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  • Author or Editor: Craig S. 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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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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