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  • Author or Editor: Craig Rothrock x
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Brassica green manure soil amendments are a possible alternative to chemical management of soilborne diseases of ornamental landscape and bedding plants. The objective of this study was to determine the importance of crop selection and application rate of brassica green manures for disease caused by Rhizoctonia solani on impatiens and petunia. Microplot experiments were conducted over 2 years using brassica green manure soil amendments for R. solani management of both petunias and impatiens. Brassica crops used were Brassica juncea ‘Fumus’ and ‘Bionute’, and Brassica napus ‘Jetton’, at the application rates of 700, 1400, and 4200 g·m−2 fresh weight aboveground biomass. Microplots were artificially infested to evaluate disease on these ornamentals, with a second set of experiments using noninfested plots to examine effects of the green manure alone on plant growth. All brassica green manure crops reduced disease symptoms in both impatiens and petunias. Rate of brassica application was more important than brassica crop variety for use as a green manure. The highest rate of the brassica green manure decreased crown lesions by 21% and 24%, root discoloration by 9% and 7%, and R. solani isolation by 15% and 8% for impatiens and petunias, respectively, for 4200 g·m−2 compared with 700 g·m−2 rates of application. No phytotoxic effects were observed from the brassica green manures following a waiting period of 4 weeks between amending the soil and planting the ornamental crops.

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Growth of Pythium aphanidermatum, Pythium ultimum, Pythium irregulare, Phytophthora nicoctianae, Phytophthora cinnomomi, Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizoctonia solani and Thielaviopsis basicoli was inhibited in vitro when grown in a clarified V-8 nutrient solution containing 10% garlic extract. After exposure to 10% garlic extract for 3 days, all fungi and fungal-like organisms failed to grow after being washed and transferred to fresh cornmeal agar nutrient medium without garlic extract. When Sphagnum peat was inoculated with P. aphanidermatum and drenched with solutions containing varying concentrations of garlic extract, a single drench of 35% garlic extract or two drenches of 15% garlic extract were required to rid the substrate of viable P. aphanidermatum. In sand, a single application of 25% garlic extract or two applications of 10% garlic extract were required to rid the sand of viable P. aphanidermatum Thus, Sphagnum peat appeared to partially inactivate the components in garlic and did so to a greater extent than sand. Therefore, efficacy of garlic extract as a soil drench fungicide will be affected by the type of substrate or soil to which the garlic extract is applied.

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Pythium aphanidermatum, Pythium irregulare, Pythium ultimum, Phytophthora cinnomomi, Phytophthora nicotianae, Rhizoctonia solani, Fusarium oxysporum, and Thielaviopsis basicoli grew and eventually covered petri plates containing a nutrient solution alone, but they failed to grow in nutrient solutions containing 10% or higher levels of garlic extract or a fungicide control. When plugs containing the fungal organisms exposed to 10% garlic (Allium sativum) extract solution for 48 h were washed and transferred to fresh cornmeal agar (CMA) growth medium, only F. oxysporum displayed growth. However, growth of F. oxysporum was limited to no greater than 2 mm from the original inoculum plug. After a single application of a solution containing at least 35% garlic extract or two applications containing 25%, viable P. aphanidermatum could not be recovered from a peat-based root substrate. By contrast, after a single application of a solution containing 25% garlic extract or two applications of 10%, we were unable to recover viable P. aphanidermatum from a sand substrate. When peat treated with increasing concentrations of garlic extract was placed on CMA inoculated with P. aphanidermatum, the first visual sign of a zone of inhibition occurred for peat saturated with 30% garlic extract solution and the zone increased as the garlic extract concentration increased. By contrast, when sand treated with increasing concentrations of garlic extract was placed on CMA inoculated with P. aphanidermatum, the first visual sign of a zone of inhibition occurred when saturated with 10% garlic extract solution. Therefore, the garlic extract was found to be fungicidal against a broad range of soilborne fungal organisms, but the concentration required to kill the organisms varied depending on root substrate.

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The highbush blueberry cultivar Bluecrop was inoculated with potential plant growth-promoting (PGPR) candidates, including bacterial inoculants Pseudomonas fluorescens (Migula) (strains Pf 5, PRA 25, 105, or 101), Bacillus pumilus (Mayer and Gottheil) (strain T4), Pseudomonas corrugata (Roberts and Scarlett) (strain 114), and fungal isolates Gliocladium virens (Miller et al., Von Arx) (strain Gl.21) and Trichoderma harzianum (Rifai) (strain T 22). Addition of G. virens to pasteurized soil increased leaf area and the number of leaves produced in a 4-month growth period, as well as shoot content of P, Zn and Cu in 1997. Treatment with P. fluorescens Pf 5 increased leaf area and stem diameter. In nonpasteurized soil, plants inoculated with G. virens had greater leaf area, stem diameter, shoot and root dry weight, and more leaves per plant. These results demonstrate the potential of G. virens for increasing growth when used to inoculate blueberry plants in the nursery or at transplanting.

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Phytophthora root rot is a severe disease on blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) in poorly drained soils. Little is known about how mulching and frequent waterlogging affect disease severity in blueberries. Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands was grown on rice hulls, which were incorporated into the soil at the rate of 10% (v:v). Waterlogging conditions were imposed for 48 hours 1 week after planting on mulched and nonmulched blueberry plants at weekly, biweekly, and monthly intervals for a total of 3 months. Control plants were not subjected to flooding. The severity of Phytophthora root rot increased with time. Significant linear relationships were found between flooding interval and disease severity rating of shoot, percentage of root infection, and shoot and root dry weights of plants. Disease symptoms were minimal in control plants, but shoot disease rating and percentage of root infection were high in mulched and nonmulched plants that were flooded every week. Shoot and root dry weights were higher in 1997 than in 1996. In 1996, mulched plants had higher shoot dry weights than did nonmulched plants. Disease incidence was higher with weekly and biweekly flooding than with monthly or no flooding. However, mulching did not affect root infection.

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Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) is a common annual bedding plant species that is susceptible to root and stem rot caused by Phytophthora nicotianae. The experimental design was a 6×2×1 factorial with a total of 12 treatment combinations that had five replications and was repeated twice. Vinca seeds were planted in the middle nine plugs of a 5×5 five-milliliter round plug tray filled with sphagnum peat (control) or peat amended with 2.1 kg/m3 calcitic lime, 5.9 and 7.3 kg/m3 potassium silicate alone and combined with 3.0 kg/m3 calcium sulfate. A peat control drenched with metalaxyl after inoculation was also included. After germination, when the seedlings had one true leaf, half of the treatments were inoculated with 500 cfu of Phytophthora nicotianae per plug cell while the other half remained uninoculated. The percentage of germination for the potassium silicate combined with calcium sulfate (KSCS) (79% and 78%) was similar to the control (86%) and the metalaxyl treatment (83%), whereas the potassium silicate alone had poorer germination (69% and 71%) and plant growth. The percentage of mortality for the KSCS treatment (6% and 14%) was similar to the metalaxyl treatment (9%) but was significantly less than the control (100%). The average dry shoot and root weights for the KSCS treatments (4.4 and 4.9 mg; 2.7 and 2.2 mg) were similar to the metalaxyl treatment (5.0 and 3.6 mg) and the uninoculated control (5.0 and 3.2 mg), but were higher than the potassium silicate treatment alone (2.1 and 1.6 mg; 0.7 and 0.6 mg).

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