Suppression of Phytophthora Root Rot in Red Raspberries with Cultural Practices and Soil Amendments

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14886
  • | 2 Department of Plant Pathology, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Geneva, NY 14456
  • | 3 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14886

Various soil amendments and cultural practices were examined in both a phytophthora-infested (Phytophthora fragariae var. rubi) (+PFR) and uninfested field (–PFR) planted to `Heritage' red raspberries. Although plants in the +PFR field did not exhibit typical disease symptoms due to unseasonably dry weather, their growth was less than those in the –PFR field. After 2 years, plants in the +PFR site had the highest yields in plots treated with phosphorous acid or amended with gypsum, whereas compost-amended plots had the lowest yields in both +PFR and –PFR sites. A second field study confirmed the positive effect of gypsum on growth and yield of raspberries in an infested site. In a third study, `Titan' raspberries grown under greenhouse conditions in pots containing unamended soil from the infested site, then flooded, exhibited severe disease symptoms; however, pasteurization of the soil, treatment with phosphorous acid and metalaxyl fungicide, or gypsum amendment mostly prevented symptoms from developing. These three studies suggest that a preplant soil amendment containing certain readily available forms of calcium, such as found in gypsum, can help suppress phytophthora root rot and increase survival, growth and yield of raspberries in sites where the pathogen is present.

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