satisfactory control when administered in midsummer and the soils were already warm. A boiler of high capacity for producing boiling water would be needed. (I don't recall that the method was widely practiced). On June 1, Ray J. Davis filled the position of Plant Pathologist that Geise had vacated five months before. He collaborated immediately with Zimmerley and Spencer to produce the bulletin, "Spraying and Dusting Cantaloupes" (Va. T. E. S. Bul. 45), which was a summary of experiments conducted during the 1919-1923 growing seasons. Dusts were not applied until 1921. They found that with sprayer pressures of 75, 125, and 200 lbs., the two higher pressures damaged the vines, that both Bordeaux mixture and copper lime dusts damaged vines but controlled downy mildew, Alternaria leaf spot and anthracnose. They advised growers not to apply fungicides until fruit were setting.
Dr. E. C. Stakman, of the University of Minnesota and the U.S.D.A., contributed an article to The Southern Planter, "Europe controls wheat rust through barberry eradication." He cited his experiences in Europe and stated that black stem rust was completely eliminated as a result of laws in most countries that made rust susceptible barberry bushes illegal. In England, however, farmers took the matter into their own hands and eliminated barberry bushes without the aid of laws [84(2):19, Jan. 15, 1923]. There was no mention in the article about the efforts in midwestern states to eradicate barberry; Stakman had been a champion of that cause.
In February, the annual spray calendars was reproduced, and G. S. Ralston hammered away at the importance of adhering to the schedule and doing a thorough job [84(3):6-7, Feb. 1, 1923.] No dusts were recommended even though Fromme had found them useful for peaches.
Professor W. F. Massey, longtime contributor of articles on agriculture and respondent to inquiries about farm and garden problems died on March 3, 1923 [picture, 84(8):1, Apr. 15, 1923]. His son, A. B. Massey was Assistant Plant Pathologist at V.P.I. For those of us who knew A. B. Massey, the father-son likeness is readily apparent.
J. F. Jackson, Contributing Editor of The Southern Planter, wrote an eulogy to W. F. Massey in the May 1 issue [84(9):20]. He credited Massey with having conducted experiments with legumes for soil enrichment at the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station and for extolling the virtues of legumes in crop rotations. Jackson describes him as "One of the greatest benefactors of Southern farmers and truckers on record." Massey had written many articles on plant diseases. He was 84 years old.
"Control of tomato diseases by spraying and dusting" was a subject in the "Trucking, Gardening and Orchard" column in May [84(9):8, May 1, 1923.] This was a review of Experiment Station Bulletin 230 by Fromme. Five sprays with soap Bordeaux mixture were profitable where the price per bushel of tomatoes exceeded thirty cents. Dusting rather than spraying was recommended for gardeners especially in the mountains where late blight was apt to occur. In this area a copper-lime dust was recommended.
In "Note from Virginia College of Agriculture" [84(9):2, Oct. 1, 1923], Fromme described the new seed treatment with copper carbonate for wheat bunt control. It required no wetting, and was less damaging to the wheat. Although it was effective against wheat bunt, it was not as good as formaldehyde for oat and barley smuts. Chestnut blight had spread throughout Virginia. It was found in 1923 penetrating northern Georgia and southwestern North Carolina [84(20):8, Oct. 15, 1923]. Fromme published an item that workers in Kentucky had discovered that blackfire and wildfire may be introduced into tobacco seed beds by workers who chewed tobacco and spit into the beds. He warned growers not to allow the use of tobacco products while working with seedlings [84(24):7, Dec. 15, 1923].
At the 1923 annual meting of the American Phytopathological Society, Fromme was elected President for 1924 (Phytopathology 14:200-210, 1924). It would be 70 years before another V.P.I. pathologist would become A.P.S. president; that honor would go to Sue Tolin in 1994. President Lyman, Fromme's immediate predecessor, appointed Fromme to a committee to study the character of the winter meetings. The committee met before the business meeting and prepared a report which was adopted by the membership. Abstracts would be continued as a part of Phytopathology; there would be a program committee consisting of the president, secretary, and chairman of the Advisory Board; and the concepts of symposia and discussion sessions emerged. With Fromme presiding, the minutes of the 1924 meeting will be carefully examined.
The A.P.S. presidency must have been time consuming because Fromme did not publish again until 1926. Then too, changes in faculty must have added a burden to his administrative and research load. Massey was assigned to full-time teaching after July 1. Wingard returned to Columbia University in the fall for the 1924-25 session. In the fall of 1924, Fromme was the sole Experiment Station Plant Pathology person in Blacksburg; field station personnel outnumbered the Blacksburg staff. At the end of August, Ray Davis of the Truck Station resigned to take a teaching position at Ricks College, Rexburg, Idaho. His position was not filled for five months. Although he was at Norfolk for only a year and three months, he contributed significantly to bulletins published during his tenure. In January 1924, the Truck Station summarized tomato disease control work (R. J. Davis, H. Spencer, and H. H. Zimmerley, 1924. Dusting and Spraying Tomatoes. Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 46). Dusts were more effective than sprays; both dusts and sprays controlled leaf spot (Septoria lycopersici) and leaf mold (Cladosporium fulvum), the most common tomato diseases in the area.
Davis and others published a summary of diseases and insect control experiments on eggplant for the period 1918 to 1923 (Spencer, Zimmerley, and Davis, 1924. Dusting and Spraying Eggplants. Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 47). Phompsis blight (P. vexans) was the disease targeted by the experiments. Either sprays or dusts containing Bordeaux mixture and calcium arsenate gave top yields. Control of flea beetles was more important than the control of blight.
Frank P. McWhorter replaced Davis but there is some question as to when he joined the Truck Station staff. According to the American Men of Science (vol. 5, 1933), it was 1923; according to personnel records of the Station, it was March 1, 1925; however, he prepared a Truck Station bulletin dated October 1, 1924; he was probably appointed in September 1924. Regardless of the date of his appointment, he prepared a bulletin, "Black Rot of Kale" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 49, 1924), based on literature, yet nothing was cited. The disease was described and illustrated. Seed treatment with HgCl2 and crop rotation were the control measures stressed.
Two extension bulletins addressed plant diseases in 1924. The departments of Entomology, Horticulture and Plant Pathology collaborated to produce, "Orchard Spraying in Virginia (for) 1924 (Va. Ext. Div. Bul. 88). Spray schedules were charted; there was discussion of schedules and methods of preparing spray materials. This became an annual publication beginning in 1923. The spray service was briefly described. The Southern Planter published copies of the spray calendar [85(3):5].
Wingard and Godkin issued, "Tobacco Diseases in Virginia and Their Control" (Va. Ext. Div. Bul. 90, 31 pp.), in which ten problems were discussed; nine pages were devoted to blackfire and wildfire. They were by Virginia researchers the most thoroughly studied diseases in the State. Detailed descriptions were given, accompanied by six photographs of symptoms. The section ended with a list of eleven recommendations for controlling them. In the discussion of mosaic, it was stated that, "Its cause is as yet undetermined." There was no mention of "virus" even though Allard had called the cause of tobacco mosaic "virus" in 1916 (Jour. Agri. Res. 6:649-674, 1916.) Black root rot, root knot, Granville wilt, frog-eye leaf spot, frenching and lightning injury were discussed. There was a claim that black shank had been found in specimens from "several fields" in 1923. Later, Wingard stated that black shank was first introduced into Virginia in 1937; he made no reference to the statements in Extension Bulletin 90 (Plant Dis. Reptr. 23:369-370, 1939). The Southern Planter published notes regarding control of blackfire and wildfire with the admonishment "Don't spit on the plants" [85(3):34-5, (9):2, 20-1.].
In 1957, S. B. Fenne wrote a history of the Extension Plant Pathology program in Virginia, 1923 to 1957. Since early Extension publications are not always available, Fenne's annual summaries will be quoted. "For 1924, one of the most important tomato projects was the control of sleepy disease (Fusarium wilt). A certified potato seed production program was started in the mountain areas of Southwest Virginia. Sixteen thousand pounds of salt were used in the eradication of barberry bushes." (S. B. Fenne. 1957. The plant pathology extension program in Virginia from 1923 to 1957. Unnumbered mimeo.) Fenne was quoting from Godkin's annual report.
