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A History of Plant Pathology in Virginia: The Reed Era (1908-1915)
Howard S. Reed was appointed Plant Pathologist in the Agricultural Experiment Station on September 1, 1908 and Professor of Mycology and Bacteriology in the College. He was pictured in V.P.I. Bul. I(4) and his previous history was given (p. 16). This was the true beginning of plant pathology at V.P.I. Prior to Reed's coming, W. B. Alwood had conducted most of the plant pathology research and W. A. P. Moncure and E. B. Fred had taught the first plant pathology courses. However, Alwood's efforts had been divided among entomology, horticulture, and mycology as indicated by his titles, and oenology and other fermentive studies as indicated by his later publications and activities. His student, Moncure, had succeeded him in his academic assignment and pursued the study of fermentations in a continuing effort to utilize fruits unfit for fresh markets but suitable for fermentation. Strains of yeasts were improved and made available for industrial and domestic use by Moncure; this was his greatest accomplishment. Another of Alwood's students, J. L. Phillips, had become the wearer of one of Alwood's many hats. Alwood had been designated State Entomologist in 1903 and Phillips was appointed Assistant State Entomologist and Pathologist. Upon Alwood's resignation in 1904, Phillips was appointed State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist. Most of his writings in "The Southern Planter" were published under the title, State Entomologist, even though the position empowered him to enforce laws dealing with peach yellows and diseases of nursery stock. Although Phillips' office was in Blacksburg, his position was administered by the Virginia State Board of Crop Pest Commission in Richmond.
At the time of Reed's appointment, E. B. Fred, with only a B.S. degree from V.P.I., 1907, had been teaching plant pathology and bacteriology and as a graduate student, continuing the research on nitrogen-fixing bacteria, work that had been initiated by Meade Ferguson. Fred was awarded the M.S. degree in 1908 from V.P.I. and later earned the Ph.D. degree in Germany. In 1913 he moved to the University of Wisconsin, where he became a world authority on nitrogen-fixation and the genus Rhizobium and its function as a nodulation bacterium. He had built a considerable reputation in this field while associated with V.P.I. In 1934, he became Dean of the Graduate School; in 1943 Dean of Agriculture and from 1945 to 1958 he served with distinction as President of the University of Wisconsin. In 1913, when Fred resigned, V.P.I. or more accurately, the Commonwealth of Virginia was not ready for the likes of E. B. Fred. Thus, in 1908 in association with three people at Blacksburg, Fred, Moncure, and Phillips, whose interests in plant pathology were only marginal, Dr. Reed began the work of giving meaning to plant pathology in Virginia.
Some other factors influenced Reed's potential to succeed. Agricultural Hall (now Price Hall) had recently been completed and was for at least the rest of the 20th century to be the home for plant pathology at V.P.I. The tobacco research station had been established in 1906, and the Virginia Truck Experiment Station in 1907. The former would have no pathology-related research for 30 years, whereas the latter would soon generate studies on plant diseases and indeed would soon become a center for state-federal cooperation in plant pathology. Mendelian genetics had been rediscovered in 1900, the recognition of virus diseases was well underway, many bacterial diseases had been recognized, chestnut blight and white pine blister rust had recently been introduced into North America, wilt resistant flax, cotton, watermelon, and cowpeas had been found or bred. Biffen had made the first study of inheritance of rust resistance, and the American Phytopathological Society was being organized.
Reed had studied under the tutelage of B. M. Duggar at the University of Missouri and was awarded the Ph.D. degree in 1907. He came to V.P.I. having been an Assistant in Botany at the University of Michigan, Instructor in Botany at Missouri, and a Soil Chemist with the Bureau of Soils, USDA. Under Duggar, he studied plant pathology and physiology. When the American Phytopathological Society was organized in 1908, Reed became one of the 130 charter members.
It came about as follows:
The American Phytopathological Society came into being primarily because of the vision and initiative of Cornelius L. Shear (father of our own G. Myron Shear). He proposed the organization to his colleagues working in the U.S. Department of Agriculture at Washington and on December 15, 1908, they held a preliminary meeting. Thereafter, pathologists around the country and in Canada were invited to convene at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meetings in Baltimore on December 30. At that meeting by a vote of 32 to 12, the A.P.S. was brought into existence. Pathologists from around North America were invited to become charter members; 130 persons accepted. Among those with ties to V.P.I. were two of Alwood's students, W. A. Murrill and W. M. Scott. Reed was the only V.P.I. faculty member available to join; he did. Thus, both plant pathology at V.P.I. and the A.P.S. emerged within the last 4 months of 1908. (S. A. E. McCallan, 1959. The American Phytopathological Society - The first fifty years, in Plant Pathology, Problems and Progress, 1908-1958, C. S. Holton, ed., Univ. of Wis. Press, Madison, Wis., 588 pp.)
Four months after his arrival at V.P.I., Reed had to submit an annual report of progress to Experiment Station Director S. W. Fletcher. Reed lamented that, "time has necessarily been spent organizing the work ... and formulating some policies. Regarding these policies ... an attempt is being made to place the work primarily upon a scientific as well as practical basis ... it is also intended that the work of this department shall go deep enough in solving the problems before us as to learn the principles upon which they rest."
"The diseases of cultivated plants in this State are in many respects but little known, and it is impossible to find upon record any accurate data concerning some of the fungous and bacterial diseases which annually cause losses of many thousands of dollars to the agricultural interests of the State."
"Plans are underway for collecting accurate information during the coming season and for recording it in such a way that it will be quickly and easily available for purposes of reference and study." (VAES Ann. Rept. for 1908).
In the fall of 1908, while organizing his projects for the Experiment Station, Reed was responsible for 31 contact hours of teaching:
Introductory Bacteriology, 3 hr; Laboratory Bacteriology, 6 hr; Bacteriology and Clinical Diagnosis, 15 hr; Plant Pathology, 3 hr; Systematic Mycology, 3 hr; and Journal Club, 1 hr.
Journal Club apparently was Reed's own creation and was described as follows:
The advanced students in this department meet bi-weekly to present the results of current work in Mycology and Bacteriology and other appropriate topics. Reports of research in progress are also given from time to time. Interested persons are cordially welcomed. (This statement appeared in the 1909 through 1916 V.P.I. catalogues; thereafter, Journal Club was no longer listed).
E. B. Fred taught some of these courses in 1908-09, but took leave to pursue graduate work in Germany in 1909-10; it is not clear how many hours Reed actually taught but it is clear that as department head he was expected to see that the courses were staffed. During the first year of teaching, the contact load burgeoned to a monstrous 40 hours in the winter quarter and tapered off to a mere 25 hours in spring. Six hrs. of Laboratory Plant Pathology and 3 hrs. of Applied Mycology accounted for the additional 9 hrs. in winter. (See V.P.I.. catalogue 1908-09 session).
Apparently, Reed's first publication from V.P.I. originated from an observation that apple limbs cankered by the black rot fungus sometimes blossomed in the fall (Plant World 11:256, 1908). He published nothing in 1909 but thereafter he regularly published the results of his research in Experiment Station bulletins and he wrote popular articles for The Southern Planter. Meanwhile the Department name became Bacteriology and Plant Pathology in the Experiment Station and Mycology and Bacteriology in the College, and Phillips, the State Entomologist, wrote in The Southern Planter, November 1908, that six dangerously injurious diseases were apt to be distributed on nursery stock. These were crown gall, peach yellows, peach rosette, little peach, black knot of cherry and plum, and fire blight.
Records of other diseases appeared in the Enquirers Column of The Southern Planter; viz., July 8, wheat scab was identified for a Botetourt farmer by M. A. Carleton of the USDA, with the comment that scab had been very damaging from North Carolina to Pennsylvania and west into Indiana, and a Simplicity, Va., farmer described rotting Irish potatoes which the editor "attributed to blight of several kinds all of which could be controlled with Bordeaux mixture." (Nov. 1908).
In his Annual Report for 1908, G. W. Koiner, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration wrote about the "Tobacco wilt disease" (Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1908, pp. 106-112). He described Granville wilt (= southern bacterial wilt) caused by Bacillus solanacearum and indicated the disease had occurred in some tobacco-growing counties of Virginia. His article was essentially a reprinting of the 1908 U.S.D.A. B.P.I. Bulletin 141, The Granville Wilt of Tobacco, by E. F. Smith. The disease was reported to occur in association with nematode injuries. Farmers were advised to use "disease-free land". The need for Granville wilt and nematode-resistant varieties was stressed.
In 1909, J. S. Cooley became Reed's graduate assistant; together they surveyed for plant diseases in Virginia. In the annual report for 1909, Director Fletcher listed the following projects and experiments in progress under the leadership of Reed:
- Relation of parasitic fungi and bacteria to their host plant. - A study of of modification of host plant organs caused by parasites and the role of several biochemical substances in the interaction. Subjects were cedar rust, bitter rot, and black rot of apples.
- The principles of infection of uredineous fungi. - A physiological and epidemiological study of rust fungi.
- Plant disease survey of Virginia. - A cooperative study with the Bureau of Plant Industry, U.S.D.A., to determine the prevalence of diseases of economic plants in Virginia.
- Field experiments upon plant diseases. - An effort to control certain plant diseases by experimenting in areas where problems existed. The list included spinach leaf spot or mildew (the work being conducted at the Virginia Truck Experiment Station which had no resident pathologist), cabbage club root (on farms at Rural Retreat, Wythe Co.), tomato blight (primarily Phytophthora infestans), apple leaf diseases (spraying experiments at Harrisonburg in Rockingham Co. and Fontella in Bedford Co., and peach yellows (work in cooperation with the State Crop Pest Commission which funded the work).
From the foregoing list, it can be seen that Reed had initiated some tough basic research while also seeking to aid the agricultural industry.
Some publications related to Virginia plant diseases appeared in various places; two were issued by the Virginia State Board of Crop Pest Commission from the State Entomologist: Circular 4 titled "Yellows and Some Other Important Diseases of Peach" and Cir. 5 "Peach Yellows as it Affects Nurserymen". The "other important diseases" were peach leaf curl and brown rot.
