Jan 24, 2024Avoid Seed Corn Maggots in Spring Melons (2024)To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
Botrytis rot is not considered a major problem in lettuce but it can cause significant damage/loss when the field conditions are favorable for the pathogen. Cool wet conditions are favorable for the pathogen. Symptoms include water-soaked, brownish-gray to brownish-orange, soft wet rot that occurs on the oldest leaves in contact with the soil. Old leaves are more susceptible than young leaves and the fungus can move into the healthy parts. Fuzzy gray growth can be observed in the disease area which is characteristic of the pathogen. In worse cases, the entire plant can collapse. Romaine cultivars, transplanted lettuce that are big and have leaves touching the soil are more susceptible.
The pathogen: Botrytis cinerea
Botrytis cinerea affects most vegetable and fruit crops, as well as a large number of shrubs, trees, flowers, and weeds. Outdoors Botrytis overwinters in the soil as mycelium on plant debris, and as black, hard, flat or irregular sclerotia in the soil and plant debris, or mixed with seed. The fungus is spread by anything that moves soil or plant debris, or transports sclerotia. The fungus requires free moisture (wet surfaces) for germination, and cool 60 to 77 F, damp weather with little wind for optimal infection, growth, sporulation, and spore release. Botrytis is also active at low temperatures, and can cause problems on vegetables stored for weeks or months at temperatures ranging from 32 to 50. Infection rarely occurs at temperatures above 77 F. Once infection occurs, the fungus grows over a range of 32 to 96 F.
Masses of microscopic conidia (asexual spores) are produced on the surface of colonized tissues in tiny grape-like clusters (see picture). They are carried by humid air currents, splashing water, tools, and clothing, to healthy plants where they initiate new infections. Conidia usually do not penetrate living tissue directly, but rather infect through wounds, or by first colonizing dead tissues (old flower petals, dying foliage, etc.) then growing into the living parts of the plant.
1. Buy high-quality seed of recommended varieties. Treat the seed before planting.
2. Practice clean cultivation. Plant in a light, well-drained, well-prepared, fertile seedbed at the time recommended for your area. If feasible, sterilize the seedbed soil before planting, preferably with heat. Steam all soil used for plantbeds at 180 F (81 C) for 30 minutes or 160 F (71 C) for one hour.
3. Avoid heavy soils, heavy seeding, overcrowding, poor air circulation, planting too deep, over-fertilizing (especially with nitrogen), and wet mulches.
4. Focus on healthy plant vigor. Do not over fertilize.
5. Use drop or furrow irrigation instead of sprinklers. If sprinklers have to be used, irrigate morning or early afternoon giving enough time for foliage to dry.
6. Apply recommended fungicides when conditions favor disease development. Make sure to rotate fungicide to avoid development of resistance.
A couple years ago, we conducted evaluations of various “new” technologies for cultivating weeds in cotton as compared to conventional methods. The new technologies included 1) a camera-guided side-shift hitch and 2) finger weeders, an in-row weeding tool (Fig. 1). Camera-guidance of the maneuverable hitch allows cultivating tools to be positioned close to the seed row. In the study, the uncultivated band was 3.5" for the camera-guided system, and 6” for the conventional cultivator. The aim of evaluating these technologies was to determine their efficacy in controlling herbicide resistant weeds. Trials conducted over 3 years showed that use of camera-guidance improved weed control by more than 30% and finger weeders removed about 45% of the in-row weeds. Overall weed control using the two technologies together was roughly > 90% for broadleaf weeds and about 85% for all weeds species.
Studies conducted by Texas A&M over two years showed similar results (Dotray et. al, 2021).
It is logical to think that similar type results would be realized in vegetable crops such as broccoli and cauliflower, plants that also have fairly long plant stems at the seedling stage of growth. A better than 40% reduction of in-row weeds would significantly lower hand weeding requirements. If you are interested in trying these technologies in vegetable or other crops on your farm, please contact me. We still have the equipment and I’d be happy to work with you.
A presentation given on the trial results and videos of the equipment used operating can be found by clicking here or on image below.
Dotray, P.A., Keeling, J.W., & Russell, K.R. 2021. Precision cultivation with finger weeder systems. Project No. 20-190 Final Report. Cary, N.C: Cotton Inc.
Project partially funded and supported by Arizona Cotton Growers Association, Cotton Inc., KULT-Kress, LLC and Keithly-Williams Fabrication. We thank them for their support.
Fig. 1. Technologies for precision cultivation and in-row weeding used in
efficacy trials included a a) a camera-guided side-shift hitch attached to a
cultivator and b) in-row weeding tools (finger weeders).
Fig. 2. Click on image above to watch presentation on precision cultivation and
in-row weeding technologies.
The following is the FIRST WEED SCIENCE ARTICLE OF THIS NEWSLETTER published January 13, 2010 by our friend Barry Tickes.
The selective grass herbicides are good rescue type treatments in vegetables for grasses that have gotten through Pefar, Kerb and Balan. These include Poast (sethoxydim), Select (clethodim) and Fusilade (fluazifop) and the generics of these products. These herbicides are all slow and even slower as temperature and day length drop. If you don't like weeds, you can have the satisfaction of watching them suffer for a long time. Treated grasses should stop growing immediately and will slowly turn yellow, red and gradually disappear as the crop grows. This will likely take 2 to 3 weeks. Poast is the slowest and Select is the fastest. All of these herbicides require the addition of a crop oil concentrate except for Select Max which you can use with either a crop oil concentrate or non-ionic surfactant. Some reports indicate that ammonium sulfate will help in cold weather. If you have used one of these products and don't see adequate control within 3 or 4 weeks, please contact us and we'll look at it with you.
As Barry promised in his 2010 article he will be looking at some field trials with me today!