Examination of Soil Solarization as a Management Tool for Fusarium Wilt of Lettuce: 2005 Field Trial
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractFusarium wilt of lettuce was first recognized in Arizona in 2001. Since this first discovery, the pathogen, Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lactucae (Fol), has been recovered from infected lettuce plants from approximately 30 different fields. This fungus is a soil-borne pathogen that can remain viable in soil for many years. Cultural disease control measures, such as extended soil flooding and soil solarization, have shown promise in managing Fusarium wilt in other cropping systems. The specific research objective during the 2005 growing season was to further evaluate the effect of preplant solarization of planting beds on subsequent development of Fusarium wilt on lettuce. There was no significant difference between the short (28 days) and long (56 days) solarization period in the subsequent number of diseased lettuce plants; therefore, the disease incidence values for both solarization periods were combined and compared to nonsolarized plots. At each data collection date, the number of lettuce plants showing symptoms of Fusarium wilt was significantly lower in solarized beds compared to nonsolarized beds. At plant maturity (Nov 18), Fusarium wilt had claimed virtually all lettuce plants of the cultivar 'Lighthouse' growing in nonsolarized soil; however, only 19% of lettuce plants of the same cultivar growing in solarized soil showed disease symptoms. This equates to an 81% reduction in diseased plants in solarized soil compared to nonsolarized soil. The results of this field trial suggest that a 30-day summer solarization treatment of lettuce beds can significantly reduce the inoculum of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lactucae to levels that would allow substantial growth of a susceptible lettuce cultivar. Additional field studies are needed to refine the solarization process to potentially achieve further increases in efficiency of destroying propagules of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lactucae in infested fields.