In 1909, when J. S. Cooley became Reed's graduate student, the plant disease survey was undertaken in earnest. The stated purpose was "to collect information on the extent of fungus diseases and the resulting injury to crops". The procedure was to send to 900 selected addresses a form listing 43 diseases on 18 crops for which information was desired with encouragement to send voucher specimens and to submit samples and inquiries about any observed disease. It is not known to the current writers whether all of these diseases had been previously recognized in the State or whether some were suspected as being present but had not actually been reported. Among those listed for which we had no previous notations were cowpea leaf spot, peanut leaf spot, tobacco root rot and frenching. The latter was sent out in 1909 and 1910 and many satisfactory replies were received. The results were reported in the Annual Report of the Agricultural Experiment Station for 1909 and 1910, published in 1911. We will summarize the results later.
Reed did not avail himself to The Southern Planter in 1909 as a means of issuing timely statements on plant diseases. This would have given him early recognition among agricultural leaders. However, several articles were published therein by knowledgeable persons. Phillips provided informative "Notes on spraying and spraying ingredients" (Mar. 1909, p. 233). He stressed the care to be taken to avoid spray damage with Bordeaux mixture at full strength. He described boiled and self-boiled lime sulphur and their uses for brown rot. He appended a summary of pear fire blight control wherein he addressed not sprays but soil amendments that would help to ameliorate fire blight. He stressed that one must avoid nitrogenous fertilizers but heavy applications of phosphorus and potash would benefit. Leguminous cover crops were to be avoided.
In an adjoining article, "Inspection for peach yellows and San Jose scab" (Sou. Planter 1909:233-234), Phillips stressed the importance of frequent orchard inspection, recognition and prompt destruction of trees suspected to have yellows. As a consequence, tree losses could be reduced to 1 in 1,000 or less. By this method, Albemarle Co. in 1908 had reduced tree losses to less than 10 in 1,000. In the August 1909 issue (Sou. Planter, 1909, p. 760.), Phillips reviewed the "Progress in control of peach yellows" in Rockingham Co. where the incidence of yellows was reduced from over 20% prior to 1908 to 14% in 1908, and 4% in 1909. In the September issue (Sou. Planter, 1909, p. 846), Phillips in a letter titled "Control of peach yellows in the nursery", advised nurserymen how to obtain yellows-free pits for seedlings and thereby eliminate pits as a source of yellows.
In October 1909, the editors of The Southern Planter published a note on "Preventive for wheat smut", (Sou. Planter, 1909, p. 938). "Add one pint of formalin (40% formaldehyde) to 30 gallons of water, soak seeds for 40 minutes and spread them to dry." (Note: This would eliminate stinking smut or bunt but not loose smut.)
The annual spray calendar appeared in the March 1909 issue (Sou. Planter, p. 232). There were no significant changes.
In the May1909 issue (Sou. Planter, 1909, pp. 477-479), C. T. Adams, a senior at V.P.I. majoring in Horticulture, published a comprehensive review of "Fungus diseases of the Irish, or round potato." However, it also included fungous diseases of the tomato. This publication was probably a thesis presented to the Horticulture faculty as a requirement for the B.S. degree. For potato he described early blight (Alternaria solanum), potato rot (Phytophthora infestans), scab (Oospora scabies), brown rot (Bacillus solanacearum), and leaf curl (Macrosporium solani). For tomato, he described leaf rust (Cladosporium fulvum), damping off (Pythium de baryanum), wilt or sleeping disease (Fusarium lycopersici), black rot (Macrosporium tomato), bacterial disease (as in potato, B. solanacearum), and point rot (for which he described blossom- end rot). He ended with recipes for preparation of 5-5-50 Bordeaux mixture which he had prescribed for all potato and tomato foliage diseases, and potassium sulphide solution which he recommended for control of tomato black rot.
Other sources of publications relating to Virginia's plant diseases may be noted. The Virginia Department of Agriculture (VDA) published in 1909 an article by W. M. Scott, a former student of Alwood, who now worked as a fruit pathologist for the USDA in Washington, D.C. He contributed to the Virginia Department of Agriculture & Immigration Annual Report for 1909 (pp. 126-133) an article, "Spraying for the control of peach brown rot and scab." He described the preparation of self-boiled lime-sulfur and experiments showing that lime-sulfur treatments combined with lead arsenate doubled yields of peaches. With lime-sulfur, there was no foliage damage as with Bordeaux mixture.
M. W. Waite's address to the Virginia State Horticulture Society, "Russeting of apples by spray", was reprinted (Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1909:83-90). He noted certain apple varieties were more prone to russet when sprayed with Bordeaux mixture. On them, he suggested growers use weak Bordeaux or switch to lime-sulfur until fruit exceeded one inch diameter. (Originally printed in Rept. 13th Ann. Session Va. State Hort. Society for 1908, Pub. 1909:142-156).
The Enquirers Column in various issues of The Southern Planter for 1909 had numerous questions about plant diseases. The answers indicate in some cases the editors should have sought expert advice:
Feb. - Accomack Co. farmer had both tomatoes and potatoes dying soon after planting. Ans. - Southern bacterial wilt of tomato and Irish potato. Maybe early blight of potato. Spray with Bordeaux (wouldn't work for bacterial wilt).
Feb. - Augusta Co. - Diseased cherries. Ans. - Black knot; prune it out.
Mar. - Fauquier Co. - Can you replant where yellowed peach trees have been removed? Ans. - No, not for 2 years (Pathologists did not yet know yellows was spread by insects).
Mar. - Prince William Co. - Give the formula for treating oats to control smut. Ans. - Soak seeds for 2 hr. in formaldehyde solution, 1 lb. to 50 gal. of water or in hot water at 133oF for 5-10 min.
June - Sussex Co. - Asks about planting cedar trees near orchards. Ans. - Do not plant cedars near orchards. Editor then describes an apple leaf blight (rust) caused by a fungus that comes from cedar balls.
July - Patrick Co. - Describes 5% smut in Fulcaster wheat and asks for a remedy. Ans. - Soak seed in formalin solution (as in Mar. above) or hot water, 132-135oF for 15 min. (The formalin treatment would control bunt but not loose smut which the farmer probably saw).
July - James City Co. - How to control mildew on roses. Ans. - Dust with sulphur.
Aug. - Louisa Co. - How to control oats smut. Ans. - See March issue (above).
The Enquirers Column gives some clues as to the prevalent plant diseases of the era. It is strange that tobacco was rarely a topic in the column, despite its importance to the economy.
The Virginia Truck Experiment Station published Bulletin no. 1, "The control of malnutrition diseases," by L. L. Harter in 1909. On a number of farms, soils formerly producing poor truck crops produced lush crops after they were limed. At low pH, several elements were rendered insoluble; they were made soluble and available at near neutrality. The bulletin was reprinted in the Ann. Rept. Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. 1909:105-118. In Bulletin no. 3, 1909, T. C. Johnson, Director wrote about "Some seed potato questions." In comments on late blight and blackleg, he blamed seed-borne inoculum for outbreaks, which could be avoided by securing "disease-free seed."
Harvey L. Price, V.P.I. Horticulturist published in 1909 shirt-pocket-sized Circular no. 7, "Fighting the Insects and Diseases of Orchard, Field and Garden Crops". Circular implies something brief, but this was a 148 page booklet measuring 3 1/2 x 6" containing much of the practical information about plant diseases available at the time. There were sections on diseases and insects of pomes, drupes, grape, Ribes spp., Rubus spp., strawberry, most vegetables, grains, tobacco, roses, sprayers, pumps, and pesticides. It contained many illustrations. Among diseases not previously encountered in Virginia literature were cereal black stem rust (no mention of barberry bushes in the State), ergot of rye (mention of ergotism in farm animals but not in man), tobacco calico (probably mosaic) which was said to be spread by contact. This appears to have been a most useful publication; it certainly was the most comprehensive.
Dr. J. B. Emerson was invited to speak to the Horticulture Society on "Chestnut culture" (Rept. 13 the Ann. Session, Va. State Hort. Soc. for 1908:76-89 pub. 1909). He intended to expound on methods of increasing profits from marketing the nuts of chestnut but he decided that because of the probable doom of chestnut trees by the bark disease, that growers would waste their time developing chestnut groves. Instead, he reviewed a communication from Perley Spaulding, USDA, B.P.I., Pathologist, who worked on tree diseases, "The bark disease of the chestnut". Spaulding described the disease and how measures to stop its advance had failed. He stated that there had been a report of the disease as far south as South Western Virginia. Society President G. E. Murrell, who lived in Fontella, Bedford Co. vowed that an agent of the USDA found the disease in a chestnut grove near Lynchburg (could have been Campbell, Bedford or Amherst Co.; we think it was Bedford).
Other events significant to plant pathology occurred in 1909: The American Phytopathological Society held its first annual meeting in December at Boston, and Mycologia volume 1 was published; a V.P.I. graduate, one of Alwood's students, W. A. Murrill, was editor. Benjamin M. Dugger published "Fungous Diseases of Plants with Chapters on Physiology, Culture Methods, and Technique." It would be known by the first four words of the title. This was the first American textbook on plant pathology. Dugger had been Reed's advisor for his Ph.D. program so it was quite appropriate that it became the text for V.P.I. plant pathology courses. None of the publications issued in the Alwood era were cited by Dugger.
In 1910, Reed and Cooley continued their survey of plant diseases in Virginia and their investigation of a spinach disease, Reed published four papers based apparently on research carried out before he came to V.P.I. These were, "An interesting Marasmius fairy ring" (Plant World 11:256); "The fungus Diplodia as a possible factor in the aetiology of pellagra" (N. Y. Med. J. 91:164); "The effects of certain chemical agents upon the transpiration and growth of wheat seedlings" (Bot. Gazette 49:81); and "A note on two species of the genus Calostoma" = Mitremyces, Lycoperdaceae, the puff balls (Plant World 13:October 1912 issue).
Reed published two articles in The Southern Planter for July 1910. The first, in letter form, addressed "Blackleg, a disease of the Irish potato" (Sou. Planter 71:740- 741). He described the disease briefly and wrote that there were traces of it in some Tidewater counties in 1908 and 1909. A grower from Driver, Nansemond Co. reported that the disease "only occurred in fields planted with Northern-grown seed. Adjoining fields planted with seed from Southwest Virginia have not shown any indications of blackleg." Reed cited bulletin 174 of the Maine Experiment Station for the following control measures:
- Select seed from fields where the disease has not appeared.
