• Cycloconium oleagina;
  • Olea europea;
  • olive leaf spot;
  • peacock spot of olive;
  • quantitative epidemiology

Experiments were conducted on olive plants in controlled environments to determine the effect of conidial concentration, leaf age, temperature, continuous and interrupted leaf wetness periods, and relative humidity (RH) during the drier periods that interrupted wet periods, on olive leaf spot (OLS) severity. As inoculum concentration increased from 1·0 × 102 to 2·5 × 105 conidia mL−1, the severity of OLS increased at all five temperatures (5, 10, 15, 20 and 25°C). A simple polynomial model satisfactorily described the relationship between the inoculum concentration at the upper asymptote (maximum number of lesions) and temperature. The results showed that for the three leaf age groups tested (2–4, 6–8 and 10–12 weeks old) OLS severity decreased significantly (< 0·001) with increasing leaf age at the time of inoculation. Overall, temperature also affected (< 0·001) OLS severity, with the lesion numbers increasing gradually from 5°C to a maximum at 15°C, and then declining to a minimum at 25°C. When nine leaf wetness periods (0, 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 72 and 96 h) were tested at the same temperatures, the numbers of lesions increased with increasing leaf wetness period at all temperatures tested. The minimum leaf wetness periods for infection at 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25°C were 18, 12, 12, 12 and 24 h, respectively. The wet periods during early infection processes were interrupted with drying periods (0, 3, 6, 12, 18 and 24 h) at two levels of RH (70 and 100%). The length of drying period had a significant (< 0·001) effect on disease severity, the effect depending on the RH during the interruption. High RH (100%) resulted in greater disease severity than low RH (70%). A polynomial equation with linear and quadratic terms of temperature, wetness and leaf age was developed to describe the effects of temperature, wetness and leaf age on OLS infection, which could be incorporated as a forecasting component of an integrated system for the control of OLS.