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R.G. Linderman and E.A. Davis

Formation of arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) has been inhibited in soilless potting mixes that usually contain some proportion of peat moss. The cause of the inhibition has been thought to be high fertilizer P content in the media that suppresses spread of the fungal symbiont in the root tissue. However, there has also been some suggestion that the peats themselves may contribute to the inhibition. That possibility was explored in this study. A sandy-loam soil, in which mycorrhizae consistently enhance plant growth under P-limiting conditions, was amended with six different peats. Onions (Allium cepa 'White Lisbon'), as an indicator host, were grown in the mixes under P-limiting conditions, and were inoculated or not with the AM fungi Glomus deserticola or Gigaspora rosea. Plant growth response to inoculation with AM fungi (AMF) varied with the type of peat and AMF isolate. Inoculated plants generally had the highest root biomass when grown in soil amended with peat. Root colonization by the two fungal symbionts was also affected differently by different peat amendments. Root colonization by Glomus deserticola and Gigaspora rosea was inhibited by at least half of the peat types. However, the types of peat inhibitory to Gigaspora rosea colonization were not the same as those inhibitory to Glomus deserticola colonization. These results indicate that different peat amendments can suppress or enhance mycorrhiza formation on onion roots and resultant growth benefit under P-limiting conditions, depending on the mycorrhizal fungus used.

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R.G. Linderman and E.A. Davis

Coconut fiber dust (coir) is being used as a peat substitute or amendment to potting mixes with varied results. However, its microbial composition and compatibility with beneficial microbes that might be added to growth media in the nursery, such as mycorrhizal fungi, has not been determined. In this study, coir was amended to a peat-based medium (15%, 30%, 45%, and 60% by volume) to determine its effects on growth of several ornamental plants and on the formation and function of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Glomus intraradices. Mycorrhizae formed as well, and usually better, in all the coir-amended peat treatments as in peat alone. The magnitude of growth enhancement due to mycorrhizae was small for the plants tested in these media compared to that which usually occurs in soil-based media. In this experiment, plant growth responses appeared to be independent of level of mycorrhizal colonization and were plant species dependent. Consistent growth enhancement from mycorrhizae only occurred with marigold (Tagetes patula). With germander (Teucrium fruticans), growth was depressed with mycorrhizal inoculation in the medium composed of 60% coir. Growth of lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) was depressed in all coir-amended media, with or without AM inoculation, compared to the nonamended control. These results confirm previous reports of varied response of plant species to coir, and indicate the lack of any detrimental effects of coir on mycorrhiza formation.

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R.G. Linderman and E.A. Davis

Formation and function of arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM) are affected by levels of fertility in soil or fertilizers applied to soilless container mixes. For AM fungi, phosphorus (P) is the main element influencing colonization of host plant roots. The question addressed in this study was whether inorganic or organic fertilizers were more compatible with the formation and function of AM. Several controlled-release inorganic (CRI) fertilizers were compared with several organic (OR) fertilizers at different rates (½× to 4× the recommended rate) to determine (1) threshold levels of tolerance by the AM fungus Glomus intraradices in relation to root colonization, and (2) growth responses of `Guardsman' bunching onion (Allium cepa) and `Orange Cupido' miniature rose (Rosa spp.) plants grown in a soilless potting mix or sandy loam soil. AM colonization in soil was greatly decreased or totally inhibited by CRI fertilizers with high P content at the 2× rate or greater, whereas colonization was decreased but never eliminated by low-P OR fertilizers at the 3× rate or greater. Shoot growth of onions was similar with or without AM inoculation when fertilized with CRI, but in general was only enhanced by OR fertilizers if inoculated with AM fungi, compared to the noninoculated controls. Shoot and root growth of onions were significantly increased by AM inoculation when OR fertilizers were used at the 1× rate. In contrast, root growth was not increased by the combination of CRI fertilizers and AM fungal inoculation. Inoculation of miniature roses grown in sandy loam amended with 25% peat and perlite and fertilized with all the CRI or OR fertilizers resulted in high AM colonization, but without much AM-induced growth increase except where OR fertilizers or CRI fertilizers with low P were used. In a soilless potting mix, growth of miniature roses was less with OR fertilizers at the rates used than CRI fertilizers, but mycorrhiza formation was greater in the former unless P was low in the latter. These results indicate that release of nutrients from organic fertilizers, as a result of microbial activity, favors AM establishment and function more than most inorganic fertilizers unless P levels of the latter are low.