Godkin published two notes on "Wheat and barley seed treatment in Virginia" (Extension Pathologist 2:104, 144. 1924). "I think that I have personally supervised hot-water treatment of about 200 bushels of wheat and 100 bushels of barley, the work being done in Warren, Augusta, Botetourt, and Appomattox Counties. We could have done a great deal more from our office here if we had had additional time and assistance." Photographs accompanying this article were not printed but they showed how streams were used for presoaking the grain.
In The Southern Planter column "Work for the Month", the item "Treat wheat seed for smut" urged growers to use formaldehyde or copper sulphate-lime liquid treatment; it did not mention copper carbonate dust which was replacing the others in 1924 [85(19):4.]. No reference was made to Godkin's work. In news from V.P.I., Godkin was cited as having urged tomato growers to dust their seed beds with copper-lime dust plus an insecticide to control diseases and flea beetles [85(11):2.].
The 28th annual convention of the Virginia State Horticultural Society was held in late January 1924 rather than early December 1923, the usual time. A report on "Cedar rust control" was presented by W. S. Campfield of Staunton. He began with, "The Cedar Cutting Project which was undertaken and completed in Augusta County during the winter of 1922 and 1923 is said to have been the largest, most thorough and least expensive piece of cedar eradication accomplished in the State." Campfield, as Secretary of the Augusta County Fruit Growers Association, handled details of the project. As he outlined the project, there were payrolls, contracts, and warrants against the County Treasurer for payments to cover the payrolls and reimbursements to the County from a levy laid against the fruit acreage. Mr. C. R. Willey, Assistant State Entomologist handled the contested cases. Most difficulties were encountered for cutting cedars from church yards, cemetary lots, and private yards. The cost was computed at about eight cents per acre for 150,000 acres or about $12,500. The 1923 apple production was increased in value by $250,000. The growers were assessed at the rate of $1 per acre per year until the County had been fully reimbursed. Growers received many times that from increased apple production (Va. Fruit 12(2):33-38, 1924.).
Schneiderhan spoke to the Society on "Research on fruit in 1923" [Va. Fruit 12(2):125-136, 1924]. He carefully outlined the steps that orchardist must take to reduce the size of cull piles. Scab accounted for 31% of the culls in 1922, but only 2.3% in 1923. It was dry early in 1923 and worms caused more damage than fungi. In his harangue to growers to produce fewer culls, his ability as a humorist prevailed. "If you apple growers are aiming to become cull raisers it might be advisable to organize a new cooperative association and name it The Amalgamated Order of Modern Moonshiners. That is the only outlet for profitable cull raising. But the records show that eventually, sixty per cent of all moonshiners are apprehended and that forty per cent go to jail so please take my advice and raise more barreled apples and thus eliminate the danger of going broke or to jail." Schneiderhan introduced to peach growers the dry-mix (of sulphur and lime). At a ratio of 8-4-8, sulphur, hydrated lime, and calcium caseinate, the amount of mix required for the whole season could be prepared. It was found in 1923 to be equal to or superior to lime-sulphur for control of peach scab and brownrot. It was easier to prepare than lime-sulphur and had better sticking and spreading qualities.
Judging from the outline of his talk to the Society, Schneiderhan was a very persuasive speaker, and growers were going to heed his advice. He published his first bulletin based on his research at Winchester in March 1924. No doubt, much of what was said at the Horticulture Society meeting had been based on the work, "Apple Scab and its Control in Virginia" (F. J. Schneiderhan and F. D. Fromme, Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 236). This was the only publication co-authored by Fromme with a plant pathologist on which Fromme was the junior author while he was Department Head. The bulletin is based on Schneiderhan's work in 1922 and 1923. The authors state that scab infections accounted for one-third of the culled apples in 1922. They described the symptoms, effects, cycle, methods of detecting ascospore discharges, frequency of discharges, correlation between date of ascospore discharge and appearance of symptoms, the effect of omitting one or more of the sprays from the spray schedule and the causes of culling. There were 15 categories of culls; scab ranked first in 1922 but eleventh (due to drought) in 1923. The importance of moisture in bringing about infection early in the season was demonstrated. Due to the variety of causes of culling, they concluded that a full schedule of seven sprays was necessary to produce the highest percentage of blemish-free fruit. The economics of spraying was not considered.
Fromme, having been well educated in uredinology (the study of rust fungi), discovered that cowpea rust was different from bean rust and published his findings in, "The rust of cowpeas" (Phytopathology 14:67-79). After a careful review of the literature and a comprehensive study of its morphology and host range, Fromme assigned the fungus to Uromyces vignae Barclay.
Wingard, while working with Fromme on tomato disease control, found that a bacterial rot frequently destroyed ripe fruit. Bacterial rot was particularly destructive to fruit in the experiments where sprays were applied for Septoria leaf blight control. Wingard studied the disease (S. A. Wingard. 1924. Bacterial soft rot of tomato. Phytopathology 14:451-459), and found all varieties tested were susceptible, green fruits were more susceptible than ripe ones, the bacterium entered through cracks and punctures, and its prevalence could be reduced by soap-Bordeaux sprays. A. B. Massey studied the cultural characteristics of the organisms and assigned it to Bacillus aroideae Townsend (A. B. Massey. 1924. A study of Bacillus aroideae Townsend, the cause of a soft rot of tomatoes and B. carotovorus Jones. Phytopathology 14:460-477.). This was the only research article published by Massey at V.P.I. before he became full-time teacher.
An account of the nematode disease of cereals was published by R. W. Leukel, Assistant Plant Pathologist, U.S.D.A. Much of his experimental field work was conducted at the Arlington Experimental Farm, Rosslyn, Virginia, presently the site of the Pentagon Building. He also did some work at Woodstock, Shenandoah Co., and Morrisville, Fauquier Co. By the time he prepared the paper, the gall nematode had been found in 53 Virginia Cos. (Leukel, R. W. 1924. Investigations on the nematode disease of cereals caused by Tylenchus tritici. Jour. Agri. Res. 27:925-956 + 5 pls.).
Fromme made numerous reports on disease incidence in The Plant Disease Reporter vol. 8. He continued to highlight cedar rust damage in the absence of cedar eradication, especially in Albemarle and Shenandoah Cos. (P. 35, 132.); said apple-scab-induced losses were heavy because rains interfered with spraying in May (p. 38, 131); and reported severe cotton anthracnose in Brunswick and Nansemond Cos. (p. 57, 113). Flippo Gravatt, U.S.D.A., reported severe sycamore blight (Gnomonia veneta) in Roanoke, Staunton, Charlottesville and Winchester (p. 14). In addition, tomato late blight, apple bitter rot, and blotch were locally severe (p. 35, 117, 133).
During the interim year between his two sessions at Columbia University, S. A. Wingard prepared two articles for The Southern Planter, "Two important diseases of cotton" [85(15):2], and "Bird Eye beans in Southwest Virginia" [85(17):6]. In the former, Wingard described sore-shin whose causal fungus, Rhizoctonia sp., incited damping-off of seedlings and a stem canker of older plants. He offered no control measures for sore-shin. He also described anthracnose (boll rot, boll spot) and encouraged the use of disease-free seed and two years between crops of cotton. Disease-free seed was obtained only from fields not displaying symptoms of anthracnose or by storing cotton seed for three years. The anthracnose fungus would die and the seed would remain viable. In an item "Cowpea and soybean wilt", S. "C." Wingard was cited wherein Fusarium wilt of soybean and cowpea could be controlled by very long rotations, in which these crops occurred once in four or five years, or by growing resistant 'Iron' or 'Brabham' cowpeas and 'Black Eyebrow' or 'Brown' soybeans.
The Crop Pest Law regarding cedar eradication was amended in 1924 to enable growers or the State Entomologist to enter properties and destroy seedling or regrowth cedars without being contested in court [Quarterly Bul. Va. State Crop Pest Comm. 6(2): pages not numbered.]. The staff of the Crop Pest Commission undertook a study of the effect of cedar rust on 'York Imperial' apples [W. J. Schoene, C. R. Willey, and L. R. Cagle. 1924. Cedar spots and fruit losses. Ibid. 6(4):1-8.]. One or two spots per leaf allowed fruit to mature but at a reduced weight. Three or more caused significant yield reduction and 8 to 10 spots caused serious reductions and defoliation. (It was noted in a previous study that defoliation retards the growth of trees). Trees previously injured by rust produced fair crops if cedars were removed.
