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Topography and Crop Management Are Key Factors for the Development of American Leaf Spot Epidemics on Coffee in Costa Rica

Published by:
Publication date
Number of Pages
Type of Publication:
Articles & Journals
Focus Region:
North America
Focus Topic:
Health & Diseases
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk reduction/mitigation
Jacques Avelino, Sandrine Cabut, Bernardo Barboza, Miguel Barquero, Ronny Alfaro, César Esquivel, Jean-François Durand, and Christian Cilas
The American Phytopathological Society

We monitored the development of American leaf spot of coffee, a disease caused by the gemmiferous fungus Mycena citricolor, in 57 plots in Costa Rica for 1 or 2 years in order to gain a clearer understanding of conditions conducive to the disease and improve its control. During the investigation, characteristics of the coffee trees, crop management, and the environment were recorded. For the analyses, we used partial leastsquares regression via the spline functions (PLSS), which is a nonlinear extension to partial least-squares regression (PLS). The fungus developed well in areas located between ≈1,100 and 1,550 m above sea level. Slopes were conducive to its development, but eastern-facing slopes were less affected than the others, probably because they were more exposed to sunlight, especially in the rainy season. The distance between planting rows, the shade percentage, coffee tree height, the type of shade, and the pruning system explained disease intensity due to their effects on coffee tree shading and, possibly, on the humidity conditions in the plot. Forest trees and fruit trees intercropped with coffee provided particularly propitious conditions. Apparently, fertilization was unfavorable for the disease, probably due to dilution phenomena associated with faster coffee tree growth. Finally, series of wet spells interspersed with dry spells, which were frequent in the middle of the rainy season, were critical for the disease, probably because they affected the production and release of gemmae and their viability. These results could be used to draw up a map of epidemic risks taking topographical factors into account. To reduce those risks and improve chemical control, our results suggested that farmers should space planting rows further apart, maintain light shading in the plantation, and prune their coffee trees.