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R.G. Linderman and E.A. Davis

Phytophthora ramorum survived in potting media infested with sporangia or chlamydospores, allowing the pathogen to remain undetected while disseminated geographically. Chlamydospores or oospores of P. ramorum, Pythium irregulare, Thielaviopsis basicola, and Cylindrocladium scoparium produced in vermiculite culture were used to infest potting media. Infested media in plastic plug flats were treated with aerated steam mixtures from 45 to 70 °C for 30 min. In a second experiment, infested media were fumigated in polyethylene bags with a concentration series of metam sodium ranging from 0.25 to 1.0 mL·L−1. Survival of the pathogens was determined by selective baiting or direct plating the infested media on PARP selective medium. Assays indicated that all pathogens in the infested potting media were killed by aerated steam heat treatments of 50 °C or higher. Metam sodium concentrations of 1.0 mL·L−1 of medium or greater also eradicated all pathogens from the potting medium and soil. These results show that aerated steam treatment or fumigation with metam sodium can effectively sanitize soil-less potting media infested with P. ramorum or other soilborne pathogens, as well as P. ramorum-infested soil beneath infected plant containers. In addition, steam treatments to 70 °C did not melt plastic plug trays.

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R.G. Linderman and E.A. Davis

Composted materials with high humic and microbial content, and their water extracts, are increasingly used in the nursery industry as potting mix components or as liquid amendments for the purposes of enhancing plant growth. Common speculation is that such materials either contain beneficial microbes or stimulate those in or added to the medium, such as vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi, known to have growth-stimulating effects on plants. Experiments were conducted to determine if one such compost enhanced plant growth by stimulating VAM fungi or other growth-enhancing microbes, by simply providing limiting nutrients [phosphorus (P)], or a combination of the two. Highly mycorrhiza-responsive onion (Allium cepa) `White Lisbon' was used to evaluate the interactions of composted grape pomace (CGP), the VAM fungus Glomus intraradices, and preplant soil heat treatment on onion growth under P-limiting conditions. CGP and its water extract stimulated onion growth under P-limiting conditions in the absence of VAM; the extract was more effective than the granular CGP. Growth was enhanced further by addition of G. intraradices, and the extract enhanced its colonization of roots. Heat pretreatment of the soil inconsistently affected growth-enhancement by CGP or its extract. Thus, inoculating plant roots with mycorrhizal fungi in combination with this composted organic amendment or its extract was beneficial. The effect could have been due to the CGP providing a source of P to overcome the P-limiting conditions, and to the mycorrhizal fungus enhancing P uptake by its extraradical hyphae and thereby increasing nutrient-use efficiency.

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David R. Bryla and Robert G. Linderman

A 2-year study was done in Oregon to determine the effects of irrigation method and level of water application on the development of root rot in northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L. ‘Duke’). Plants were grown on mulched, raised beds and irrigated by overhead sprinklers, microsprays, or drip at 50%, 100%, and 150% of the estimated crop evapotranspiration requirement. Soil at the site was a silty clay loam. By the end of the first season, plants were largest with drip, intermediate-sized with microsprays and smallest with sprinklers; however, this was not the case the next season. By the end of year 2, plants irrigated by drip had less canopy cover, fewer new canes, lower pruning weights, and only half the shoot and root dry weight as plants irrigated by sprinklers or microsprays. Destructive sampling revealed that the field was infested by root rot. Less growth with drip was association with higher levels of infection by the root pathogen, Phytophthora cinnamomi. Phytophthora infection increased with water application, regardless of irrigation method, but averaged 14% with drip and only 7% with sprinklers and microsprays. Roots were also infected by Pythium spp. Pythium infection likewise increased with the total amount of water applied but, unlike P. cinnamomi, was similar among irrigation methods. Overall, drip irrigation maintained higher soil water content near the base of the plants than sprinklers and microsprays, resulting in conditions more favorable to root rot. Sprinklers and microsprays may be better alternatives than drip at sites prone to problems with the disease.

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R.G. Linderman, E.A. Davis and J.L. Marlow

Many nursery crops are susceptible to root and foliage diseases caused by numerous species of Phytophthora. Phytophthora ramorum causes sudden oak death of trees and ramorum leaf blight and shoot dieback on numerous nursery plants, including rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.), viburnum (Viburnum spp.), pieris (Pieris spp.), and camellia (Camellia spp.) in Europe, the United States, and British Columbia, Canada. We sought to evaluate relative susceptibility of a selection of ornamental nursery crops by inoculating detached leaves with several species of Phytophthora known to infect rhododendrons, and to compare the relative virulence on those species to isolates of P. ramorum. The results indicated that many plants were susceptible under these experimental conditions, while others were not. On a given host, symptoms caused by all species of Phytophthora were identical except for differences in pathogen virulence. Plant species were identical except for differences in pathogen virulence. Plant species within genera or cultivars within species varied in susceptibility to isolates of P. ramorum and other species of Phytophthora. Phytophthora ramorum, P. citricola, P. citrophthora, and P. nicotianae were the most virulent pathogens on most of the host plants inoculated. Some plants were susceptible to several species of Phytophthora, while others were susceptible only to P. ramorum. Inoculation of detached leaves of `Nova Zembla' rhododendron, lilac (Syringa vulgaris), or doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum) under controlled conditions with different species of Phytophthora or isolates of P. ramorum (both mating types) indicated significant relative differences in species or isolate virulence.