Fromme presided over the 16th annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society. He is mentioned only twice in the minutes:
"The Society was represented through its president, Dr. F. D. Fromme, at an international meeting, the first Pan-Pacific Food Conservation Conference, held in Hawaii during the first half of August (Rept. of 16th Ann. Meeting, A.P.S., Rept. of the Advisory Board. Phytopathology 15:313. Recall there was no air service to Hawaii, only surface transportation).
It was also noted in the Advisory Board Report Special Research and Investigational Projects that "The Arthur rust project ... has been carried on during the past eighteen months and ... seven of the proposed eleven chapters have been written ... Dr. F. D. Fromme spent the month of January on this work" (Ibid p. 314). (Note: This effort led to the book, J. C. Arthur in collaboration with F. D. Kern, C. R. Orton, F. D. Fromme, H. S. Jackson, E. B. Mains, G. R. Bisby. 1929. The Plant Rusts. John Wiley & Sons, N.Y. 446 pp.).
In an action of the A.P.S. Council, E. C. Stakman and F. J. Schneiderhan were appointed to take charge of the preparation of a report of the Washington meeting. The significance of these appointments is not understood. It appears that the appointees were being asked to serve in behalf of or in lieu of the Secretary, R. J. Haskell. Regardless, this was Schneiderhan's initiation into affairs of the Society.
As immediate past president, Fromme remained as a member of the Council for 1925. This is not recorded in the minutes but appears on the title page of Phytopathology (vol. 15:iii). Usually in minutes of meetings, the president or chairman, who ever presides is noted by the secretary. It was not so noted.
The Department of Plant Pathology became the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology probably at the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, 1925. This was precipitated by the retirement of Dr. E. A. Smyth, Jr., Professor of Biology and Head of the Department of Biology. The Biology Department was discontinued; the staff of the new department included:
Professor and Head, F. D. Fromme; Associate Professor H. S. Stahl, instruction, plant physiology and botany; A. B. Massey, instruction, bacteriology and botany; S. A. Wingard, research; Assistant Professors F. J. Schneiderhan, research, Winchester; James Godkin, extension; Instructor, R. H. Hurt, research, Crozet; and Assistant (not Asst. Prof.), C. N. Priode, research (Phytopathology 15:809. 1925).
Carl N. Priode was appointed Assistant in Plant Pathology in the Experiment Station on June 6; he had just earned a B.S. degree in Agronomy at V.P.I. Wingard had returned from an educational leave, having earned the Ph.D. degree at Columbia University in June; he and Priode would work with Fromme on the nature of the agent causing tobacco ringspot. The addition of Stahl to the faculty signaled the beginning of plant physiology as a discipline in the department. Stahl had conducted corn disease surveys for the U.S.D.A. Plant Disease Survey several years earlier while he was in Biology.
Research emphasis at Blacksburg in 1925 was on tobacco ringspot, apple black root rot, bean rust, and cereal smuts; three major publications were issued. Wingard published his Ph.D. dissertation, "Studies on the pathogenicity, morphology, and cytology of Nematospora phaseoli" (Bul. Torrey Bot. Club 52:249-290, 1925). Emphasis was on the life cycle, particularly ascosporogenesis and nuclear cytology of the yeast. Although yeast infection of lima bean was clearly associated with stink bug (Nezara viridula) punctures, Wingard could never isolate Nematospora from the insect.
Massey published "Antagonism of the walnuts (Juglans nigra L. and J. cinerea L.) in certain plant associations" (Phytopathology 15:773-784, 1925), in which he reviewed toxic effects on tomato, potato, and apple. Massey showed that alfalfa plants were killed wherever walnut roots extended into the alfalfa field, that tomato plants were killed out to the limit of walnut tree roots, and that in water culture, walnut root bark placed in the solution was toxic to tomato plants. He concluded, "It is likely that juglone, or some similar substance, is the toxic constituent of walnut."
Schneiderhan and Hurt collaborated to produce "The Dry-mix Spray for Peaches" (F. J. Schneiderhan and R. H. Hurt. 1925. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 239). They discussed the disadvantages of self-boiled lime-sulphur, the standard peach summer fungicide since 1908. It had to be prepared immediately before it was to be used; it deteriorated if stored; it could not be standardized because lime was not a standard chemical; the temperature of water used in slaking, the method and time of adding sulphur, the period of boiling and time of cooling all had to be carefully managed. To avoid these problems, a dry mixture of sulphur, lime and calcium caseinate was conceived and tested first by Farley at the New Jersey Experiment Station, and later in Ohio and Illinois. Experiments were made in Virginia at Crozet and Winchester in 1923 and 1924 and in commerical orchards in 1924 near Crozet. The dry mix contained 100 lbs of fine dusting sulphur, 50 lbs of hydrated lime, and 6 1/4 lbs of calcium caseinate. The ingredients had to be thoroughly mixed; a spray was prepared by adding 32 lbs of the mix to 200 gallons of water. The product was very satisfactory. The mix could be used beginning with spray no. 4 in the peach spray calendar (about one month after petal fall).
Godkin published a note in The Southern Planter "Cereal smuts and their prevention" [86(17):4-5, Sept. 1925.]. He described his surveys of wheat fields having heads with up to 14% loose smut and barley with either or both loose and covered smut up to 5%. For these he recommended hot water seed treatment as follows: Soak seed in bags 4 to 6 hours, immerse bags for 1 minute in water at 120°F, for wheat treat at 129°F (124-129°) for 13 minutes, spread treated seeds to cool and dry. The formaldehyde treatment was recommended for oat smuts.
Many releases to the press were funneled through E. R. Price, the Agricultural Extension Service Editor at V.P.I. They invariably started with "X says". In this manner, Fromme was cited for the item, "Get rid of stinking smut" [Sou. Planter 86(19):21, Oct. 1, 1925.]. Since Godkin did not address the stinking smut (bunt) problem, Fromme thought it wise to do so especially since the treatment was simple and was "dry". He touted copper carbonate and pointed out that because millers recognized that receiving bunt-free wheat was a boon to their business, they supplied the chemical and treated seed free of cost. Loose smut would reduce yields but not affect the quality of wheat. "Smutty wheat" (= bunted wheat) had a fishy odor that was imparted to flour. Fromme pointed out that the Extension Pathologist was devoting most of his time in the fall to control of smuts in cereals.
Price cited others who contributed to the column in The Southern Planter, "Notes from Virginia College of Agriculture." James Godkin provided "Directions for control of blackfire and wildfire disease of tobacco" [86(1):27-28, Jan. 1, 1925]; Experiment Station Director A. W. Drinkard described an effort to control fire blight. All holdover cankers should be destroyed in a community, not just in orchards [86(3):2, Feb. 1, 1925.]. Schneiderhan contributed, "Mr. Fruit Grower does your pressure gage tell the truth?" [86(3):29, 1925.]. He said different spray rigs had different pressure requirement in order to reach maximum efficiency. One gauge was 160 lbs off from actual pressure (Note 2 spellings of gauge in the article). Fromme was quoted in "Selecting tomatoes for the home garden" [86(9):2, May 1, 1925.], wherein he described persistence of the Fusarium wilt fungus in infested soil, and he recommended the resistant varieties Norton, Columbia, and Marvel. He reminded growers they would still have to apply fungicides as the varieties were susceptible to leaf diseases. Finally, Fromme described rust resistant and rust susceptible barberry bushes, the effect of susceptible species on wheat near the bushes and how to kill the bushes with salt [86(11):2, June 1, 1925.]. The annual Spray Calendar and the Virginia Spray Service were published in February [86(4):6-8, Feb. 15, 1925.]. Missing was the Inquirer's Column in which numerous plant disease problems were discussed. When W. F. Massey, A. B. Massey's father, died, that column may have died with him.
