How to Sample for Little Cherry Disease
Trees showing signs of Little Cherry Disease (LCD) should be flagged when symptoms are evident. The best time to see obvious LCD symptoms is a few days prior to harvest, although they may appear several weeks before harvest. While you should to mark the tree when symptoms are evident, it can be sampled later in the summer. Not all limbs show the same degree of symptoms; mark the most symptomatic limbs for sampling.
A total of 10 leaves per tree should be collected from symptomatic limbs. Place the leaves Ziploc bag, and label the bag with the orchard information. Keep the leaf sample on ice or refrigerated until testing can be completed. Dry, brittle leaves are not acceptable samples, regardless of age. If sending multiple samples, make sure the label on the bag clearly distinguishes the sample contents.
Send samples to Clean Plant Center NW for testing
Samples can be sent to:
Clean Plant Center Northwest/Hamilton Hall
Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research & Extension Center
24106 N Bunn Rd. Prosser, WA 99350-8694
Attn. Tina Vasile
Contact for the lab is Tina Vasile, 509-786-9382 (http://healthyplants.wsu.edu/elisa-lab/). Drop the samples off at Prosser, or send them via overnight mail in a Styrofoam shipping container with an ice pack, to the address listed above. Be sure to include your name and contact information with the package. Avoid sending samples on Thursday or Friday.
Using PCR methods, the lab can test for all three LCD causing pathogens: Little Cherry Virus 1 (LChV1), Little Cherry Virus 2 (LChV2), and Western X (WX). However, testing for multiple pathogens might cost more than testing for a single pathogen. Check with the lab for details of testing costs.
Treating LCD infected trees
Once a tree is infected with LCD, no treatment exists other than tree removal. Preventing the spread of the virus through vector (mealybug) management and removal of infected trees is recommended.