Augmentative releases of the pompom rust fungus in South Africa
Alana den Breeÿen- ARC-PPRI, Weeds Pathology Unit
First identified on Pompom weed in South Africa in 2006, the Pompom rust fungus (Puccinia eupatorii) is now widely dispersed on pompom weed throughout its invaded range.
Despite its wide distribution, the late emergence of the rust fungus in the field limits the effectiveness of it as a biological control agent.
In November 2013, an augmentative release strategy for pompom rust was implemented at field sites in Gauteng (Rietvlei Nature Reserve) and Mpumalanga (Barberton) provinces.
Disease incidence ranged from 14-100% in Rietvlei and 33-80% in Barberton. Average leaf severity was higher in Rietvlei compared to Barberton.