Fromme made numerous reports on crop disease situations in the Plant Disease Reporter. Most diseases reported were locally important; no generally destructive diseases occurred. Wheat stem rust was locally severe near barberry bushes but was not a factor where bushes had been eradicated (P.D.R. 9:29, 1925.). Tomato Fusarium wilt was more extensive than usual (P.D.R. 9:111), and tobacco mosaic was very prevalent in Amherst Co., 50-60% in some fields (P.D.R. 9:91). Both Fromme and McWhorter at the Truck Station reported blossom end rot of tomato to be very prevalent (P.D.R. 9:90, 112-113); apparently 1925 was a dry year.
Only one paper was presented at the 1925 annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society by V.P.I. personnel. Fromme discussed "Susceptibility of wheat varieties and selections to loose smut" (Phytopathology 16:86-87, 1926). 'Stoner' had been susceptible in fields; 'Leap' had been resistant. When Fromme inoculated heads, the subsequent crop of Stoner had 35% smutted heads, Leap had 3%. The probability of developing a resistant 'Fulcaster' strain was indicated. In addition to presenting a paper at the meeting, Fromme was Immediate Past President of A.P.S. and was a member of the Council in 1925. He was appointed to an editorial committee of three, E. C. Stakman, Fromme, and H. H. Whetzel, Chairman, to initiate the publication of important classical articles. These "Phytopathological Classics" were to be financially self-sustaining. Fromme was also Chairman of the Resolution Committee for the 1925 meeting (Phytopathology 16:658-659).
As indicated earlier, the personnel records from the Truck Station state Frank P. McWhorter was appointed Plant Pathologist on March 1. His publications suggest he actually had been hired in September or October 1924. He earned a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1917 and an M.S. degree from the University of Chicago in 1920. He served as botanist and plant pathologist in the Philippines before coming to the Truck Station. Although he issued no formal publication in 1925, he pursued his research assignment vigorously and would publish results in 1927. He monitored diseases in Tidewater and recorded some occurrences in The Plant Disease Reporter: Wire stem (Corticium vagum) damaged cabbage in cold frames in early spring, black leg (Phoma lingan) damaged the spring crop, and downy mildew (Peronospora parasitica) caused yellowing of large plants and was mistaken by growers for Fusarium yellows (P.D.R. 9:6). Peppery leafspot (Bacterium maculicola) was common on cauliflower in March but confined to coldframes at propogation time (P.D.R. 9:7).
McWhorter reported white rot of onions (Sclerotium cepivorum) on a farm west of Newport News. The disease had occurred in the same area in 1924. Apparently, the fungus had been imported on sets from Louisiana (P.D.R. 9:5, 1925).
The Virginia spray bulletin for 1925 was prepared by F. A. Motz, Horticulturist, Schneiderhan, and W. J. Schoene, Head of Entomology (Spray Information for Virginia Fruit Growers. Va. Agri. Ext. Div. Bul. 94. 1925). Spray schedules for each fruit crop were charted and discussed. These were reproduced by The Southern Planter [86(Feb. 1): ? ] and Virginia Department of Agriculture in its bulletin. In addition to instructions for preparing and applying sprays, sections on compatibilities of spray materials, don'ts for fruit growers, interesting facts for growers, and helpful suggestions for growers were added. The insufficiency of spraying was summarized by, "Approximately 40% of the total annual tree crop of Virginia apples goes into the cull pile. Good spraying should reduce this to 10%." (To put it another way, for each lousy apple, only one and one-half good apples was produced. Furthermore, it costs as much to produce the lousy apple as to produce the good ones.-C.W.R.).
Godkin emphasized control of corn root, stalk, and ear rot, through selection of healthy seed ears by ragdoll tests; only 74% of the ears tested were deemed to have plantable seeds. The fungi found were not mentioned. Tobacco and cereal seed treatment increased on farms; T. W. Wood and Sons of Richmond became the first large seed company in the region to install a treating plant and to sell copper carbonate-treated wheat. Cabbage gorwers were controlling yellows with the varieity Wisconsin All Seasons.
Godkin served on an extension committee with Charles Chupp and R. A. Jehle to summarize the Extension Conference held at the A.P.S. meeting in 1924 [The Extension Pathologist 3(1+2:2-5.]. Among the reports summarized were one by Fromme on the apple spray service, and one by Godkin on the hot-water treatment program for wheat in Virginia.
In Virginia Fruit for March 1925, the continued fight to eradicate cedar trees in apple country and the litigation resulting from the Cedar Rust Law were reviewed. The legality of the law was threatened by a suit that the plaintiff, Mr. Kelleher, owner of Mt. Airy Estate in Shenandoah Co., threatened to take to the U.S. Supreme Court [Va. Fruit 13(2):30.]. The State Entomologist, W. J. Schoene, reviewed the history of the Cedar Rust Law and recent litigation. The Governor (circa 1920-1) withheld funds from the Crop Pest Commission for attorney fees to handle contested cedar eradication. In 1922, the State Horticultural Society promised financial support for litigation. The case was being prepared for presentation before the Supreme Court, should it reach there (Ibid:40-42.). Mr. Gudebrod thereupon after a long elaboration of the Shenandoah Co. situation proposed that a committee of the Society be appointed to establish a plan for financing future litigation. A committee was later appointed (Ibid:42-47.). It reported to membership the next day. In essence, the Committee proposed that the Society help finance litigation and that amendments to the Law deemed necessary be framed and presented to the Legislature before its next session (Ibid:133-134.). Among the committee members were W. S. Alwood and future Governor, Harry F. Byrd.
Schneiderhan was called upon to speak about "Three years of results from research at Winchester". He was somewhat of a wag and the Society apparently enjoyed his wit and unconventional presentations. He passed out 58 mimeographed questions which he proposed to answer in his allotted time. He covered the fecundity of the scab fungus (8.107 billion ascospores from a 40 x 40' area), duration of discharge (up to 94 days), time on infection, influence of weather, incubation period (15-20 days), secondary infection, control with emphasis on preventing infection, timing and efficacy of sprays, reasons for success and failure, spray injury, efficiency of equipment, use of dry-mix sprays, use on peaches. There followed a lively discussion of subjects issued forth by the members (Ibid:53-70.).
Mr. R. H. Hurt, Assistant Plant Pathologist at Corzet, was called upon to discuss "Control of bitter rot." He reviewed the history of the disease, its discovery in North Carolina in 1867 and its gradual spread and increase through 1880. He discussed varietal reactions, life cycle of the fungus, sources of inoculum, importance of removing mummies and the effect of such action upon the spray schedule (deletion of one Bordeaux application). Alwood who had worked on this 25 years before added, "The point the gentleman has made is such a good one that I want to try and enforce it. The mummies hanging in the trees, I proved conclusively were the chief sources of it...We can very largely control --- not eradicate but control --- this disease" (Ibid:134-141). Fromme was called upon to discuss "Progress and results of research with fruit diseases in Virginia." He pointed out that continuous effort had been difficult until Schneiderhan was hired in 1922 and Hurt in 1923. He emphasized the problem was not of specific disease control but of the production of disease and blemish-free fruit. The research emphasized timing of sprays with stages of twig flower and fruit development and the relation of weather, to various diseases. He presented data showing the effect of mummies on bitter rot incidence. About 10 times as much rot occurred if mummies remained on trees than when they were removed. He described the spray service inaugurated in 1922 as an Extension function based on information obtained by researchers. Since its inception cull piles were reduced from 50% to 15% of the crop, still too much (Ibid:146-156).
From the foregoing abstracts, it is apparent that the Horticultural Society depended heavily upon plant pathologists in planning the annual meeting program. It has continued to be so for many years.
Two major publications were issued by the plant pathologists in 1926, both from field stations, and both as bulletins. R. H. Hurt of Crozet published, "Honeysuckle Eradication in Virginia Apple Orchards," (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 244). While not on plant pathology, it was the first publication on chemical weed control issued from the Station. Hurt acknowledged that a Bureau of Plant Industry, U.S.D.A. bulletin had recommended oils for control of honeysuckle but the applicability in orchards was not discussed. Hurt experimented with sprays, timing, and emulsions and concluded that emulsions of 25% oil sprayed about May 15 to 30, July 15, and in May of the following year would be necessary in orchards. No damage to trees was noted unless the spray was applied to tree trunks.
