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Mike Stanghellini and Jonathan R. Schultheis*

In 1999 and 2000, a total of 28 diploid watermelon cultigens (released cultivars and advanced breeding lines) were evaluated for staminate flower and pollen grain production to assess their potential to serve as pollenizers (pollen source plants) in triploid watermelon production systems. Male reproductive output (staminate flower and pollen production) was quantified during the peak flowering and fruit setting phase of the cultigens under field conditions. The number of staminate flowers produced per plant per day, number of pollen grains produced per flower, and total number of pollen grains produced per plant per day (staminate flowers per plant x pollen grains produced per flower) differed greatly between cultigens (for all tests, P < 0.01). Staminate flower production by cultigens differed by year (P < 0.0003) and days-within-years (P = 0.0094), but pollen production between years by cultigens was stable (P = 0.3845). Total male reproductive output ranged from 134,206 pollen grains per plant per day for `Jamboree' to 321,905 pollen grains per plant per day for `Summer Flavor 500'. These studies demonstrate the genotypic variability in watermelon male reproductive output potential, and may assist growers in selecting an optimal diploid pollenizer for triploid watermelon production.

Open access

Mark Hoffmann, Husein A. Ajwa, Becky B. Westerdahl, Steven T. Koike, Mike Stanghellini, Cheryl Wilen and Steven A. Fennimore

Allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) is a glucosinolate produced in cruciferous plant species. AITC is known to act as a pesticide on microorganisms, insects, and weeds. Synthetic AITC is registered as a biopesticide for agricultural soil treatment use in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Although a potent pesticide, reports on the weed and pathogen control efficacy of synthetic AITC applied as soil disinfectant are highly variable. Due to the low vapor pressure of AITC, questions remain as to whether pest and weed control efficacy can be improved by combining it with other chemicals. The objective of this study was to assess the control efficacy of AITC stand-alone applications vs. applications, in which AITC was combined with the standard-fumigants chloropicrin, 1,3-dichloropicrin, and methyl isothiocyanate. Two shank-applied on-farm field trials were conducted in cut flower [delphinium (Delphinium elatum), ranunculus (Ranunculus asiaticus)] fields, and two drip tape applied field trials in strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) fields in California. Weed pressure, weed seed viability, nematode survival, and pathogen survival of Pythium ultimum, fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum), and verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae) were assessed. Cumulative yearly yield of marketable fruit was assessed in the strawberry field trials. The results of this study show that the use of AITC as a stand-alone treatment provided no consistent weed or pathogen control efficacy. However, our results also indicate that shank and drip applied multitactic fumigation approaches with AITC can efficiently control soil-borne diseases and weeds. These findings have potential implications, especially in those areas where certain fumigants are restricted due to regulations and/or availability.