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  • Author or Editor: Jim Menzies x
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Foliar sprays of a nonswelling chlorite mica clay were applied to leaves of greenhouse-grown long English cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants, either before or after an artificial inoculation with powdery mildew [Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlech.:Fr.) Poll.] and to field-grown wine grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) before natural inoculation with powdery mildew [Uncinula necator (Schwein.) Burrill]. In all cases, the clay sprays did not eradicate the pathogen, but resulted in significant reductions in disease severity. In cucumber, a single spray of 0.5% clay reduced colony numbers on leaves by up to 60%. Spraying after inoculation was generally more effective than spraying before inoculation. In grapes, repeated sprays of either 2% or 4% clay were applied through the season to `Reisling' and `Chancellor' vines. Four percent clay reduced the amount of leaf surface covered by mildew by 22% in `Reisling' and 51% in `Chancellor'. Both concentrations reduced the incidence of mildew on clusters and canes. No treatment effects were observed on fruit quality. Our results demonstrate that foliar sprays of clay can reduce the severity of Sphaerotheca fuliginea and Uncinula necator on cucumbers and grapes, respectively.

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The effect of soluble potassium silicate applied to cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), muskmelon (C. melo L.), and zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) on the severity of powdery mildew was examined. Application methods included amending nutrient solutions to a concentration of 1.7 mm Si and foliar sprays containing 1.7, 8.5, 17, and 34 mm Si. Untreated plants and plants sprayed with distilled water were used as controls. The leaves of all plants were inoculated with known concentrations of conidia of Sphaerotheca fuliginea (Schlecht.:Fr.) Poll. (cucumber and mu&melon) or Erysiphe cichoracearum DC.: Merat (zucchini squash) 1 day after the sprays were applied. Inoculated leaves on plants receiving the Si-amended nutrient solution or foliar sprays of ≥ 17.0 mm Si developed fewer powdery mildew colonies than those on control plants. Results of a separate experiment that included a potassium spray, indicated that the active ingredient of the potassium silicate sprays appears to be Si. Experiments to test the persistence of Si foliar sprays on cucumber demonstrated that a 17 mm Si spray applied 7 days before inoculation with S. fuliginea reduced mildew colony formation.

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The effect of root or leaf applications of soluble Si on severity of grape (Vitis vinifera L.) powdery mildew [Uncinula necator (Schwein) Burrill] was determined. On potted plants, root-feeding at 1.7 mm Si had no effect on disease severity, but foliar sprays at 17 mm Si substantially reduced the number of mildew colonies that developed on inoculated leaves. Scanning electron micrographs showed that, on Si-sprayed leaves, hyphae did not develop in areas where thick Si deposits were present on the leaf surface; and where surface deposits were not present, Si was translocated laterally through the leaf and surrounded the appressoria. Leaves on plants that were fed Si via roots showed a similar deposition of Si surrounding the appressoria. On water-sprayed leaves and leaves from untreated plants, internal deposition of Si was more variable and generally less than on Si-sprayed or root-fed plants. Conidia germination and germtube development on agar media were weakly promoted by the presence of Si. Reduced severity of grape mildew by Si sprays may be partly due to a physical barrier to hyphal penetration and to a resistance response involving the lateral movement of Si and its deposition within the leaf at fungal penetration sites.

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