F. J. Schneiderhan of Winchester wrote about, "Apple Disease Studies in Northern Virginia" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 245). He described the early physical facilities as being initially "an old barrel shed without such conveniences as running water and electricity. Valuable instruments could not be kept there and very few of the growers knew where the laboratory was located." In 1923, the Frederick County Fruit Growers financed a new building and the Shenandoah Vinegar Company furnished the building site. There followed a detailed discussion of the experiments on apple scab control, epidemiology, and varietal reaction. Both for scab and cedar rust, spore discharge periods and time of apple leaf symptom expression were carefully monitored.
A simple demonstration was prepared to dispell the fallacious belief held by some growers that rust was as inherent phenomenon of apple. A small gall-bearing cedar tree and two young York apple trees were planted in a triangle, three feet on a side. One York tree was covered with fine muslin before leaves opened; on July 19, it was uncovered. No rust was found on its foliage; however, the exposed tree had extremely heavy rust and was partially defoliated. On seeing this, skeptical or unbelieving growers immediately became believers. Schneiderhan investigated spore discharge of the apple blotch fungus from twig cankers and found that the "5-weeks spray" was the most important for intercepting the spores. Pruning and a comprehensive spray schedule were required to control blotch. Bitter rot was controlled by removing mummies and spraying on schedule. "Weather injuries" and spray injuries were studied and described. The toxic effect of walnut was discussed; it was assumed that the toxin came only from living roots and removal of the walnut trees would eliminate the damage to apple trees. The scope of the bulletin indicated that Schneiderhan was meeting the needs of apple growers in Virginia exceedingly well.
Wingard published a note "Black end of apple" (Phytopathology 16:1011-1012), which was observed in Grady, Montgomery Co., Alabama on August 25, 1925, while he was on vacation at his home area. The disease was apparently physiological due to hot dry weather.
Godkin had a fairly lengthy item in The Southern Planter on "Recommendations for the prevention of wildfire and blackfire infection in tobacco plant beds" [87(6):20, May 15, 1926.]. To the usual procedures, he added that infected seedlings should be discarded. A new recommendation was that beds should be sprayed or dusted with Bordeaux mixture or copper-lime dust weekly from the time leaves reach dime-size until plants are pulled.
An interesting discussion of red clover anthracnose appeared in "Red Clover Experiments" (T. K. Wolfe and M. S. Kipps. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 252. 1926.). The authors, Agronomists, relied heavily on U.S.D.A. Farmer's Bulletin 1510 and collaboration with Wingard, Godkin, and Fromme. The Station bulletin allotted about 8 pages to the disease because it was considered a major factor in failure of red clover stands. Emphasis was on comparing clovers from nineteen different sources for their resistance to anthracnose. Seed from Tennessee, Michigan, and Ohio produced the most resistant plants.
Godkin's emphasis on tobacco and cereal disease control can be seen in several publications one of which is cited above. Fenne in his review of the extension program 1923 to 1957, states "Apparently wildfire and blackfire were disappearing from the flue-cured area ... No severe outbreaks of wildfire or blackfire came to our attention this year" (1926). Yet Fromme reported that blackfire was severe in Russell Co. on burley. The Virginia Department of Agriculture treated 383 seed lots with corrosive sublimate (HgCl2). On the other hand, work on cereal smuts must have been spurred by the statement, "Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia grain dealers and millers report a decided increase in the amount of stinking smut in the grain harvested in 1925" (The Extension Pathologist 4:19. 1926.). The estimated loss from stinking smut in Virginia was 5-6% in 1926 compared to 1% in 1923. The increase was attributed in part to the later planting dates advised for control of the Hessian fly (Ibid. 6:14-15, 1928). Lower soil temperature in the later planting period is more favorable for infection by bunt fungi.
Numerous statements were printed in The Planter Disease Reporter on disease occurrence in Virginia crops in 1926. Some merely stated diseases were observed, some that common diseases were more severe, less severe, or damaging locally; a few first-time reports appeared. Puccinia graminis poae was found on Poa compressa near barberry bushes at Blacksburg; it was previously known only from Indiana and Michigan (P.D.R. 10:49). Fusarium conglutinans callestephi was found in Norfolk on asters by McWhorter and Sclerotium rolfsii was colonizing chrysanthemums in Pittsylvania Co. on July 28; this was the first U.S. report (P.D.R. 10:87). The first published report of the occurrence of cowpea scab (Cladosporium vignae) in Virginia appeared in 1926. It was identified on specimens from Clarksville. An additional note states that it had been found at New Market in 1918 by Wingard but he had not published its occurrence (P.D.R. 10:64). Dothiorella sp. was first found in U.S. on Rosa setigera in Arlington by G. H. Martin and A. E. Jenkins, May 17 (P.D.R. 10:88). McWhorter stated that previously reported cases of potato late blight from Northampton Co. appear to be false. He had been unable to find Phytophthora on any plants considered by growers to have late blight (P.D.R. 10:71).
At the end of 1926, the American Phytopathological Society met with A.A.A.S. at Philadelphia. In joint session "G", Fromme presented a discussion of "Vigor of the host as a factor in the development of disease" (Phytopathology 17:343, 1927 = Minutes of the 18th Ann. Meeting.). Apparently, it was an invitational paper; the text was not published. Fromme was appointed to a 4-year term as A.P.S. representative to the Board of Control of Botanical Abstracts (= 1927-30) and a one-year term to the Division of Biology and Agriculture of the National Research Council (= for 1927). He was elected to a one-year term as chairman of the A.P.S. Advisory Board and associate editor on the A.P.S. committee on Public Information Service. Thus, he continued to be heavily involved in A.P.S. affairs.
In 1926, The Southern Planter published a number of items from V.P.I. that were submitted by Agricultural Extension Editor, E. R. Price. Fromme was quoted that dry lime-sulphur was not yet proven as good as liquid for fruit diseases [87(7):2, Apr. 1.]. He was also quoted that fire blight was worse than usual in southern states and in- season pruning was advised only if girdling of main branches was threatened. He also suggested the removal of pears if apples were the main crop [87(13):2, July 1.]. Godkin's cereal smut surveys were cited wherein it was shown how seed treatment benefitted cereal growers (Ibid), and there were testimonials to that effect by several County Agents. Some indicated millers encouraged treatment for bunt control by furnishing treating equipment and even copper carbonate [87(23):9, Dec. 1.]. The fruit spray calendars originating from V.P.I. were reproduced early in the year [87(3):4-5, Feb. 1.].
The Crop Pest Commission was abolished by action of the General Assembly effective June 30, 1926. At that time, W. J. Schoene relinquished his duties as State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist and became full-time Head of the Entomology Department at V.P.I. Effective July 1, his former duties were transferred to the Commissioner and Board of Agriculture and Immigration, more specifically to the Division of Plant Industry. The head of the Division, G. T. French, was then titled Chief Botanist and State Entomologist. The Division thereafter regulated nurserymen, and inspected nursery stock and other plant propagation materials in order to prevent the introduction and dissemination of plant pests. The work was divided into two classes, inspection and law enforcement. "Under law enforcement comes quarantines and their enforcement, and the enforcement of rules and regulations for the eradication and control of dangerous insect pests and diseases. Under this last falls the Cedar Rust Law" (G. T. French, Division of Plant Industry Biennial Report for the Fiscal Years 1926-1927:37-50, in Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration, Report of the Commissioner 1926-1927. Richmond, Va., 1928). As to cedar eradication, French reported that in 1926-7, much effort went toward cutting sprouts and seedlings where trees had been previously removed." As a whole, the cedar eradication work ... has been very gratifying ... several important court cases were heard with decisions rendered favorable to the cedar rust law ... Sprouting has been done over approximately 200,000 acres, ... which is a good indication that the fruit growers have been benefited by the removal of the cedars and that they aim to keep them down." (p. 47.).
"Eggplant Culture" was the subject of a Truck Station bulletin by M. M. Parker, Horticulturist. He described Phomopsis blight and rot, Verticillium wilt and Sclerotium rolfsii blight as being the major diseases in Tidewater (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 56, 1926). He acknowledged McWhorter's help in preparing the bulletin.