- Discard all wounded, cracked and decayed seed.
- Disinfect the seed tubers with formaldehyde.
Reed concluded that seed from Southwest Virginia should be suitable for planting in trucking regions. It was not known at the time that the seed corn maggot transmitted the bacteria causing blackleg.
In an article titled, "How to control the "fire blight", and subtitled "Cause and treatment of a disease that is devastating the fruit trees of Virginia" (Sou. Planter 71:763-765), Reed admits that "no remedial measures are entirely successful, much can be done to prevent the spread of the disease", and he cites an eleven point program to retard the progress of the disease; the program is primarily for pears. It stressed pruning frequently, keeping the orchard in sod, using high potash-phosphate fertilizers no nitrogen, growing Kieffer and Seckel varieties, and that spraying is of no value, contrary to some previous claims.
Phillips continued to remind growers to remove yellowed peach trees and to report to inspectors such trees on neighboring property. Lyman Carrier, V.P.I. Agronomist, contributed an item on "Dodder" in which he described the appearance, parasitism, and how the plant is disseminated. He illustrated four species of dodder seeds in comparison to clover and alfalfa. He described eradication by mowing and burning infestations and suggested growing non-host crops such as corn and potato for 2 years (Sou. Planter 71:127-128, 1910). This article was also included in the Virginia Department of Agriculture Report for 1910 (p. 37).
The annual spray calendar appeared in the March issue (as usual) and there was a discussion of procedures and materials provided. Self-boiled lime-sulphur was a relatively new innovation attributed to W. M. Scott about 1908; therefore, directions on how to prepare it were included for the first time (Sou. Planter 71:March ).
Charles H. Crabill, while a junior at V.P.I., wrote a two-part letter to The Southern Planter entitled "Some apple and pear diseases and how to control them" (Sou. Planter 71:643-644, 741-742). It was a very comprehensive review of apple bitter rot, scab, black rot, cedar rust, blotch, crown gall, hairy root, sooty blotch or fly speck and pink rot and pear scab, fire blight, and Septoria leaf spot. The scientific names, symptoms, effect of weather, manner of dissemination, description of inoculum, and control measures for each were included. Perhaps this publication caught Reed's attention, or perhaps Reed advised Crabill during its preparation, but whatever the circumstances, Crabill became Reed's graduate student after he was awarded the B.S. with highest honors in 1911. He was also named Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station.
In the Enquirers Column for 1910, the following questions about plant diseases were published:
July - Brunswick Co. - How to control smut in wheat. Ans. - Soak for 40 min. in formalin 1 pt. in 20 gal. of water. (Smut must have meant bunt to the editor. Even though not as conspicuous in the field as loose smut, it was very apparent in threshed grain.)
Aug. - Source not reported - A complaint about Irish potato blackleg drew advice to plant seed potatoes from blackleg-free sources.
- Rappahannock Co. - Cabbage when half grown, dries up, yellows, drop leaves; plants have poor roots. Editor suggests black rot or club root (black rot more plausible).
Sept. - James City Co. - Grapes rotted before ripening. Ans. - Cause is black rot; spray with Bordeaux mixture, clean up the bark and prune.
- Accomack Co. - Wheat causes "land specks" on Irish potatoes? Ans. - Blight, spray with Bordeaux mixture. (Was probably black scurf, Rhizoctonia; need for extension plant pathologist clearly demonstrated.)
Other events of significance in 1910 were the passage of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. It probably had no impact upon work in progress in Virginia but a talk by W. M. Scott certainly did. Scott, V.P.I. '96, Horticulture, had become a fruit pathologist in the Bureau of Plant Industry. He worked with Virginia orchardists to evaluate fruit sprays. He contributed to the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station the text for bulletin 188 (1910) "The Use of Lime- Sulphure Sprays in the Summer Spraying of Virginia-Apple Orchards". He had given a talk to the Virginia State Horticulture Society at their 14th annual meeting, Winchester January 5th 1910, entitled, "The substitution of lime-sulphur preparations for Bordeaux mixture in spraying Virginia apple orchards" (Rept. Va. State Hort. Soc. for 1910, pp. 71-82). No doubt the speech was a paraphrasing of bulletin 188. Scott began by saying, "Spraying is the one operation above every other orchard practice which determines the quality of the fruit produced. It, therefore, behooves us to give this subject the most careful consideration". And so it is even today.
Scott cited the various diseases of different apple varieties and which varieties were most subject to Bordeaux injury. He described experiments conducted at Crozet, Fishersville, and Mt. Jackson. He concluded that lime-sulphur "is destined to largely take the place of Bordeaux mixture in spraying varieties of apples subject to serious injury from application of the latter."
At the 14th annual session of the Virginia State Horticulture Society, J. L. Phillips presented a report of the State Entomologist in which he dwelt upon the control of crown gall and peach yellows in nurseries. There were numerous questions from the members to which Phillips gave explicit answers. He emphasized for peach yellows that when growers have a high incidence of yellows in the first three years of a new orchard, there was a serious problem in the nursery from which the trees were purchased.
The discussion highlighted the fact the yellows was transmitted by peach propagation methods but did not explain some outbreaks in trees having come from apparently healthy nursery stock. An explanation would not be disclosed until 1933 when L. O. Kunkel would publish a paper on "Insect transmission of peach yellows" (Contr. Boyce Thompson Inst. 5:19-28, 1933), in which he reported that the plum leaf hopper, Macropsis trimaculata, was the vector. In a follow-up discussion, there was an indication by the growers that detection of yellows in orchards was not sufficiently supported by the State, and by Phillips that if growers would inspect their own orchards, dependence on the State would be a lessening necessity.
In June 1910, Phillips resigned the position of State Entomologist to work at the Piedmont Orchard Company, Linden, Warren Co. He had done an excellent job of controlling crown gall and peach yellows through nursery and orchard inspection and by working tirelessly with the State Horticultural Society. He continually impressed members to monitor and destroy diseased trees with early symptoms. Following his advice kept them in business. W. J. Price, Assistant State Entomologist, served as Acting Entomologist until December 1, when E. A. Back assumed the position of Entomologist. Among other events, an Apple Rust Laboratory was established in the Agricultural High School at Middletown, Frederick Co. On March 13, 1910, J. S. Cooley filed an M.S. thesis in plant pathology entitled "Histological study of Plasmodiophora brassicae". He did not explain initial infection by the fungus but demonstrated that subsequently the fungus is further distributed during mitosis of the host cells. In 1911, he would become Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station and would work for a while at the Middletown Laboratory.
In 1911, Reed published two Experiment Station bulletins on troublesome plant diseases. Club root of cabbage had plagued cabbage growers in southwest Virginia for several years. In the bulletin "Cabbage Club Root in Virginia" (VAES Bul. 191), Reed described experiments in which he demonstrated that liming and a 3-year rotation were essential for controlling the disease. The experiments were conducted at Rural Retreat in Wythe Co. In the bulletin entitled "Tomato Blight and Rot in Virginia" (VAES Bul. 192), Reed reported that late blight was the primary disease interfering with tomato production. He recommended procedures that were being used on potatoes, namely, spray with Bordeaux mixture 2 weeks after transplanting and every 10-14 days thereafter. Diseased vines should be destroyed at the end of the season. The plots were located at Christiansburg and Blacksburg.
During his years as graduate assistant, Cooley had aided Reed in two major projects which they summarized in detail in the Experiment Station Annual Report (which covered not one but two years) for 1909 and 1910, published in 1911. In "Heterosporium variabile Cke., its relation to Spinacea oleracea and environmental factors", (VAES Ann. Rept. 1909 and 1910, pp. 78-99), Reed and Cooley reported that spinach leaf spot was an association of two fungi, H. variabile and Colletotrichum spinaciae, the latter causing anthracnose. In addition, it was found that H. variabile is a weak pathogen and usually follows infections by Peronospora effusa. In the bulletin, morphology, sporulation, ecology, and physiology of H. variabile were described. The work was done in laboratories at V.P.I. and on the Virginia Truck Experiment Station property, in cooperation with T. C. Johnson, Va. T.E.S. Director.
Reed and Cooley published the first summary of their plant disease survey in the 1909 and 1910 Va. A.E.S. Annual Report (pp. 99-119). Procedures for the survey were described under 1909 accomplishments. Diseases of 26 hosts were included. Some diseases not previously mentioned in Virginia literature that were discovered during the survey include on apple, fly speck (Leptothyrium pomi) - statewide; sooty spot (Phyllachora pomigena) - statewide; on asparagus (Macrosporium sp.) - Blacksburg and Botetourt Co.; on aster yellows (cause unknown, later thought to be a virus, known now as a mycoplasm-like organism) - 20% in Blacksburg; barley smut (Ustilago nuda) - Wythe and Rockingham Cos.; beet leaf spot (Cercospora beticola) - widespread; cabbage black spot (Macrosporium brassicae) - minor but widespread; corn leaf blight (Helminthosporium turcicum) - considerable damage in Montgomery Co.; leaf spot (Cercospora crenata) - statewide, worse in eastern Virginia. [Note: C. crenata is a pathogen of leguminous plants; it is probable that either C. sorghi or C. zeae-maydis was misidentified. C. zeae-maydis may have been present but it was not described until 1925 (Sprague, 1950)]; cucumber blight (Peronoplasmopara cubensis) - Norfolk, Alleghany, and Washington Cos.; eggplant blight (Phyllosticta hortorum) - Newport News; oak anthracnose (Taphrina coerulescens) (Note: The proper common name should have been leaf curl or blister, only one specimen, source not given, it was followed by Pestalozzia taphrinicola); oats crown rust (Puccinia coronata) - severe in Montgomery Co.; onion downy mildew (Peronospora schleideniana) - Smyth Co.; on peach, bacterial leaf spot (Bacterium pruni) - Warren Co., shot hole disease (Phyllosticta prunicola) - source unknown, scab (Cladosporium carpophilum) - widespread, frosty mildew (Cercosporella persicae) - Frederick Co., powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca pannosa) - Westmoreland Co.; pear leaf blight (Entomosporium maculatum) - Montgomery Co., frog-eye leaf spot (Phyllosticta pyricola) - Montgomery Co.; phlox powdery mildew (Erysiphe communis) - Shenandoah Valley; on plum black knot (Plowrightia morbosa) - statewide, brown rot (Sclerotinia fructigena) - statewide and very damaging, twig hypertrophy (Exoascus pruni) Roanoke and Montgomery Cos.; rhubarb leaf injury (Vermicularia polygoni-virginica) - source not stated; sweet pea, anthracnose (Gloeosporium sp.) - Montgomery Co., very serious; tobacco frenching (cause unknown) - Brunswick, Halifax, Lunenburg, and Nottoway Cos. up to 10% loss; tomato leaf blight (Septoria lycopersici) - widespread, worse in southwestern Cos., point rot (probably blossom end rot) widespread.
