Official control against Almond witches’ broom in Lebanon
Almond witches’ broom is a phytoplasma disease (associated with ‘Candidatus Phytoplasma phoenicium’ – formerly EPPO Alert List) which is causing severe losses in almond, peach and nectarine production in Lebanon. It is estimated that in less than a decade, it has killed more than 100;000 almond trees. This disease has also been reported from Iran. Surveys conducted in Lebanon in 2009 and 2010 showed that the disease was widespread in the country, as it was detected in 16 out of 26 districts affecting almond, peach and nectarine. Northern Lebanon was considered to be the epidemic centre from which the disease had spread to the other regions. In January 2011, it was officially announced that Almond witches’ broom was a regulated pest in Lebanon and that a National plan would be implemented to manage the disease. The major stone fruit-growing regions in Bekaa (West Bekaa and Rachayya) will be given priority and Lebanese extension services will provide support in the eradication process. Growers will be encouraged to eliminate infected trees and will be provided with free seedlings to replant their orchards.
Jawdah YA, Molino-Lova M, Bianco PA, Choueiri E, Fakhr R, Hajj-Hassan S, Haydar L, Al Achi R (2012) Almond witches' broom phytoplasma, officially declared as a regulated pest in Lebanon. Abstract of a paper presented at the 22nd International Conference on virus and other graft transmissible diseases of fruit crops (Roma, 2012-06-3/8), p 21.