Field trials were conducted to evaluate the season long population dynamics and location (in leaf or on leaf surface) of an antibiotic resistant strain of the bacterium Pseudomonas syringae pv. tagetis (PST) applied to Canada thistle leaves. An application preceding 2 to 3 d of hot dry weather was compared to an application preceding 2 to 3 d of cool wet weather. Leaf samples were taken weekly to assess the population of PST found inside the leaves and on the leaf surface. While PST populations initially differed, populations were similar for both treatments one week after application. While this suggests that environment did not have a major impact, weather conditions for testing this hypothesis were not ideal. Over the first 35 d of the experiment, little rainfall was observed. PST populations were low and stable. However, rain events over the 40 d that followed resulted in great oscillations in mean PST populations and in some cases significant population increases. During dry periods, internal and total PST populations differed significantly, suggesting the external populations played a major part in population composition. However, the two sampling periods that closely followed three consecutive days of rainfall indicated internal populations were not significantly different from the total, suggesting that internal populations played the primary role in population composition. The results of this research provide evidence that rain events lead to overall PST population increases and to greater proportions of PST inside Canada thistle leaves, suggesting that it is better to apply PST during wet periods than dry.
Nomenclature: Canada thistle, Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop., CIRAR.