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Project description

A combination of soil solarization and biofumigation for the control of root-knot nematodes. (00CC020)
Program UC IPM competitive research grants program
A.T. Ploeg, Nematology, UC Riverside
Host/habitat Melons
Pest Root-Knot Nematode Meloidogyne spp.
Discipline Nematology
Cultural Controls
Start year (duration)  2000 (Two Years)
Objectives Determine the effects of treatment period, soil temperature and amount of Brassica plant waste incorporated into the soil, on the infection of melon by the root-knot nematodes Meloidogyne incognita and M. javanica.

Determine levels of root-knot nematode control and yield response of melon that can be achieved by a combined soil solarization-biofumigation method under field conditions.

Final report In greenhouse and in field experiments the effect of soil heating in combination with amending soil with broccoli on nematode damage to melon was studied. This study was done because it had already been shown that with such a strategy crop damage by several soil-borne fungal diseases could be managed to acceptable levels. In the initial greenhouse studies, vials containing root-knot nematode-infested soil were amended or not amended with fresh chopped broccoli leaves and stems. They were then left for varying periods of time at a range of soil temperatures. Melons were then seeded in these vials and nematode damage to the melons was assessed. These experiments showed that by amending the soil with broccoli, the time necessary to achieve nematode control was much shorter and the soil temperature necessary to achieve control was much reduced. However, these effects were obvious only at soil temperatures from 25 to 35C. Subsequent to these greenhouse experiments, the effects of amending soil with broccoli in combination with soil solarization (biofumigation treatment) were studied in field experiments on root-knot nematode infested plots at two locations (South Coast Research and Extension Center, Kearney Research and Extension Center) over a 2 year period and compared to a Telone treatment and untreated controls. The biofumigation treatments consisted of incorporation of chopped broccoli leaves and stems (leftovers after broccoli harvest) at a rate of 8 kg/m2 and covering the moist beds with clear 4 mil plastic for a 3 week period. There were minor differences in the effects of the biofumigation treatments between the two locations and between the two years. However, in general biofumigation increased melon fruit yields compared to the non-treated control, but failed to dramatically reduce root-knot nematode populations at time of harvest. Our general conclusion is that the biofumigation method may be a suitable method for maintaining melon yields in root-knot nematode infested sites, but it does not prevent build up of nematodes. Although we did not collect data on weed density, the biofumigation method resulted in a very obvious reduction in the weed population that emerged soon after melon seeding, compared to the untreated controls.

In the second year of this field study, the control of root-knot nematodes by a preplant soil solarization combined with incorporation of broccoli leaf and stem refuse (=solarization+broccoli treatment) was compared with non-treated and Telone-treated controls. Melon var. Durango was planted as an assay crop. The study was done at two root-knot nematode-infested sites: SouthCoast research and Extension Center (SCREC) in Irvine, and Kearney Research and Extension Center at Parlier.

Soil analysis showed that at start of the treatments there were minor differences in the nematode infestation levels between the different treatments. Overall, pre-treatment populations were higher at SCREC than at KREC. The effects of Telone and the solarization+broccoli treatment on fruit yields were very similar at both sites. Both these treatments increased yields (lbs. fruitperplot) compared to the non-treated fallow control. Telone reduced root-galling of melon, caused by the nematodes, stronger than the solarization+broccoli. At harvest of the melons, nematode populations at both sites were highest after the solarization+broccoli treatment.

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