Evaluation of a Biologically Intensive Integrated Pest Management System for Sclerotinia Drop on Lettuce: 2006 Study
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AbstractSclerotinia drop of lettuce, caused by the pathogenic fungi Sclerotinia minor and S. sclerotiorum, is a serious disease in most regions were this crop is grown. Conventional fungicides, such as Rovral (iprodione) and Endura (boscalid), are usually applied after lettuce is thinned and once more 2 to 3 weeks later. Two biological products, Contans (Coniothyrium minitans) and Serenade (Bacillus subtilis), are also available. In earlier field trials conducted from 2001 to 2004 in the presence of S. minor, the mean reduction in disease by Contans, Serenade and Endura was 36, 21 and 51%, respectively. The main objective of the current study was to determine the efficacy of the biological products Contans and Serenade, applied alone or in combination with each other or the conventional fungicide Endura, within a biologically intensive integrated pest management system for Sclerotinia drop on lettuce caused by S. minor. The study was conducted at the The University of Arizona, Yuma Valley Agricultural Center. Sclerotia of Sclerotinia minor were produced in the laboratory. Lettuce ‘Winterhaven’ was seeded and sclerotia were applied to the plots on Nov 14, 2005 and the final disease assessment at plant maturity was made Mar 13, 2006. There was a high degree of variability among the replicate plots for each treatment in this trial, as well as an overall low disease incidence, which made statistical comparisons of data difficult. The only treatment in this trial that significantly lowered disease incidence compared to nontreated plots was an initial application of Contans at seeding followed by Endura at thinning. This study was established in a field containing well-draining loam soil, which combined with the lack of any rainfall and the use of furrow irrigations in January and February, which kept the tops of beds dry, likely contributed to the excessive variability and low incidence of disease.