Since the foregoing list includes only diseases that were not mentioned in Virginia literature before, it seems strange that no cotton, strawberry, rye, alfalfa, clover, peanut, ornamental shrubs or forest trees except oak were included, that no ear rots of corn were recognized, and that only frenching was reported on tobacco. Note: Frenching was first mentioned by John Clayton in a letter written at Wakefield, Yorkshire, Virginia, May 12, 1688, to the Royal Society of London. According to F. A. Wolf in "Tobacco Diseases and Decays" (Duke Univ. Press, 1957), he wrote as follows:
"French-men they call those plants whose leaves do not spread and grow larger but rather spire upwards and grow tall. Those plants they do not tend, being not worthy their labor; were they so critical I believe they might guess what plants were likely to turn French-men, by observing whether the roots of the plants run downwards as those branches are aptest to spire upwards. For though I have not made positive proof thereof, I have something more than bare fancy for my conjecture; I have pulled up some of these French-men and compared them with the roots of some other plants and found them much larger than others; and 'tis observable, loose soil and sandy ground are more subject thereto than stiff land." (Wakefield is in Sussex Co. now.)
Several events of significance in the Reed era happened in 1911. Cooley was awarded an M.S. degree, and was appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist. G. Flippo Gravatt and C. H. Crabill earned B.S. degrees in Horticulture and Agriculture, respectively, and both enrolled for graduate study in plant pathology. Both were named Assistant in Plant Pathology.
Barruss published in 1911 that different varieties of a host, bean, could be used to distinguish strains of a pathogen in this case, Colletotrichum lindemuthianum, with different pathogenic capabilities (Phytopathology 1:190-195). Eriksson had done this using different species of hosts. This was the true beginning of "physiologic specialization."
The first volume of Phytopathology was published and Reed contributed an abstract therein entitled "The effect of the club root disease upon the ash content of cabbage root." (Phytopathology 1:169-163). Reed and H. S. Stahl, who taught plant physiology, published a paper entitled "The erepsins of Glomerella rufomaculans and Sphaeropsis malorum", (J. Biol. Chem. 10:109). This was the fourth paper Reed published while in Virginia that showed his continuing interest in physiology.
The Southern Planter in 1911 published some lengthy letters pertaining to plant diseases. Reed himself penned one on "Peach leaf curl and what causes it." (Sou. Planter 72:774-775, July). He described the early symptoms of leaf curl and detailed its development until it induced leaf-fall. He described overwintering of the fungus in buds and how different weather sequences affected the prevalence and severity from year to year. He described how a late winter dormant spray with lime sulphur would virtually eliminate leaf curl and San Jose scale.
A gentleman named E. Y. Wead from Washington, D.C. wrote a chatty, interesting but accurate account of pear fire blight under the title "The battle with blight" (May, p. 575). He emphasized the need to prune frequently and summarized with "Cutting out blight once or twice in the season is a waste of time and an injury to the orchard. It it is not profitable to take it out as fast as it appears, one cannot afford to grow fruit."
A student a V.P.I., S. C. Nottingham, contributed a two-part letter "Diseases of the potato" and "Diseases of the tomato" (May, pp. 575-576). He discussed potato early and late blight, dry rot and scab. He erred by saying "acid conditions of the soil are favorable for this disease," where in fact we now grow potatoes in an acid soil to control scab. He discussed damping-off of tomato (Rhizoctonia), Septoria leaf blight, and winter blight which was the name for late blight.
In August (p. 862), Reed discussed "The present epidemic of potato blight" attributed to Macrosporium solani, which was predisposed by leafhopper burn and Colorado beetle damage. He recommended Bordeaux sprays and crop rotation.
The Enquirer's Column had only one plant disease question, this about cabbage rot. The editor attributed it to club root or black rot. Each was described. Alkaline soil and a 3 to 4-year rotation was advised.
In the Plant Disease Reporter, some first reports of plant diseases are recorded: Bean anthracnose, 1909 (2:2), bean bacterial blight, 1910 (2:258), southern bacterial wilt, Bacillus solanacearum, 1910 (2:253), bean rust, 1910 (2:261), tomato anthracnose, 1911 (2:264).
White pine blister rust had been discovered at Geneva, N.Y. in 1906. It was first found in Virginia in Clarke Co. in 1911 (W. O'Byrne, 1950. Agenices destructive to the forests in the James River Basin. In The James River Basin: Past, Present, and Future. James R. Proj. Comm. of the Va. Acad. Sci., Richmond, Va. pp. 413-423).
At the 15th Annual Session of the Virginia State Horticultural Society January 11-13, 1911, W. M. Scott of the U.S.D.A. described his work in 1910 with "Lime-sulphur sprays for apple diseases." (pp. 174-184). He concluded that to prevent fruit russeting lime-sulphur rather than Bordeaux mixture should be used for the early sprays of apple. This spray was found to control scab, fruit spot, leaf-spot, and cedar rust as well as did Bordeaux mixture, but did not control bitter rot. Bitter rot was controlled by resorting to Bordeaux mixture beginning about June 15. The members thoroughly discussed Scott's presentation.
M. B. Waite of the U.S.D.A. discussed "Further experience with fungicides and spraying apparatus" (pp. 184-190). His discussion of fungicides generally paraphrased that of Scott's paper. Waite described the assembly and operation of a compressed air sprayer for orchards. Users had reported excellent results; a smaller amount of equipment needed to be hauled through orchards with this applicator.
Reed followed Scott and Waite with a discussion of his own experiments and results. Experiments were conducted in Bedford and Rockingham Cos. (pp. 190-200). He acknowledged the assistance of A. W. Drinkard, Assistant Horticulturist. (Drinkard would become Experiment Station Director in July 1916 and remain as such until December 1945). Reed emphasized foliage diseases because failure to control them led to impoverished, poor yielding trees in following years. Again, there was much discussion about russeting, poor control of rust and making lime-sulphur sprays. Of the three presentations above only Scott's was published in the Virginia Department of Agriculture Annual Report, 1911 (pp. 81-88).
The Commissioner of Agriculture, G. W. Koiner, published in the 1911 annual report an item, "How to control the chestnut bark disease" (Va. Dept. Agri. Rept., 1911, pp. 164-170). He stated, "The chestnut forests of Virginia are doomed unless prompt action is taken. The forests are worth over $10 million. Scattered infections are known to the southern Virginia border." Comments on control were extracted from U.S.D.A. Farmers' Bulletin 467. Control methods included scouting for and destroying infected trees; the state involved must stand behind the procedure (to avoid litigation). When advanced infection centers are found, infection-free zones must be established. Downed trees must be debarked. Bark and unused branches should be burned. Wood should be used for lumber. Commissioner Koiner concluded the item with, "Let every farmer assist in asking for an appropriation from the Legislation for the protection on our valuable chestnut forests in Virginia. Unless something is done we may lose every chestnut tree in our State." It came about that the Legislature did appropriate funds for scouting and destroying blighted chestnut trees.
At the Virginia Truck Experiment Station, Director Johnson published Bulletin 5, "Spraying Cucumbers and Cantaloupes," in which he described efforts to control downy mildew and anthracnose. He found that Bordeaux sprays increased yields and profits. In 1912, Reed and Cooley continued the plant disease survey, results of which he published in 1913. With J. T. Rogers, they published Va. A.E.S. Bul. 195, "Foliage Diseases of the Apple" in which they discussed frog-eye spot, scab, and rust, and a spray program.
Reed published a poser, "Is the Phytophthora of the potato identical with that of the tomato?" (Phytopathology 2:250-252). He concluded from field experiments and cross inoculations that the same fungus attacks both hosts.
Chestnut blight was such a worrisome disease that caused an apprehensive Virginia General Assembly to appropriate $5,000 early in 1912, to establish and operate a Chestnut Blight Laboratory in Blacksburg. The objectives were to locate and eradicate infected trees. G. Flippo Gravatt was placed in charge.
Blight had been found in Virginia in 1911 (V.P.I. Bul. V (3):40). In view of the experiences of the northern states only determined, but naive politicians could have believed that an appropriation of any size would stop the blight. By 1924, blight would occur in all the chestnut areas of the State and the noble trees of Virginia forests would be doomed to near extinction. The white pine blister rust fungus, Cronartium ribicola, would because of its complex life cycle, spread much more slowly over the State. Yet, it is ironic the Federal Plant Quarantine Act of 1912, was primarily precipitated not by chestnut blight but by white pine blister rust. Pine knots were more important to lumbermen than were chestnuts roasting on the hearth or the value of chestnut for lumber and tanning. Apprehension about potato wart was also a factor. Certainly plant pathologists played a major role in gaining this Federal legislation, but the specific documentation of those who played a significant role, is obscure in plant pathology literature. We could find no evidence that Virginians played a role. However, Reed may have helped fruit growers lobby for a State cedar eradication law.