Both the 29th and 30th annual sessions of the Virginia State Horticultural Society were held in 1925, the former January 27-29, the latter December 8-10. The report of the December meeting was published in the March, 1926 issue. At that time, one of the Society's members, Harry F. Byrd, had become Governor.
A grower, W. H. East, gave a testimonial about the effect of cedar eradication on apple production in Augusta Co. He was skeptical when told the infection came from cedar trees. When convinced, he and others removed cedars on their land and their neighbor's at their own expense, first up to a half mile later to a mile. A factor for getting the citizenry behind the eradication, was that apple production and quality improved, income rose, the tax base increased, and county prosperity improved. East was optimistic that eradication could be accomplished [Va. Fruit 14(2):84-87, 1926.]. Schneiderhan spoke on "Cedar rust studies in 1925" (Ibid:134-140). True to form, he introduced, his talk with some interesting comments:
"Virginia ranks third in apple production in the United States, and first in the losses resulting from the cedar rust disease ... The total loss from cedar rust in Virginia is greater than all of the rest of the United States taken together. If we have been the greatest sufferers from this disease we have also made the greatest efforts to control it. In the cedar eradication, Virginians have expended more money, released more eloquent oratory, broadcasted more cussing, and have lost more good neighbors than any state in the union."
At that time a two-mile cedar-free zone was allowed by the cedar law, yet there were losses from rust. Schneiderhan took data at 10 locations where cedar trees were from 75 yards to 4 miles away. He recorded percentage of leaves with spots (= % infection) and number of spots per leaf (= intensity). At Mt. Jackson the cedars were those which were the subject of the pending law suit. There was an inverse relationship between distance and both infection and intensity. At Clearbrook the correlation was not very good; the 3-mile and 1.5-mile distances were about equal and higher than the 2.2-mile distance which produced lowest scores. From the leaves remaining on trees it was concluded that 5 spots per leaf was a tolerable number and cedars would have to be 2-miles or more from orchards.
At the Crozet station, R. H. Hurt had been experimenting with honeysuckle control and spoke on "Eradication of honeysuckle in Virginia apple orchards." [Va. Fruit 14(2):140-145, 1926.]. Hurt described experiments with various strength oil emulsions. A 25% oil emulsion was found to be the most economical effective strength. It required two seasons to eradicate the weed with sprays of this strength. Hurt had published this work in a station bulletin (R. H. Hurt. 1926. Honeysuckle Eradication in Virginia Apple Orchards, Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 244). So far as I can ascertain, this was the first chemical weed research conducted in Virginia.
"The apple root-stock problem "was Fromme's topic for discussion (Ibid:152-155). Sexual and asexual root stock propagation were discussed. The disease problems affected by the choice of root stock were collar rot, root rot, and bitter pit. Uniform root stocks though desirable because of stock-scion relationships has the pitfall of producing uniform susceptibility to disease. Seedling root stock would be more easily managed by nurserymen, but in Virginia the need for root-rot resistance was essential and an extensive root system was needed to reduce the incidence of bitter pit in certain varieties.
The 31st annual session of the Virginia State Horticultural Society was held in December, 7-9, 1926 [Va. Fruit 15(2):1-200, 1927.]. The Secretary, W. S. Campfield, praised the work of the preceding secretary, W. P. Massey, and Judge F. S. Tavenner, Attorney for the State Entomologist, for their splendid efforts in obtaining rulings favorable to fruit growers in the face of well financed suits aimed at upending the legality of the Cedar Rust Law. Cedars on properties in Shenandoah Co. were the bones of contention in two court cases, one of which appeared headed for the U.S. Supreme Court (Ibid.:20).
Professor H. H. Whetzel of Cornell University was the featured speaker at the meetings; he was introduced to speak on dusting apples but his talk turned out to be the basics of fungicide utilization (Ibid.:81-90, Discussion of dusting and spraying, members questioning Whetzel:90-107). Whetzel very lucidly defined fungicide, distinguished between protectant and disinfectant (actually disinfestant), described the toxic activity of copper and sulphur fungicides, compared the effectiveness of sprays and dusts, discussed why dusts stick, pointed out the fine line between fungitoxicity and phytotoxicity and finally concluded by summarizing the attributes of a successful fungicide. Although only copper compounds and elemental sulphur were available, Whetzel's comments apply even to modern fungicides. Interesting as it was, the discussion that followed was very lively and involved friendly sparring between Whetzel and the members. He enjoyed doing this with his plant pathologist peers and was in this manner a superb entertainer-educator. The members seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed the session.
R. H. Hurt was called upon to discuss "Making oil emulsions" (Ibid.:142-144). It seems that preparing cold oil emulsions had caused some problems with growers; Hurt made two points that cleared up the problems. He told them to be sure to add the lime and casein to water first, mix thoroughly and then add the oil. He also suggested the oil be warmed on cold days better to facilitate emulsification. The growers grilled Hurt on the use of oils, but he stood his ground pointing out no problems were encountered if his formula resulting in a 2% oil emulsion was made properly.
Schneiderhan spoke next on "Recent developments in the control of fruit diseases" (Ibid.:145-157). From the beginning it seemed that Prof. Whetzel had come into an arena where the professionals were pro-spray and he had jerked the rug from under them by highly touting dusting. Apparently Schneiderhan was miffed because he felt the Society thought he was against dusting. He felt the need to state his position, that being from all the data available he would recommend what he determined to be best for Virginia growers. He concluded his rebuttal by saying "Speaking in an unprejudiced manner and holding no animus against dusting men (I like them all) I can't conscientiously recommend dust as a scab control under Virginia conditions in a heavy epidemic year." Having gotten that off his chest, Schneiderhan reverted to his prepared talk. He described the effects of black walnut trees on apple and gave a lengthy, detailed discussion of blotch or "cloud" which growers were having difficulty controlling. He emphasized that the 3-weeks, 5-weeks and 7-weeks sprays were the keys to blotch control and careful pruning to remove cankered twigs and provide an open canopy were essential.
Schneiderhan reviewed the conditions conducive to apple scald in storage. Brooks and Cooley of the U.S.D.A. had elaborated 10 points concerning the development of scald. They found that 1 1/2 lbs of shredded oiled paper scattered throughout a barrel would control scald. Schneiderhan had experimented with various oils and found oiled paper to be the solution to date.
He next discussed death of trees and what might be done to control it. Various root problems were mentioned but he admitted control was a difficult problem which had been met by little experimental success.
The annual meetings of the State Horticultural Society have thus far been a fertile source of the history of apple pathology.
There were some changes in the Department's staff in 1927. C. N. Priode resigned on January 1, to take a position with the Boyce Thompson Institute. Everett F. Davis was appointed Assistant Plant Physiologist on August 29; his appointment signaled the beginning of plant physiology research in the Experiment Station.
James Godkin was granted a leave of absence for graduate study about June 1. Sanford B. Fenne was immediately appointed Acting Extension Plant Pathologist. Fenne earned a B.S. degree from V.P.I. in June, 1927 but somehow had served as County Agent in Augusta Co., 1925-1926. Fenne served for one year at V.P.I. then became County Agent in Washington County. During his year at Blacksburg, Fenne emphasized the control of cucumber and tobacco mosaic. In his history of extension plant pathology, Fenne quoted from Godkin's 1926-7 annual report: "During the war a considerable amount of foreign wheat was brought into the U.S...., some of it was used for seed. New strains of bunt were introduced, to which our American wheat was highly susceptible... (It) became the most destructive disease of wheat in this country." Copper carbonate seed treatment became the means of controlling it and enough was used on wheat to seed 134,000 acres (in Virginia). The millers reported a great improvement in wheat flour and production was sustained. "Without help from the Plant Pathology Department it would have been impossible for Virginia farmers to continue growing wheat because of stinking smut." It was Godkin's tribute to his own efforts.
Several important research publications were authored by the departmental staff in 1927. R. H. Hurt and F. J. Schneiderhan published "New Methods of Bitter Rot Control" (Va. Agric. Expt. Sta. Bul. 254), wherein they described efforts "To find methods of control which would supplement spraying and obviate the necessity of so many applications of Bordeaux" (p. 3). They described and illustrated diseased apples and identified sources of inoculum as mummies and twigs with mummied fruits. Mummies produced inoculum for at least two years. Removal of mummies during the dormant period from trees and the orchard floor and spraying with 3-5-50 Bordeaux at five and seven-weeks successfully controlled bitter rot. These procedures had already been presented in talks to the Horticultural Society.
