Differential Yield Response Of Melon Hybrids with Monosporascus Root Rot/Vine Decline

in HortScience

Monosporascus root rot/vine decline (MRR/VD), caused by Monosporascus cannonballus, is a serious disease of the major melon production areas of Texas, California, and Arizona. We have previously identified differing levels of tolerance in melon germplasm based on vine disease symptoms. This study was conducted to evaluate the yield response of commercial and experimental cantaloupe and honeydew hybrids subjected to MRR/VD. Thirty-nine and six cantaloupe and honeydew hybrids, respectively, were transplanted into a field highly infested with M. cannonballus in March 1995 in a randomized, complete block with 4 replications. The field was highly infested with Monosporascus cannonballus. `Caravelle' (very susceptible) and `Deltex' (tolerant) were included as control entries. Fruit were harvested at maturity and sized. Any fruit that did not mature completely due to vine death were counted as culls (unmarketable). Marketable yield of the cantaloupe entries ranged from 26.74% to 67.35%. The most tolerant hybrids were `SR103654', `Don Carlos', `Explorer', and `Ovation'. Marketable yield of the honeydews ranged from 8.43% to 41.46%, with `Morning Ice' and `Creme de Menthe' showing the most tolerance. The best performing hybrids were evaluated again the Fall 1995 and Spring 1996 seasons. In general, genotypes which matured later, and had a more dispersed fruit set, were more tolerant to MRR/VD. This supports previous data showing that high physiological stress (heavy, concentrated fruit load) leads to more severe and rapid vine collapse.

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