In 1912, cedar-apple rust caused a loss of fruit estimated at one-half million dollars. "The actual loss was much greater than this, however, if the consequent weakening of the tree and lowered vitality of fruit buds be taken into account" (Va. AES Tech. Bul. 9, 1915). Reed published an article, "Control of cedar rust," in The Southern Planter, September, 1912 (pp. 969-970), in which he noted that the severity of rust in orchards was directly related to the proximity of red cedar. Thus, "the most satisfactory method of controlling this disease is the destruction of red cedar trees, which are absolutely necessary for propgation of the fungus which causes the rust," and further, "Our spraying experiments show that if spraying is done thoroughly and at the right time especially just before the blossoms open the most serious effect may be largely avoided". Reed promoted "cedar-cutting week" in Frederick and Augusta counties "while the object lession of yellow and defoliated apple trees is still before the fruit growers."
In The Southern Planter, May 1912 issue (pp. 559-560), G. W. Chappelear, Jr., a graduate student in Agronomy, wrote on "Some fungous diseases of the potato and tomato." His article was similar to that by Nottingham in 1911 (Sou. Planter 72:575, 1911). Chappelear wrote about early blight and late blight of both crops, dry rot, scab, and blackleg of potato and leaf spot (Septoria) of tomato. (with respect to Septoria leaf spot, the editors printed "Tea spot or blight of the tomato - Septoria Tycopersici." Such is the problem of typesetting and editing.
Reed published a popular, illustrated article on "The satisfaction of aster raising" (Sou. Planter July p. 765, 1912), and Cooley described the 7th Congressional District Agricultural High School at Middletown, Frederick Co., where the Cedar Rust Laboratory was housed (Sou. Planter, July, p. 780, 1912).
There was only one disease discussed in the Enquirers Columns of The Southern Planter for 1912. A query about fire blight came from Appomattox Co. (July, p. 828). Director Johnson wrote about scab control in "Truck Crop Potatoes" (Va. T.E.S. Bul. 7, 1912). He stressed the production of scab-free potatoes in acid soils and disinfection of seed tubers with bichloride of mercury. Since calcium must be added to soils, lime should be added one year before potatoes are cropped. L. L. Corbitt, Truck Crop Specialist, gave a "Preliminary Report on Tomato Culture" (Va. T.E.S. Bul. 8, 1912). He mentioned that leaf spot was best controlled by Bordeaux mixture sprays and the wilt (probably Fusarium) was controlled by planted in "disease-free soil."
On July 1, 1912, E. A. Back resigned as State Entomologist and W. J. Price again served as Acting State Entomologist, July 1 to September 1, 1913.
In the Annual Report of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Immigration "a comprehensive and valuable spray calendar" was published (V.D.A. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1912:82-88). It included 24 diseases of 14 vegetable crops, 14 diseases on 7 small fruits (including white pine blister rust on Ribes spp.), 35 diseases on 7 orchard tree species, 25 diseases on 15 ornamental plants (including black stem rust on barberry). There was a review of Va. A.E.S. Bul. 195 "Foliage Diseases of the Apple" (Reed, Cooley, and Rogers, 1912), and of Bulletin 188, "Use of Lime-sulphur Sprays in the Summer Spraying of Virginia Apple Orchards" (W. M. Scott, 1910). The review probably also incorporated comments by Scott and M. B. Waite made at Virginia State Horticultural Society meetings in January 1911 and 1912. The V.D.A. & Imm. review was titled, "Types of spray injury on fruit" (V.D.A. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1912:107-109).
Apparently, Waite also published a talk he gave to West Virginia fruit growers in the V.D.A. & Imm. Annual Report, "Collar blight and other collar and root diseases of the apple" (V.D.A. & Imm. Ann. Rept. 1912:143-150). Collar blight was described as a form of fire blight on trees just above the ground line. Cracks at the tree base provided entry of bacteria and ensuing development of the disease. In Golden Grimes, Waite suggested cutting out diseased areas and in severe cases, bridge grafting to save the trees. He also suggested grafting Golden Grimes scions to stocks of Stayman Winesap, Mammoth Black Twig, or Red Astrachan, varieties which rarely blighted. He pointed out paradoxes of fire blight control; namely, that factors favoring fruit production also favor blight and vice versa. Waite gave a brief summary of crown gall, hairy root and root rots.
M. B. Waite was a regular participant in the annual meetings of the Virginia State Horticulture Society. At the January 1912 meeting, he spoke on "Further results of spraying experiments (Rept. of 16th Ann. Session, V.S.H.S. for 1911:54-65, March 1912). He discussed most of the diseases of economic importance to apple production in Virginia and described what Bordeaux mixture and lime-sulphur could or could not do. As always, members interrupted to question Waite, but he always fielded the questions with pertinent answers. Both Waite and the membership seemed to enjoy these informal presentations.
At the same meeting Reed spoke on, "Spray injury and some of the factors which favor it," (76th Ann. Session Rept. 1911:277-289). Some subtitles were, "Cause of spray injury," "Types of spraying injury to leaves," "Types of spraying injury on fruit," "The chemical properties of the spray mixtures," "The effect of climate conditions on efficiency and spray injury," "Effect of concentration," "Effect of adding insecticides," and finally a summary on "Prevention," where in he emphasized dangers of overspraying, that cloudy days were best for spraying but not always available, and to use properly prepared sprays at the proper concentrations. It was obvious that Reed, who was interested in crop physiology was in his realm as he presented this paper.
Whenver time permitted, the lesson was open for the "Question Box". Many queries addressed fungicides and plant diseases. Reed participated actively in the discussions.
Other events of significance in 1912 included the establishment of experiment stations at Charlotte Court House for studies on dark fired tobacco and at Williamsburg for alfalfa and soil fertility research. J. S. Cooley left V.P.I. to pursue graduate work under B. M. Duggar at St. Louis; C. H. Crabill replaced Cooley in the survey and cedar rust work. K. E. E. Quantz became a graduate student in Plant Pathology.
In the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station Annual Report for 1911, 1912 (why not biennial report?) published in 1913, Director S. W. Fletcher lists projects related to plant pathology in the Department of Plant Pathology:
- Relation of parasitic fungi and bacteria to their host plants.
- Principles of infection by uredinious fungi.
- Plant disease survey of Virginia.
- Field experiments on plant diseases (apple foliage diseases, spinach mildew, tomato blight, cedar rust).
- The cause and control of peach yellows (In cooperation with State Entomologist and Pathologist).
The project "Control of cabbage club-root" was completed and discontinued.
The Horticulture Department had a project on "Control of fire blight" begun in 1910 to test the effects of heavy mineral fertilization in checking the incidence and severity of fire blight in pears. A crossing program between blight resistant Keiffer and the susceptible varieties Anjou, Laurence, and Bartlett had resulted in 1,500 seedlings for observation and selection.
Reed and Crabill summarized the second installment "Plant diseases in Virginia in the years 1911 and 1912" (pp. 35-50), in which 55 diseases on 21 economic plants were listed. It was difficult to single out newly discovered diseases. One of Virginia's oldest crops was missing from their list - tobacco. Cotton, clover, peanut, oats, barley, rye and corn were also absent. Fruit diseases, those of apple, cherry, grape, peach, pear, plum, quince and brambles were thoroughly covered, as were bean, cabbage, cucurbits, potato, tomato, and wheat. Only maple anthracnose was listed among the tree diseases, even though white pine blister rust had been found on pine in Clarke Co. in 1911. Anthracnose of sweet pea was the only disease of floral plants to be mentioned. A quick inspection of the topics in "Fungous Diseases of Plants" the textbook by Duggar being used in courses taught in the Department should have provided clues for diseases to be encountered in a survey. One should not criticize too severely the efforts of Reed and his colleagues. After all, there was a heavy teaching load and a commitment to several, perhaps more important, projects and they solicited information rather than making personal surveys. Reflect on how easy a roadside survey may be made nowadays as compared to 1909-1915 when both automobiles and roads were primitive.
Reed summarized "The enzyme activities involved in certain fruit diseases" (Va. A.E.S. Ann. Rept. for 1911, 1912:51-77), with emphasis on the apple bitter rot fungus, Glomerella rufomaculans (now G. cingulata). Enzymes were produced in part from cultures and in part in decaying apples. Those studied were amylase, invertase, cytase, inulase, emulsin, lipases, protease, erepsin and amidase (there was no zymase). Thus, the fungus digested carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Juice of rotted apples was less favorable to growth of the fungus than that of healthy apples. Presumably, tannin in rotted fruits was inhibitory.
Reed also published "The effect of Diplodia zeae and some other fungi upon some phosphorus compounds in maize." (N. Y. Medical Jour. 94:1-8, 1913).
With F. S. Holmes, Reed conducted "A study of the winter resistance of the uredospores of Puccinia coronata Cda." (Va. A.E.S. Ann. Rept. for 1911, 1912:78-81). The fungus was monitored through the winter of 1909-10, Nov. 1 to Apr. 1. On oats that lived through the winter, activity of the fungus was correlated with temperature and growth of the host. Viable uredospores were found at all dates of sampling (1st and 15th each month). Site of the plot was not given but it is presumed to be at Blacksburg.
With Cooley, Reed published "The effect of Gymnosporangium on the transpiration of apple trees" (Va. A.E.S. Ann. Rept. for 1911, 1912:82-90). It was observed that trees subjected annually to cedar rust were stunted and produced frew or no sound fruits. Infected leaves transpired less than health leaves. Intercellular spaces were diminshed and stomata were obliterated by aecidia; thus, transpiration was reduced. Growth rate and transpiration being directly correlated, trees became stunted.
Reed and Cooley also studied "The effect of the cedar rust upon the assimilation of carbon dioxide by apple leaves" (Va. A.E.S. Ann. Rept. for 1911, 1912:91-94). The rate of carbon dioxide assimilation in diseased leaves was found to be about one-half that of healthy leaves. Different varieties behaved similarly. Thickening of parenchyma and obliteration of stomata in diseased leaves was presumed to account for the difference.
