• Artemisia dracunculus ;
  • epidemiology;
  • herb;
  • weather

Rust, caused by Puccinia dracunculina, is the main foliar disease of open-field tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) crops in Israel. As not much is known about the biology or epidemiology of this pathogen, the long-term objective of the current study was to accumulate the knowledge needed to develop an effective, environmentally friendly means of adequately managing the disease. Puccinia dracunculina is an autoecious brachy-form pathogen, but it is not known whether the life cycle is completed under field conditions in Israel. Field observations and greenhouse studies revealed that although the telial stage is produced, the pathogen overwinters in the uredinial stage. In vitro experiments were used to quantify the temperature and wetness requirements for urediniospore germination and to calculate the daily duration of conducive weather (DDCW); DDCW was defined as the number of hours during which temperature ranged between 15 and 25°C and RH was >90%. Cumulative DDCW values (CDDCW) were a good predictor of disease under natural conditions in two growing seasons. Disease onset occurred when CDDCW values reached a level of 10 and the relationship between log CDDCW values and season-long severity values (in logit) was highly significant, explaining 90·6% of the variation.