The most significant publication of 1927 was that by Fromme, Wingard, and Priode entitled "Ring-spot of tobacco: An infectious disease of unknown cause" (Phytopathology 17:321-328). They described and illustrated the symptoms and stated that similarly affected leaves had been illustrated in 1904 by Selby of Ohio and in 1925 by Johnson of Wisconsin. It was first observed in Virginia in 1917. Until the current paper appeared no one had suggested it was caused by a virus. Fromme et al. demonstrated the infectious nature by successfully inoculating five species and numerous varieties of Nicotiana. They noted that some plants recovered in that the new growth had no symptoms. The asymptomatic leaves were found to be infectious. No vectors could be found.
Schneiderhan published his observations on "The black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) as a cause of the death of apple trees" (Phytopathology 17:529-540). He reported evidence that some farmers had recognized the toxic effect of walnut on apple as early as 1897. He diagrammed some of the "toxic courts" of walnut and described 13 instances of toxicity toward apples. In several cases, only one side of an apple tree was affected. Sixteen walnuts caused the death of 48 apple trees and damage to 14 others. The average distance of the toxic court was 50 feet; the maximum was 80 feet. Root contact between walnut and apple was essential for damage. This was the first paper on walnut toxicity to apple although he had briefly discussed the subject in the bulletin. "Apple Disease Studies in Northern Virginia" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 245, 1926).
The "Manual of Plant Pathology" (F. D. Heald, McGraw-Hill Book Co. 891 pp., 1926) was reviewed by A. B. Massey (Phytopathology 17:341-342, 1927). The book either in the first or second (1933) edition is well known to plant pathologists. Today (1995), it stands as a compendium of phytopathological history. Massey described favorably the content of its four sections but lamented the omission of discussions on vascular wilts, "Principles of parasitism, resistance and susceptibility, inoculation, infection, dissemination, the relation of environment (soil and air temperature, humidity, and soil reaction) to infection and development of infectious diseases, the fundamental principles of control." He added that "Much of this is presented in the book in the consideration of specific diseases but not in a connected form which would be of value and help to the student and instructor." (Note: Even in the "Introduction to Plant Pathology" (1937, 1943), Heald did not heed Massey's very pertinent criticisms. The same material is missing. - C.W.R.)
F. A. Motz, Horticulturist, Schneiderhan and W. S. Hough, Entomologist, continued with the annual bulletin "Spray Information for Virginia Fruit Growers" (Va. Agri. Ext. Div. Bul. ?, 1927). Godkin published "The Control of Corn Rot Diseases by Germination Selection" (Ibid. 101, 1927). At that time, it was believed that selecting fungus-free ears would solve stalk and ear rot disease problems. This bulletin included instructions and diagrams for making a seed germinator and "rag dolls" to contain the seed. There was no mention of the target fungi.
In the 1927 Plant Disease Reporter, (vol. 11), several diseases were reported by Fromme either as new diseases or as causing heavy damage in some areas. At or near Blacksburg, wheat leaf rust was severe (p. 15), lettuce downy mildew occurred on wild and garden lettuce (p. 21), oat crown rust was moderately severe (p. 61), Gloeosporium (now Aureobasidium) caulivorum causing red clover anthracnose was severe (p. 64), Heterosporium gracile (now Cladosporium iridis) damaged iris (p. 52). Elsewhere Fromme found tobacco mosaic to be very prevalent (p. 100), yeast spot of bean occurred in Dinwiddie and King and Queen Cos. (p. 149), wheat gall nematode was damaging in Prince William and King and Queen Cos. (p. 60), Gnomonia ulmea defoliated elms near Leesburg (p. 57), and oat crown rust caused total losses in fields in Surry Co. (p. 61), and Schneiderhan reported that 2% Volck oil emulsion stopped powdery mildew on roses after it appears (p. 43).
From the Truck Station came two bulletins addressing plant diseases. Frank McWhorter issued "Control of Beet Seedling Diseases Under Greenhouse Conditions" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 58, January, 1927). The production of early beet crops required the production of seedlings in heated greenhouses or hotbeds. Seedborne Phoma betae causing blackleg and soilborne Rhizoctonia solani and Pythium spp. causing damping-off were the principle problems. McWhorter found that chloro-phenol mercury sold as "Uspulun" and "Semesan" applied in a water solution greatly increased the survival of beet seedlings. This was the first recommended use of an organic mercury compound for seed treatment in Virginia.
McWhorter published a description of "The Early-Blight Diseases of Tomato" (Va. Truck Expt. Sta. Bul. 59, April 1927). All phases from seedling blight to fruit rot and vine killing were described but no control measures were included. This was simply an attempt to educate tomato growers on the identity of early blight symptoms.
McWhorter reported on several diseases in Tidewater in the Plant Disease Reporter (vol. 11). Spinach and alfalfa downy mildews were common in the spring (pp. 19, 63); snap bean bacterial blight was common in the Norfolk area (p. 41); Amerosporium (now Aristastoma) oeconomicum caused leaf spot on cowpea in Westmoreland Co. (p. 141); the most destructive case of tomato mosaic ever seen occurred at Diamond Springs (near the Truck Station) on late tomatoes (p. 156); pepper also had mosaic there (p. 157); in two cases, Marglobe tomato was somewhat affected by Fusarium wilt on Northern Neck but was completely resistant at Williamsburg (p. 157); downy mildew was the most prevalent cucurbit disease on cucurbits (p. 158); Septoria lactucae occurred on lettuce near Richmond (p. 158); S. chrysanthemella required frequent Bordeaux sprays for control (p. 161); S. divaricata was damaging to phlox (p. 161); Coleosporium solidaginis (now C. asterum) occured on aster (Callistephus chinensis in Mathews Co. (p. 162).
Both McWhorter (Phytopathology 17:201-202) and Schneiderhan (Pl. Dis. Reptr. 11:43) reported on the use of Volck oil sprays on control of rose powdery mildew. The former reported that some rambler roses that had not bloomed for several years, bloomed profusely in 1926 after having been sprayed three times with the oil emulsion.
Fromme continued to be active in A.P.S. affairs; he was elected to the Council beginning in 1927; he was (for A.P.S.) Representative on the Board of Control of Botanical Abstracts, Representative on the Division of Biology and Agriculture of the National Research Council, Chairman of the Advisory Board of A.P.S., and Associate Editor for the A.P.S. Committee on Public Information Service. Schneiderhan began a 3-year term as Associate Editor. He also served on the ad hoc Committee on Publicity for the December 1927 meeting. It was his first involvement in A.P.S. operations. Other than he and Fromme, no plant pathologists from Virginia had served the Society (Phytopathology 17:343-352).
Several items on plant pathology appeared in The Southern Planter for 1927. Growers were advised to prune to prevent fire blight [88(1):30, 1927.]; the spray calendar from the Extension Service was reproduced [Ibid.(3):6-7]; Schneiderhan listed the causes of apple tree death in the Shenandoah-Cumberland Valley area as mouse injury, root rots, insects, shallow soil, and weather. 'Northern Spy' root stock offered the best protection against root rot [Ibid.(12):7.]; Godkin wrote a letter to the editor warning that lime wash does not control wheat bunt and urging growers to use copper carbonate [Ibid.(16):4]; the editor then referred to work by Godkin wherein he found that for wheat grown from copper carbonate treated seed, 40 fields had 0 bunt, 4 had 1%; of 66 from untreated seed, 42 had bunt [Ibid.(17):3]; in a tomato Fusarium wilt resistance demonstrations with Stone, Norton, Marglobe, and Columbia varieties; only Stone wilted [Ibid.(23):2].
Apparently, Meade Ferguson, one-time Bacteriologist in the Department, had retired as editor of The Southern Planter and T. K. Wolfe, until recently Agronomist at V.P.I., had replaced him. The magazine had a new owner. Was Ferguson retired or axed? [Ibid.(17):10]. He was a member of the V.P.I. Board of Visitors, 1921 to 1925.