Charles H. Crabill, B.S., V.P.I., Agriculture, received the M.S. degree in 1913, and after having been an Assistant in Plant Pathology from 1911 to 1913, was upon graduation appointed Assistant Plant Pathologist. For his M.S. thesis, he studied frog- eye leaf spot of apple (Published in 1915, Va. A.E.S. Bul. 209). He found that Sphaeropsis malorum, the black rot fungus, also caused frog-eye leaf spot. Coniothyrium pirinum and Phyllosticta pirina, which were frequently isolated from frog- eye spots, were not pathogenic but were secondary colonizers of spots; he regarded them as facultative parasites (Crabill, G. H., 1913. Studies on Phyllosticta and Coniothyrium occurring on apple foliage. Va. A.E.S. Ann. Rept. for 1911, 1912:95- 115). Crabill also published a note on "The production of secondary sporidia by Gymnosporangium" (Phytopathology 3:282, 1913). The phenomenon was illustrated later in Va. A.E.S. Tech. Bul. 9:29 (1915).
The year 1913, was the 25th since Alwood had been employed by the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and was the year E. B. Fred resigned to leave for Wisconsin. As a result, Bacteriology was combined with Plant Pathology and Reed became head of the Department of Plant Pathology and Bacteriology. Cyrus H. Chilton, B.S., V.P.I., 1912 was named Assistant in Plant Pathology to aid Reed in teaching. The year began with the annual get together of fruit growers at Lynchburg.
At the January 1913 annual meeting of the Virginia State Horticultural Society, H. L. Price, Horticulturist at V.P.I., spoke on "Some measures for the control of orchard diseases," after stating that, "The question of disease belongs to another department, but the question of control of them has been one of my puzzling problems for a number of years" (Rept. of 17th Ann. Session, Va. State Hort. Soc. for 1912:209-217, 1913). Price fingered a long-time problem between plant pathologists and horticulturists (and sometimes agronomists), that being deciding where one's turf begins or ends. It is written the province of pathologists to find ways to control plant diseases, but after having done so, must they forever hold a tight rein on the procedure? Sometimes routine control procedures become a part of crop management and thereby are within the province of horticulturists or agronomists to discuss them in talks or writings. Jealous or zealous pathologists today insist that is a no-no; the way pathology is moving today (1994), if producers do not receive advice on disease control from non- pathologists, they receive none. That having been said, here is the essence of Price's 1913 talk. Two general measures are practiced in orchards, spray treatment and sanitary measures; Price spoke about the latter only. He covered six classes of sanitary measures, quoted here:
- Removal of affected host to prevent further spread of diseases.
- Removal of affected part of plant to prevent disease from becoming general.
- Removal of complementary host where the parasite lives on more than one plant.
- Destruction of diseased foliage, fruit or wood, as a possible source of infesting a new crop.
- Stimulation of weak plants by cultivation or feeding with a view of rendering them more resistant to disease.
- Selection of resistant varieties.
Under 1, he cited trees infected with peach yellows; under 2, he cited black knot of cherry and plum and fire blight of apple and pear; under 3, he cited cedar-apple rust; under 4, the removal of fruit mummies and pruned wood; under 5, the use of phosphate-potash fertilizers but not nitrogenous fertilizers in apple and pear orchards; and under 6, he mentioned not resistant varieties, but the very susceptible ones to avoid, for example, York Imperial and Rome where cedars occur. The ensuing question session centered around cedar rust and bitter rot.
Reed was to present a paper "The cedar rust problem in Virginia," but he was in Europe so he had C. H. Crabill read the text (Rept. of 17th Ann. Session, Va. S.H.S. for 1912:218-227, 1913). Certainly Crabill was competent to present the paper and lead the discussion because he was assigned to the cedar rust research laboratory at Middletown. Reed's paper covered life history of the fungus and disease cycle, impact of rust on trees and fruit, sprays that had been tested and, "Why the cedar trees should go." Here was a gentle but firm urging to eliminate cedars near orchards on neighbors property by persuasion and cooperation. Reed did not actually urge legislation to allow removal of cedars; this was done in Bulletin 203 a year later, but Price speaking earlier had said, "The orchard industry should be protected by law from this menace" (p. 211). Reed's advice was, "A word of warning to the man who is going to stir up his neighbors to cut their trees. That man should be exceeding careful to have all of his own cedars cut before he even passes a hint to his neighbors" (p. 227).
Some odds and ends for 1913 include a report by Flippo Gravatt on the spread of chestnut blight in the second year after it was found in Virginia (Va. Dept. Agric. & Imm. Rept. 1913:154-155). It had been found in Clarke, Fauquier, and Loudoun Cos. in northern Virginia and at Fontella, Bedford Co. Centers of infection had been found and eradicated. It was not yet known in virgin chestnut forests.
W. J. Schoene had become State Entomologist and Plant Pathologist on September 1, 1913. In his report for 1912-1913 (Ninth Rept. of the State Entomol. Va. Crop Pest Comm. p. 20, 1914), he described how the Crop Pest Commission, the Department of Plant Pathology, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and the Virginia Truck Experiment Station had joined to study peach yellows. Western Virginia had much yellows but eastern Virginia seemed to be free of it. An experimental orchard had been planted on the Truck Station property to facilitate an investigation of distribution of the disease.
In the V.P.I. catalogues the Department had changed Laboratory Mycology from 2 laboratories/wk in winter and 3 laboratories/wk in spring for 1910 and 1911 to 2 laboratories/wk in winter to 5 laboratories/wk in spring. Agricultural Microscopy was discontinued in 1912.
From The Southern Planter, volume 74, we find several items related to Virginia plant pathology. G. F. Gravatt, formerly at V.P.I., now (1913) with the U.S.D.A., reported on a conference concerning, "Utilization of Blight Killed Chestnut Trees," held at Trenton, N.J., in an item, "Timber from chestnut blight killed trees." Lumber from blighted trees was found to be as strong as that from healthy trees for lumber, poles, or posts. The impact of blight had not yet been felt in Virginia (May, p. 532).
S. A. Loyd, B.S., V.P.I. '13, published his thesis, "Important Bacterial Diseases of the Apple and Pear," in the May issue (pp. 535-537). He discussed crown gall (Pseudomonas tumefaciens), giving details of symptoms, host range, conditions favoring, treatment and methods of control, and the effect of inoculation into animals. In the latter item, he pointed to experiments where several animals were injected with P. tumefaciens; several fish and frogs developed tumors, cancers, and some died. No doubt this was the work of E. F. Smith and his colleagues who devoted a tremendous amount of effort trying to relate crown gall to human cancer. For pear blight, Loyd discussed history, distribution and appearance, susceptibility of host plants, infection and progress treatment and methods of control including cultivation, pruning and cleaning up the orchard. He emphasized that bacterial diseases are the most difficult to control and that spraying is relatively ineffective because the bacteria lie deep in the plant tissues and toxic substances would destroy only those organisms which are superficial.
J. T. Rogers of Blacksburg reported "Blister cankers found in Virginia apple orchards," caused by Nummularia discreta, had been found in apple orchards in Albemarle, Culpeper, Loudoun, Madison, and Orange Cos. (July, p. 746). He described symptoms and stated that the fungus is a wound parasite, meaning it enters only through wounds. All diseased parts should be cut out and burned. (Note: Reed and Crabill, Va. A.E.S. Tech. Bul. 2, 1915, reported it was also found in Frederick and Montgomery Cos. Apparently they did not communicate with Rogers).
The October issue (pp. 1072-1073) contained an article from the Maine Farmer on "Controlling Blackleg in Potatoes" by C. D. Woods. No doubt it was reprinted because of outbreaks of blackleg in Virginia potato fields in recent years. Woods emphasized that the bacterium is carried over from year to year in tubers. In Maine, the organism does not survive in soil as it does in the South; therefore, "disease-free tubers may be produced by soaking sound ones in a formaldehyde solution (1 pt. in 30 gal H20). During cutting, tubers with discolored areas are to be discarded and the knife is to be sterilized. Seed pieces may also be treated in this manner without inducing injury. The Maine Experiment Station conducted the work and made the above recommendations.
From Orange Co., came the complaint that watermelon vines died after fruit had set. Director T. C. Johnson of the Virginia Truck Station responded that either downy mildew or anthracnose was the cause. He mentioned that watermelon wilt (Fusarium sp.) was present in Virginia and that the center of a tap root from a wilted plant will have a yellowish cast, whereas those with mildew or anthracnose will be white (May, p. 610).
Reed ended the year with "Virginia Experiment Station Notes" (December, p. 1202) by announcing a forthcoming bulletin on the cause and control of the cedar rust disease of apple. The bulletin "will contain results of spraying experiments, involving the use of several new spray mixtures and the effect of each upon the control of the disease, the effect on the fruit and possible injury to foliage. The question of timeliness of spraying was found to be one of the important factors in the control of the disease ... The question of the cedar tree and its destruction is treated. It must be admitted that in many ways the axe treatment is one of the most successful which has been tried in the control of this disease." "The bulletin when issued will be illustrated with pictures taken by the writers during their study of the disease, and will show several very striking results which have been obtained from the use of the remedies to be described." (Reed is referring to: Reed, H. S., J. S. Cooley, and C. H. Crabill, 1914. Experiments on the Control of the Cedar Rust of Apples. Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 203). When the bulletin actually appeared, it also contained a list of resistant and susceptible apple varieties. A copper-lime-sulfur spray was found to provide better protection from rust than did Bordeaux mixture but either spray had to be used until June 10. The eradication of all cedar trees within one-half mile of orchards was advised and any cut after March 1 should be burned or they could produce a crop of spores. There was a section "What is the status of the cedar tree?" in which the authors seemed to be laying the ground work for controversial legislation. They wrote "The proposal has frequently been made to list the red cedar as a pest, and to seek legislation empowering its destruction where it is a menace to orchards. Some such measures would undoubtedly be desirable in cases where apple growers suffer from farms on which apples are not grown commercially. Many instances are known in which the owner of cedars has refused to cut or even sell the privilege of cutting cedar trees which are of no commerical value whatever" ... "This is undoubtedly an unjust state of affairs" ... "It cannot be denied, however, that in recent years the loss to the State from this disease has amounted to a far greater sum than the value of the neighboring cedars, and that a measure bringing suitable relief would be most welcome in many quarters. In the meantime, in the absence of legislation, much might be done to alleviate the trouble by cooperation among apple growers to educate the general public upon this question and to create a sentiment in favor of checking this disease. It ought certainly be the desire of every one to increase the general prosperity of his community in this way." (Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Bul. 203:pp. 26-27). Thus, the bulletin dated January 1914, ushered in a momentous year in which the Virginia General Assembly would respond to pressure from growers and enact the cedar rust law, and the Smith-Lever act of Congress would bring into existence the state-federal Cooperative Extension Service.