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David R. Bryla, Robert G. Linderman and Wei Q. Yang

Fifty-five commercial blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) fields were sampled in northwest Oregon in 2001 to determine the incidence of Phytophthora and Pythium root rot pathogens and identify cultural factors that increase the probability of developing infection. Phytophthora was detected in 24% and Pythium was detected in 85% of the fields sampled. The only species of Phytophthora identified in the study was P. cinnamomi. Root infection by P. cinnamomi was significantly related to cultivar with incidence observed more frequently than expected in ‘Duke’ and ‘Bluecrop’. Both blueberry cultivars are two of the most popular grown in the region, representing 42% of the fields in this survey and ≈46% of the total area planted in Oregon. Two other cultivars found infected by P. cinnamomi were ‘Rubel’ and ‘Briggitta Blue’, together accounting for an additional 24% of the fields surveyed. Phytophthora was not detected in fields planted with ‘Berkeley’, ‘Bluejay’, ‘Bluetta’, ‘Darrow’, ‘Earliblue’, ‘Elliott’, and ‘Powderblue’, each of which represented only 2% to 7% of the fields surveyed. Pythium spp. were identified to genus only, but one or more species of Pythium was found in all 11 cultivars included in the survey. Occurrence of either Phytophthora or Pythium was unrelated to soil type, planting age, or cultural practices such as bed type, cover crop, mulch, irrigation system, fertilizer application, fungicide use, or the source of plant material used in the fields. Overall, most fields with Phytophthora or Pythium remained largely symptomless under good soil drainage conditions and had similar levels of vigor as those without the pathogens.

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S. Laywisadkul, C.F. Scagel, L.H. Fuchigami and R.G. Linderman

Recent field observations by growers suggest that increased nitrogen (N) content in nursery trees resulting from foliar sprays with urea in the autumn increases tree susceptibility to infection by Phytophthora syringae. We investigated the effects of soil N availability and spraying pear (Pyrus communis ‘OHF 97’) trees with combinations of urea, chelated copper ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (CuEDTA), and phosphonate-containing fungicides on stem N concentration and susceptibility to infection by P. syringae. Increasing soil N availability increased susceptibility to P. syringae and increased N and amino acid concentration in stems. Spraying trees with urea in the autumn increased concentrations of N and amino acids in stems and had no significant effect on tree susceptibility when stems were inoculated with P. syringae before or after urea sprays. Spraying trees with CuEDTA decreased stem N concentrations and had no significant influence on tree susceptibility to P. syringae when stems were inoculated before or after CuEDTA sprays. These results suggest the relationship between tree susceptibility to P. syringae and tree N concentration may be specific to the form of N, delivery method, or timing of N applications. Trees had higher N concentrations in stems in November than in October and were more susceptible to P. syringae when inoculated in November, suggesting that environmental factors and increasing tree dormancy may be responsible for changes in susceptibility to the pathogen. Spraying trees with fungicides containing fosetyl-aluminum in October or November decreased tree susceptibility to P. syringae. The effects of fungicides containing fosetyl-aluminum on susceptibility were similar regardless of whether trees were sprayed or not with urea or CuEDTA, suggesting that these fungicides can be used in combination with urea or CuEDTA sprays for reducing disease severity caused by P. syringae without impacting growers' objective of increasing tree N content with urea or enhancing early defoliation with CuEDTA.

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James L. Green, R.G. Linderman, B. Blackburn and K.A. Smith

Verticle gradients of moisture, salinity, specific fertilizer ions, and pH in the root zone in the closed, insulated pallet system (CIPS) are relatively stable compared with those in the open container system (OCS). Establishment of the VA mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices and maintenance of the biocontrol fungus Trichoderma harzianum and the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema carpocapsae were greater in CIPS than in control OCS. In CIPS, percent corn root length colonized by G. intraradices was greatest in roots in the top stratum of the root medium. Colonization was significantly greater in copper-coated root-containment pouches. Population maintenance in CIPS of T. harzianum, initially uniformly inoculated throughout the root medium, was highest in the top stratum of the root medium where K+ and \batchmode \documentclass[fleqn,10pt,legalpaper]{article} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amsmath} \pagestyle{empty} \begin{document} \(\mathrm{NO}_{3}^{-}\) \end{document} concentrations were highest. Efficacy of S. carpocapsae in parasitizing Galleria mellonella larvae, while greater in CIPS, was significantly related to host plant in CIPS but not in OCS. Inoculation with bacterial antagonists Bacillus cereus, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Serratia plymuthica significantly increased plant growth in CIPS, but not in OCS. Phytophthora cinnomomi root rot infection readily occurred in inoculated plants, but did not spread to noninoculated plants in CIPS when roots were contained within plant pouches. Because of the stability of the root zone parameters and the lack of leaching-dilution of exudates, volatiles, and other materials from the root zone, CIPS is an excellent system for evaluating effects of microorganism and other factors on root growth and development.