At the Horticultural Society meeting on December 13-17, the Secretary reported on further litigation over the Cedar Rust Law. Although plaintiffs Daniel Kelleher and Dr. J. W. Miller continued with appeals, the law was upheld and the Kelleher case was dismissed at the U.S. Circuit Court level. The Miller case had already been placed on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge F. S. Tavenner represented the fruit growers and C. R. Willey, Associate State Entomologist provided technical support [Va. Fruit 16(1):16, Jan. 1928; Dept. Agri. & Imm. of Va. Reprt. 1926-27:47-50, 1928]. The Cedar Law was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court [Va. Fruit 16(3):Mar. 1928]. At that same meeting, Fromme gave what turned out to be his swan song as a V.P.I. plant pathologist. In the address, "Black root rot disease of apple," he summarized his 12-year study of the root rot caused by a fungus he had named Xylaria mali [Va. Fruit 16(1):86-95]. This was a review of the work that would appear in a technical bulletin in 1928. Even after 12 years, he admitted that he had not been able to find suitable control measures.
The Department of Agriculture and Immigration prepared biennial reports. For 1926-27, progress in cedar eradication was summarized. Trees and sprouts were removed on 3059 acres at a cost of $3794.53, or a little more than $1.00/acre. The program included Augusta, Clarke, Frederick, Rockingham, and Shenandoah Cos. All of these counties border West Virginia. The program had been active previously in seven other counties.
The end of the Fromme era came on June 30, 1928. Thus, Fromme participated for the last time as a V.P.I. faculty member in the A.P.S. meeting of December 28, 1927 to January 1, 1928. He presented a paper entitled "Studies of black root rot of apple" (Phytopathology 18:145. 1928), wherein for the first time he used the fungus name Xylaria mali. In essence, he summarized the bulletin, probably already at the printer, "The Black Root Rot Disease of Apple" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 34, 1928); this will be reviewed later. At the A.P.S. meeting he also was junior author of a paper presented by S. A. Wingard titled "Tobacco ringspot; a virus disease with a wide host range" (Phytopathology 18:133). They extended the host range to 19 genera in 11 plant families and reported that sap remained infectious if diluted as high as 1:10,000. Host range would be a future subject of Wingard's work.
At the banquet of the annual meeting, Fromme gave an impersonation of the ghost of Charles Darwin (Ibid., p. 464). Imagine giving a recapitulation of life on the H. M. S. Beagle, the origin of the species, and the theory of evolution all in a ghostly fashion! Fromme must have had a great sense of humor. In addition to having fun, he continued in 1928 as Councilor, Chairman of the A.P.S. Advisory Board and Representative on the Division of Biology and Agriculture of the National Research Council through 1930.
Before his departure at the end of the fiscal year, Fromme published a summary of all his work on "The Black Root Rot Disease of Apple" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Tech. Bul. 34, March 1928). He reviewed the history of Xylaria spp. on apple and pointed out that X. mali had previously been confused with X. digitata from Europe. There is a comprehensive description of X. mali and careful comparisons with 3 other North American Xylaria species. He liberally illustrated the fungus and disease symptoms, described infection and dissemination. The role of conidia and ascospores could not be determined. The best control was to use Northern Spy rootstock and not to replant apples where trees had died of black root rot.
Fromme's last Experiment Station publication was "The Control of Cereal Smuts by Seed Treatment" (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 262, June 1928). He made comparisons among all the seed treatment chemicals then available for control of the seedling infecting smuts (oat smuts, barley covered smut and wheat bunt). Formaldehyde soak was best for oats and barley covered smuts. The mercury fungicides were not yet volatile enough to kill spores on hulled grains. Copper carbonate was as effective as other compounds for control of wheat bunt. Most treatments improved germination percentages when compared to untreated checks. During these studies, he had washed bunt infested wheat seeds and found that the percentage of bunt infected heads produced from them was markedly reduced (p. 14-15). He deemed this information worthy of a report in Phytopathology. Therefore, in a note titled "The effect of washing seed on infection of wheat by stinking smut" (Phytopathology 18:711-713) he reproduced the data from bulletin 262 without reference to it. A considerable reduction in the spore load was accomplished by washing for 15 to 120 minutes. No other factor was involved; the percentage of infected heads was reduced from 6.48 to a range of 0 to 0.9.
In the June 1928 issue of Virginia Fruit [16(6):4], the announcement of Fromme's departure from V.P.I. appeared. He was to become Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of the Experiment Station at West Virginia University. The item lamented his departure from Virginia and from plant pathology. "Dr. Fromme leaves with the utmost of good will and best wishes of the fruit growers of Virginia, and may he prosper and succeed in his new field. West Virginia gains what Virginia loses." Fromme's resignation was effective June 30, 1928. However, before he left, on May 17, Wingard was promoted from Associate to Plant Pathologist and Schneiderhan was promoted from Assistant to Associate Plant Pathologist. Wingard was appointed to succeed Fromme on July 1, 1928, thus beginning a new era.
It is difficult to define sharply the research in progress as being in either the Fromme or Wingard era. Any further publications from the Department, the Truck Station or other sources in Virginia will be reviewed in the Wingard era. However, little has been said about the teaching program of Fromme's era. A summary of courses and their instructors follows.
As Professor of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology. Fromme inherited a considerable teaching load from his predecessor, Reed. For his entire tenure he taught Plant Pathology, six lecture credits per year and for 5 years taught Laboratory Plant Pathology. Afterward, A. B. Massey was responsible for Laboratory Plant Pathology. In the 1921-22 session "Lab" was increased to 3 periods a week for 9 contact hours in the winter and 2 periods, 6 hours in the spring for a total of 21 contact hours and 11 credit hours per year. For 1924-25, this was reduced to 12 hours and 10 credits per year and it remained so until Fromme left at the end of the 1927-28 term. Fromme also taught two mycology courses, 3 lectures per quarter. They were Systematic Mycology, 3 lectures per quarter, fall and winter; and Applied Mycology, 3 lectures in the spring. Fromme taught Laboratory Mycology, 6 hours of laboratory in winter and 15 each spring from 1915 through spring 1921. Thereafter a single course, Mycology, with an attendant laboratory was catalogued in fall, winter, spring for 1920- 21 through 1927 at 2-10-8, 2-20-8, 0-18-2, 0-17-3, 0-14-3, and 0-14-2! (= contact hours). A 5 credit course in Diseases of Crop Plants was offered each spring 1921 to 1924. Several courses in bacteriology were offered by the Department, taught at first by Fromme, then by T. J. Murray, 1916-18, and A. B. Massey from then on.
In 1926, the catalogues for the first time designated the Department as Botany and Plant Pathology. This was the result of the retirement of E. A. Smyth, long-time head of Biology. All botanical courses from Biology were shifted to the newly named department and H. S. Stahl was transferred into the Department from Biology to teach them. Thus, in spring of the 1926-27 session, Plant Physiology was under Fromme's direction. In addition to courses in plant pathology, mycology and bacteriology, the Department offerred Principles of Botany, General Botany, Plant Physiology, Taxonomy of Flowering Plants, and Advanced Botany.
At the beginning of the Fromme era, there were 2 plant pathologists, Fromme and Crabill, and a bacteriologist, Bruce Williams. When Fromme resigned, there were 4 other plant pathologists Hurt, Schneiderhan, Godkin, and Wingard, botanist- bacteriologist Massey, and plant physiologists Davis and Stahl. Thus, during the era the faculty had grown from 3 members to 8; a number that would be maintained through 1935. During the era, Fromme had served as director of plant pathology research in the Experiment Station, Professor of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology, member of the College Committees for Entrance Requirements, 1915-1919; Bulletin (= catalogue), 1919-1922; Physical Welfare, 1919-1922; Marks, Degrees and Honor, 1922-1928; and Library, 1926-1928. From 1926 to 1928, he served as course adviser to undergraduate majors in Biology, Pre-Medicine, and Pre-Dentistry. Thus, with his activities at V.P.I. and in A.P.S., Fromme was well equipped to become Dean of Agriculture and Director of the West Virginia Experiment Station. During his tenure at V.P.I., he had served the College, the agricultural industry, and the profession of plant pathology with distinction.
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