Considerable space in the Virginia State Horticulture Society Report for the 18th Annual Session was devoted to cedar rust of apple. M. B. Waite's talk "Cedar rust of the apple" (pp. 37-54) and "the text of the cedar rust law as presented to the legislature" (pp. 236-241) were published in full. Waite's "just plain talk" was comprehensive, comprehendable, informative, and interesting. He gave a history of the fungus adapting to cultivated apple (an introduced species) mostly beginning in 1908, although it had been noticeable since 1888. He compared it with the introduction of pests into areas where they had not previously existed (Phylloxera on grapes into Europe, and San Jose scale into North America; he did not mention chestnut blight but it would have been timely to do so.) In this case a host was introduced where the rust parasite already existed but was slow to adapt from native species to an introduced cultivated species, by his reckoning over 200 years (actually nearly 300). He gave a detailed account of its 2-year cycle, pointing out why it was in alternate years mild and severe. He also explained why its control by spraying (with materials then available) could succeed or fail. Finally, he pointed out that eradication of cedar trees had been urged by the U.S.D.A. since 1888 as the primary means of control but that growers were reluctant to be convinced. Even as he spoke, the Virginia General Assembly was holding the session that would enact the bill declaring cedars near apple orchards a public nuisance and enabling their removal (pp. 236-241). Mr. T. W. Steck of Winchester was its patron.
Specifically, the cedar eradication law ordered owners of cedar trees to destroy them if they were within one mile of a commercial orchard. The State Entomologist was empowered by destroy trees within two miles of an orchard. Thus, there was a controversial discrepancy from the outset making the law difficult to enforce. It would be challenged at all levels of courts up to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Fulling, E. H., 1943. Plant life and law of man IV. Barberry, currant and gooseberry, and cedar control. Bot. Rev. 9:483-592). The law was amended in 1920 to remove the discrepancy; owners of cedars were required to remove them within two miles of orchards.
Reed and Crabill both must have played a major role in conceiving, through their talks and writings, the cedar eradication law. From previous talks on the subject by H. L. Price and Reed of V.P.I. (Va. S.H.S. 1913), and M. B. Waite of the U.S.D.A. (Va. S.H.S. 1914), growers must have been persuaded to propose a bill for the 1914 Virginia General Assembly. A full text of the law appears in Circular No. 9 of the Virginia State Crop Pest Commission, Blacksburg, Virginia, and in the Report of the 18th Annual Session of the Virginia State Horticulture Society for 1913:236-241, 1914.
Reed published an article in 1914 that clearly stressed further his interest in physiology and biochemistry of plant disease, namely. "The formation of hexone and purine bases in the autolysis of Glomerella" (Jour. Biol. Chem. 19:257). There would be another in 1915. He also summarized "Peach yellows investigations" (Ninth Rept. State Entomologist and Pathologist Va. 1912/1913:20), and described "York spot and York skincrack" at the Annual Meeting of the American Phytopathological Society (Phytopathology 4:405, 1914, abstr.). "Notes on plant diseases in Virginia observed in 1913 and 1914" appeared in the Experiment Station Annual Report for 1913 and 1914 and was published without change of pagination as Technical Bulletin 2, April 1915. Its contents will be reviewed later. Reed's involvement in teaching bacteriology is clearly recognized from the fact that in 1914 he published a "Manual of Bacteriology for Agricultural and General Science Students" (Ginn and Co., New York, 1914). Hugh L. Thomson was Assistant in Plant Pathology for the 1914-15 session; he taught Laboratory Bacteriology, Plant Pathology and Laboratory Plant Pathology. That session Reed started Biochemical Microbiology, 3 laboratories/wk, winter quarter, once again demonstrating his interest in physiology.
A few items published in The Southern Planter for 1914 related to plant pathology and the Department. The usual spray calendar with comments appeared in the March issue (pp. 212-213); there was nothing new but orchardists were advised to cut cedar trees in winter. It being March it was a "Wait til next year" situation. Reed wrote a letter asking for cedar lumber and logs for a firm in Lynchburg (p. 240). Meade Ferguson was listed as Editor of the magazine for the first time. He had been a bacteriologist at V.P.I. and had started investigations into nitrogen fixation; he was also the advisor for E. B. Fred's masters program.
Two items by out-of-state authors related to plant pathology. A. N. Portman of Illinois wrote an account of testing apple and pear varieties for disease resistance (April, pp. 316-317). Fire blight resistance was most applicable to the State but the reaction of varieties to this disease were already known to Virginia orchardists. The Editor wrote a warning that "Powdery scab of potatoes" had been found in northern Maine (May, p. 338). He described symptoms, noted that the pathogen (Spongospora subterranea) contaminates soil and, thus, the disease becomes a perennial problem. Farmers were to beware of potatoes from northern sources. Apparently, the disease never became established in Virginia (Farr et al., 1989).
In 1915, Reed and Crabill published the third summary of the plant disease survey, this time in an Experiment Station Technical Bulletin. (Reed, H. S., and C. H. Crabill. Notes on Plant Diseases in Virginia Observed in 1913 and 1914. Va. Agri. Exp. Sta. Tech. Bul. 2). Some interesting diseases and disorders were described:
- Violet root rot (Rhizoctonia medicaginis, now R. crocorum) was found in Botetourt Co.
- Yellow tops was described from all over Virginia; the authors did not recognize leaf hoppers or boron deficiency as possible causes but did eliminate fungi and lime deficiency.
- White spot was found scattered throughout the State; it was described and illustrated but its cause remained unknown. It is known now as a potash deficiency symptom.
- Anthracnose (Colletotrichum trifolii) was identified from Williamsburg, James City Co.
- Blister canker was reported from Frederick, Loudoun, Montgomery, and Orange Cos.
- Flap tumor, in which shell-shaped overgrowths of apparently healthy wood extend partly around the branch that bears them. No causal agent was given. Specimens came from Roanoke and Montgomery Cos.
- Root rot attributed to Armillaria mellea was reported from many orchards with trees 10 to 15 years old.
- Skin crack and York spot were described in detail.
- A snap bean plant of unknown origin with crown gall symptom was pictured.
- Thrombotic disease of silver maple was detected in Frederick Co. in 1913. From the symptoms given, it was probably Verticillium wilt. In 1914, it was found all along the Valley Pike (probably into Augusta Co.).
- Hypertrophied and distorted twigs from Chesterfield Co. were attributed to Phragmidium subcorticum (= P. mucronatum). This is a rust of rose; no further substantiation of this diagnosis could be found.
- Rhizoctonia disease was collected from several fields near Norfolk and on the Eastern Shore. Black sclerotia on surfaces did no harm but growers were advised not to use sclerotium-bearing tubers for seed.
- Wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) was found in plots at Blacksburg, Montgomery Co. The reactions of 15 varieties ranged from none to all plants killed.
- Hollow heart attributed to early dry spell and a late spell of abundant rainfall.
Perhaps the most noteworthy publication of the Reed era was Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 9, "The Cedar Rust Disease of Apples Caused by Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae Schw.," by Reed and Crabill. The most striking aspects of the bulletin are the several drawings of the host-pathogen relations (figs. 6- 9, 13). The delineator did not inscribe his name but it is presumed to be Crabill. The bulletin is a culmination of studies conducted by the Department since 1910. Much of the work was done at the field laboratory established at the Middletown Agricultural High School in Frederick Co. The authors credit J. S. Cooley, S. F. Coffman, C. H. Chilton, and J. R. DuShane for their contributions to the research. The stated objective of the study "has been the pathology of the host plant. To that end much attention has been devoted to the physiology of the diseased trees. Studies on the transpiration, photosynthesis, respiration, chemical constitution, and reproductive powers of the tree have been made. Since, however, a proper understanding of the nature and conditions of infection is not evident without a knowledge of the infecting organism, considerable attention has also been directed to the fungus, its spore forms, cycle of development, and growth requirements (p. 5). With respect to preventing apple rust, "The application of fungicides has not proven to be a practical means of controlling the disease in places where the red cedar trees stand in the neighborhood of orchards. In such cases permanent relief can be obtained by removal of all red cedar trees in the vicinity" (p. 6).
"Some topics thoroughly explored were development of cedar galls and the sporophytic stages of the fungus from infection of cedar through discharges and germination of sporidia; development of the fungus on apple foliage and fruit including time of infection, immunity of fully expanded apple leaves and nuclear cycle in the fungus; effects of the disease on various functions of the leaf wherein transpiration and photosynthesis rates decreased and respiration increased. In spraying experiments, timing had to be very precise to protect leaves from infection and for copper-containing ingredients, there was the added possibility of injury if wet weather followed spray application. As to cedar eradication, "If all cedar trees can be removed from a territory having a radius of half a mile from the orchard, we have found that the serious epidemics of cedar rust will be avoided, but it is much better to destroy all cedars within a mile of the orchard, and in some cases where the topography is such that winds have an unbroken sweep, two miles is the least distance which will make the orchard safe" (p. 100). The cedar eradication law had already been enacted. Reed and Crabill listed in three classes the behavior of apples toward rust. Susceptible were York Imperial, Northern Spy, Rome, Jonathan, Bonum, and Smith's Cider; moderately susceptible was Ben Davis; and resistant were Northwestern Greening, Winesap, Stayman Winesap, Arkansas (= Mammoth Black Twig), Grimes, and Yellow Newton (= Albemarle Pippen) (p. 102). These varieties were reported to behave differently in other apple producing regions, suggesting that physiologic races of the fungus existed, a concept that was not addressed by Reed and Crabill.
"In conclusion, we would state that the problems of control of the cedar rust are not simple, and that it is necessary for each one to determine the best method of procedure in his own special case. Eradication of the cedars will give effective and permanent relief, spraying is successful under the conditions set forth above, and planting of resistant or immune varieties is much to be commended" (p. 103).
