INFLUENCE OF SEED PREPARATION AND PLANTING DATE ON DAMPING-OFF OF WATERMELON

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton GA 31793-0748
  • | 2 Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station, Tifton GA 31793-0748

Primed, germinated, and untreated seeds of three watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] cultivars were planted in March and April of 1990 and 1991 to evaluate damping-off incited by Pythium irregulare and Rhizoctonia solani AG-4. One week after seeding in 1990, plant stand was greater from primed and germinated than untreated Seeds in noninfested soil and greater from primed than germinated or untreated seeds in soil infested with P. irregulare. Neither germinated nor primed seeds improved plant establishment in soil infested with R. solani AG-4. Early plant stand was greater from the April than the March planting in each year. Plant establishment was more consistent from 'Crimson Sweet' than 'Jubilee' or 'Charleston Gray', but cultivar differences in response to P. irregulare or R. Solani AG-4 were not detected. Primed watermelon Seeds may enhance stand establishment in soil infested with P. irregulare when soil temperature at planting is suboptimal to optimal for watermelon seed germination and growth.

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