Research looking into pistachio bushy top syndrome accidentally led to the discovery of the bacteria that causes the syndrome in walnut trees.
Experts have found a relationship between the new disease bushy top syndrome and a bacteria called rhodococcus. The bacteria has been found in every pistachio orchard that has shown signs of the disease. Tulare County Farm Advisor Elizabeth Fichtner has been researching the disease and was notified by a grower that some walnut trees were showing symptoms of the bacteria.
Fichtner says these findings may not be a bad thing. So little is still known about rhodococcus and it’s relationships, and the bacteria could be a fairly regular occurrence on many plants. Fichtner added that it’s challenging to research a disease like this. Most of the time when new plant health problems start popping up in California, researchers can draw on some sort of research done somewhere else, that’s not the case with rhodococcus bacteria.