Technical Bulletin 9 was the most comprehensive treatment of a plant disease in the first 25 years of plant pathology in Virginia. The authors cited contributions of workers throughout the world and conducted repetitions of experiments with appropriate controls. Their chief statistic was the mean, and their data stood the test of time without the use of statistical analyses and L.S.D.'s.
Reed and J. T. Grissom, Assistant Chemist for the Experiment Station published on "The development of alkalinity in Glomerella cultures, (J. Biol. Chem. 21:159-163, 1915), giving further evidence of his interest in physiology. He was also senior author with Bruce Williams, Assistant Bacteriologist, of two technical bulletins on nitrogen fixation. Although these bulletins do not relate to plant pathology they demonstrate the versatility of Virginia's first plant pathologist and his responsibility toward the other discipline in his department. They furthered the work initiated by Meade Ferguson and continued by E. B. Fred. In "Nitrogen Fixation and Nitrification in Various Soil Types" (Va. A.E.S. Tech. Bul. 3, 1915), the principle finds were that although cultivated soils showed higher nitrifying qualities than virgin soils, the latter were also more variable. Some soils evinced no power to nitrify. In "The Effect of Some Organic Soil Constituents upon Nitrogen Fixation by Azotobacter" (Va. A.E.S. Tech. Bul. 4, 1915), the authors reported that hydroquinone and salicyclic aldehyde depressed nitrogen fixation but esculin, quinic acid and borneal stimulated it. A number of nitrogenous compounds, urea, glycocall, formamide and allantoin, depressed nitrogen fixation.
Within the Department, Karl E. E. Quantz of Hildenschein, Germany, had become a graduate student probably in 1911, assisted Reed in the 1914-1915 session by teaching Laboratories in Bacteriology and Plant Pathology and apparently was briefly Assistant Plant Pathologist in the Experiment Station 1915-1916. If the records are clear, Quantz was a graduate student until 1916, a period of five years, the longest to date, and he was the first to bring the Department an international flavor, although Fred had earned the Ph.D. in Germany.
Crabill published a study of "The Frog-eye Leaf Spot of Apples" (Va. A.E.S. Bul. 209, 1915), in which he reported, "For a number of years there has been some uncertainty as to what fungus was reponsible for the frog-eye spot. This has been due to the fact that a number of different organisms have been found closely associated in the diseased portion of the leaf. Investigations have shown that both the initial infection and secondary enlargement of frog-eye spot are due to Sphaeropsis malorum ... After the spot is a few weeks old the spores of many species of fungi may be found on its surface (Va. A.E.S. Bul. 209:15). Scott and Rorer (U.S.D.A. Bur. Pl. Ind. Bul. 121, 1908) had demonstrated by artificial inoculation that S. malorum caused initial infections of frog-eye spots but they did not account for the secondary enlargement of the spots. Crabill's work was more definitive.
The final publication on projects executed by Reed was "Some Effects of the Growth and Activity of Bacteria in Milk", by Reed and R. R. Reynolds (Va. A.E.S. Tech. Bul. 10, 1916). Reynolds was a graduate student in bacteriology. Reed was senior author of five of the first ten technical bulletins published by the Experiment Station.
Events which took place at the Virginia Truck Experiment Station during the Reed era might be mentioned, some again, as they are recorded in Va. T.E.S. bulletins. "The Control of Malnutrition Diseases of Truck Crops" (Va. T.E.S. Bul. 1, 1909) was published by L. L. Harter of the U.S.D.A., Bureau of Plant Industry, who found opportunities in plant pathology and a cooperative spirit awaiting him at Norfolk. In bulletin 1, he reported finding retarded growth, change of color, root injury and absence of parasites in several crops. These symptoms could be prevented by liming, adjusting fertilizer composition and maintenance of organic matter. In Va. T.E.S. Bulletin 4, (1910), Harter described "Spinach troubles at Norfolk and the improvement of trucking soils." He mentioned Heterosporium variabile and Peronospora effusa as problems being studied by Reed and Crabill of V.P.I. The emphasis was on rotation and maintenance of organic matter. In bulletin 5, T. C. Johnson, Director of the Station discussed "Spraying Cucumbers and Cantaloupes" (1911). He described annual spray programs to control anthracnose and downy mildew. Johnson also wrote an article "Treatment for scab and early blight of potatoes, mildew on cucumber and cantaloupe" (Va. Dept. Agri. Rept., 1909:119), in which he described experiments conducted in 1908 and 1909.
According to personnel records, from the Virginia Truck Experiment Station, L. L. Corbett was Assistant Plant Pathologist from January 1, 1909 to June 30, 1912; Eubanks Carsner served as Assistant Plant Pathologist for a period in 1914 and 1915. Both of these gentlemen departed for employment with the U.S.D.A. Carsner published in The Southern Planter the first article from Virginia on nematode root knot (Root-knot. A disease of farm and garden crops. Sou. Planter 71:354-355, June 1915). He described the root galling, dwarfing, and wilting of affected plants, illustrated the disease on tomato and cucumber, and stated that it was common in the field from Virginia south. It was universally prevalent as a greenhouse nuisance. He listed 51 plant species as being hosts, a number of which were of economic importance in Virginia. Most truck crops, alfalfa, tobacco, cotton, soybean, and rose were among the vulnerable species. Peanut was not listed among suscepts; it along with corn, small grains, pasture grasses, was listed among the species to be used in 2-3 year rotations to reduce the impact of nematode infestations. In greenhouse, steaming the soils was recommended. His article was based upon U.S.D.A. Farmer' Bulletin 648, "The Controlling of Root-knot."
In the same Southern Planter, J. J. Taubenhaus of the Delaware Experiment Station started a two-part article entitled "Diseases of vegetable crops and their control" (Sou. Planter 76:350-351, 404-405). He described the Delmarva Peninsula and New Jersey as the kitchen garden of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. However, the hopes and labor of growers were often blasted by a number of plant diseases which reduced yields and profits, and sometimes made it impossible altogether to grow their crops. He described damping off; asparagus rust; bean anthracnose, bacterial blight and rust; cabbage yellows and black leg; cucurbit anthracnose, downy mildew, bacterial and fusarium wilts; eggplant anthracnose and Phomopsis blight; onion blight, anthracnose, and smut; and tomato leaf spot and wilt. He also described a number of insect pests and gave the prevailing methods of control of diseases and insects. Control of soil pH was mentioned as major factor over which the growers had control.
Several other items relating to plant pathology appeared in The Southern Planter for 1915. These included the spray calendar for 1915; a discussion of "Some plant diseases induced by drought" in which C. H. Crabill described punky pulp of Ben Davis apple and skin crack of York Imperial, tip burn of potato leaves, hollow heart of potato tubers, and yellow top of alfalfa (which with tip burn of potato may have been caused by leafhoppers; Mar. 1915:148-149). G. C. Starcher, Assistant Horticulturist, Va. A.E.S., found 50% of a group of 4-year-old peach trees infected with yellows, and replied to a Campbell Co. farmer that apple root and crown rot could only be controlled by removing roots and soil 3 feet from the crown before replanting (June, 1915:362). The editor contributed an article "Treatment of seed grains for smut" (Aug. 1915:444). He suggested: clean the seed, treat with formaldehyde solution, 1 pint in 40-45 gallons of water, mix thoroughly, cover for 12 to 24 hours, spread to dry. Do not use for feed. A Northumberland Co. inquired about treating wheat for smut and was referred to the article above (Oct. 1915:596). Tomato rot in Patrick Co. was called blossom-end rot by Massey.
In the Tenth Report of the State Entomologist for 1914 and 1915 (1916), W. J. Schoene stated that "the fruit growers, realizing that the future profits of the apple orchards were imperiled, succeeded in having a law enacted declaring the cedar a nuisance" (p. 6). The law was of local option nature; county officials had to enact an endorsement of the law in order to implement it. Schoene reported that the law had been tested in Frederick. This resulted in a complete victory for the fruit growers. A transcript of the first case, "Virginia State Entomologist vs. the Glass family and heirs" appears in the Report (pp. 16-29).
Schoene also reported that control of chestnut blight was deemed ineffective and that the federal support had been withdrawn. Chestnut owners were advised to harvest their holdings, the chestnut appeared doomed (p. 7).
The Reed era can best be summarized as the beginning of basic research in plant pathology in Virginia but it was a period of considerable effort in applied research. Obtaining the necessary information for implementing cedar-apple rust control was the highlight of the era. Reed and his associates laid an excellent foundation for the next era, the Fromme era.
The Reed era ended officially in the middle of 1915 and the Fromme era began. When Reed died on May 12, 1950 at Berkeley, California, a committee of the University of California was appointed to prepare a memorial obituary. Of his tenure at V.P.I. they wrote, "Although Professor Reed's research in Virginia was, by the nature of the position chiefly related to fungi as agents of plant disease, he tended to approach such problems from the physiological point of view and with concern for the relations between the causal organism and the host plant. It was this well-balanced combination of research approaches as well as demonstrated achievement that led to his appointment in 1915 as Professor of Plant Physiology in the Graduate School of Tropical Agriculture and Citrus Experiment Station, Riverside." By the time of his death, "he had published some one hundred eighty papers" (as well as a "Manual of Bacteriology" and the 320 page book "A Short History of the Plant Sciences)" since his graduate days at the University of Missouri. These not only attested to his continuing and active research but demonstrated as well a treatment characteristic of a scholarly mind" (A. R. Davis, J. P. Bennett, A. S. Foster. Howard Sprague Reed, 1876-1950. Univ. of Calif. In Memorian pp. 94-97. April, 1958). Amen!
Sources of information -
Phytopathology vols. 1-6, 1911-1916.
Reports of Va. State Hort. Soc. 1908-1916.
Reports of the State Entomologist, 1908-1915.
Southern Planter vols. 69-76, 1908-1915.
Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Ann. Repts. 1908-1916.
Va. Agri. Expt. Sta. Circulars, Bulletins, and Technical Bulletins 1908-1916.
Va. Dept. Agri. & Imm. Bulletins and Ann. Repts. 1908-1916.
Va. Truck Experiment Station Bulletins, 1909-1915.
V.P.I. Bulletins 1-5, 1908-1911.
VPI Catalogues, 1908-1916.
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