Drought Stress Increases Densities but Not Populations of Two-spotted Spider Mite on Buddleia davidii `Pink Delight'

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
  • | 2 Department of Horticulture, The University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
  • | 3 Department of Entomology, Georgia Experiment Station, Griffin, GA 30223

Two experiments were conducted to determine the effect of drought stress on the susceptibility of Buddleia davidii Franch. `Pink Delight' to the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae Koch). In the first experiment, drought stress was imposed by withholding water until predawn xylem pressure potential fell below -1 MPa. Shoot growth was 75% less in drought-stressed than in nonstressed plants. Mite population densities were not affected, but noninfested leaf area was 14% higher, and degree of mite damage was lower, in nonstressed plants. Evidently, the greater amount of new growth in nonstressed plants leads to lower spider mite densities by diluting populations. In a second experiment, nonstressed B. davidii `Pink Delight' plants were watered every 1 to 2 days and drought-stressed plants were watered every 3 days. Spider mite populations were monitored by sampling newly expanded and mature foliage. Mite populations on mature foliage were not affected by stress, but stressed plants grew less and had larger spider mite populations on their newly expanded foliage than did nonstressed plants.

Contributor Notes

Current address: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Horticultural Science, Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.
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