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  • Author or Editor: Sacha Buller x
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Growth, fruit yield and quality, and potential tolerance to verticillium wilt (Verticillium dahliae) were compared among non-grafted, self-grafted, and grafted triploid watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb., ‘Crisp’n Sweet’) and heirloom tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, ‘Cherokee Purple’). Rootstocks for watermelon were ‘Emphasis’ bottle gourd (Lagenaria sicerarea) and ‘Strong Tosa’ interspecific squash hybrid (Cucurbita maxima × Cucurbita moschata), and rootstocks for tomato were ‘Beaufort’ and ‘Maxifort’ interspecific tomato (Solanum lycopersicum × Solanum habrochaites). Field trials were carried out in 2010 and 2011 at Hermiston and Eltopia (eastern Oregon and Washington, respectively) and Mount Vernon (western Washington). Grafted watermelon had significantly larger stem diameter than non-grafted and self-grafted plants both years at Mount Vernon, whereas there were no differences at Hermiston or Eltopia. Grafted tomato in 2011 had significantly larger stem diameter than non-grafted and self-grafted plants at Eltopia and Mount Vernon, and ‘Beaufort’-grafted plants were significantly taller than other treatments at Mount Vernon. Grafting did not impact watermelon or tomato fruit yield or quality at any location either year. Foliar symptoms of verticillium were not observed on ‘Crisp’n Sweet’ watermelon at the eastern locations either year; however, at Mount Vernon, ‘Emphasis’ and ‘Strong Tosa’-grafted plants had significantly lower verticillium wilt severity than non-grafted and self-grafted plants both years. Microsclerotia were observed in all recovered watermelon stems sampled at Eltopia and Mount Vernon. V. dahliae was isolated from non-grafted and ‘Emphasis’-grafted ‘Crisp’n Sweet’ stems at Eltopia and non-grafted, self-grafted, and ‘Strong Tosa’-grafted stems at Mount Vernon. Foliar symptoms of verticillium wilt and microsclerotia in stems were not observed on ‘Cherokee Purple’ plants at either location both years despite site histories of the disease. Grafting with ‘Emphasis’ and ‘Strong Tosa’ rootstocks may be an effective strategy for managing verticillium wilt on watermelon in western Washington; however, grafting ‘Cherokee Purple’ onto ‘Beaufort’ and ‘Maxifort’ did not provide any advantages for tomato under the field conditions of this study.

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