Identification of factors which influence infection and control of the newly emerged Peronospora causing downy mildew on aquilegia


HNS 196a - Identification of factors which influence infection and control of the newly emerged Peronospora causing downy mildew on aquilegia

Start Date: 
Completion Date: 
Project Leader: 
Philip Jennings, Fera
HNS 196a

Industry Representative: Toby Merchant, Orchard Dene Nurseries

AHDB Horticulture Cost: £15,054

SummaryAquilegia downy mildew is caused by a species of Peronospora which is currently unnamed. The first occurrence of the disease appears to be on a nursery in 2011, with more widespread reports in gardens during 2013. Little or no work has been published on the disease and as a result it is difficult to establish from the literature why the disease has become more prevalent. Studies will establish the conditions required for infection and sporulation, the type of spores involved and the conditions required for their survival. Strategies for disease control (cultural and chemical) will be developed. The results from the project will be disseminated through the production of best practice guidelines.

Aims and Objectives
Project aim(s):

The project aims to generate data which will enable growers to combat the threat from the newly emerging downy mildew on aquilegia (ADM). The outputs from the project will generate best practice guidelines for aquilegia crops grown under protection or outdoors.
(ii) Project objective(s):
1. Determine the conditions required for infection and sporulation of the Peronospora sp. responsible for ADM.
2. Determine the survival of conidia under differing environmental conditions
3. Establish best practice methods (cultural and chemical) to prevent and control infections of ADM.
4. Dissemination of outputs from project through best practice guidelines and presentation at grower meetings

Benefits to Industry
The number of growers who have been adversely affected by ADM is unclear. However, the high level of press coverage warning of the dangers from the disease has led to concern amongst growers that a loss of sales could be similar to that seen for downy mildew on impatiens. Determining an understanding of the pathogen responsible for aquilegia downy mildew will ensure effective management strategies can be developed which would minimise future losses from the disease. Establishing an effective and economic strategy for the control of the downy mildew pathogen would reduce the risk of financial loss through loss of plants. This is particularly important while the pathogen is at an early stage of establishment in the UK.


The results will be delivered to growers through presentations at grower meetings, a final report and articles in HDC News as required.