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Pest/Disease Management

USDA Study Reveals Airborne Fungus Can Trigger Plant Growth

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) recently announced that a harmless airborne fungus, Cladosporium sphaerospermum strain TC09 (TC09), can dramatically accelerate plant growth if a germinating plant is near the fungus as it emits volatiles or gases. Scientists used tobacco and pepper plants as models to study the conditions for accelerated plant growth once exposed to …

Grafting Watermelon Prevents Disease, WSU Study Shows

A new study from Washington State University’s Department of Horticulture found that splice grafting helps watermelons resist disease. For more than 10 years, watermelon growers in Washington’s Columbia Basin have been struggling with a disease called Verticillium wilt, caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae. The findings were recently published in the American Society for Horticulture Science. For decades, methyl bromide, a fumigant used …

Five Steps for Ag Processors to Adapt their COVID-19 Incident Response Approach

COVID-19 is a health crisis in the United States but major industries, like agriculture, chemical manufacturing, oil and gas exploration and production, all need to keep functioning as essential businesses in the midst of the crisis.  The response to COVID-19 has core parallels to major industrial accident response, which involves deploying the right resources for the task.  Every incident, be …

Evaluating Biological Fungicides Against Fruit Rot in Strawberry

Several crown, fruit, and foliar diseases cause significant yield losses to strawberry.  Gray mold or Botrytis fruit rot caused by Botrytis cinerea, mucor fruit rot by Mucor spp., and Rhizopus fruit rot by Rhizopus spp. are common fungal diseases in California.  Botrytis cinerea is more prevalent and damaging fungus among these pathogens warranting regular fungicidal applications.  Fungal spores survive in plant debris and soil and infection can …

Pythium & INSV Infections in Salinas Lettuce Fields

In 2020 the incidence of Pythium wilt (caused by Pythium uncinulatum) of lettuce has increased in severity and in the number of affected fields. Pythium infections in lettuce fields have been observed frequently, but not always, occurring with INSV infection. As a result, there has been confusion distinguishing between these two diseases and the role of each of them in causing …

Managing Root-Knot Nematodes in Crop Rotations

A question came up about managing root-knot nematodes in processing tomato and lima bean rotations.  Root-knot nematodes are tiny worm-like soil dwelling pests that cause root galling on plant roots, resulting in significant yield and quality losses. Symptoms of severe root-knot infestations include patches of chlorotic, stunted, necrotic, or wilted plants. These nematodes also predispose plants to other soilborne pathogens …

Plant, Insect Viruses Work Together to Spread Disease

In what may be a first for science, researchers with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) have found an example of plant and insect viruses working together to increase their spread. Michelle Heck, an ARS research molecular biologist, was leading research into poleroviruses, a type of plant virus spread by aphids, when she and Cornell University graduate students Jenny Wilson and …

New CA Blackeye Varieties Show Resistance to Cowpea Aphid

Field trials in the Central Valley with two new varieties of blackeye beans, CB74 and CB77, show impressive resistance to cowpea aphids compared to standard CB46, CB5, and CB50 lines. Four varieties of blackeyes including CB46, CB77, CB74, and CB5 were seeded into a blackeye CB50 field, in single lines on 30-inch beds in the Sacramento Valley in May 2020 …

Broomrape: a Parasitic Weed in CA Processing Tomato

Branched broomrape (Phelipanche ramosa), a weedy parasitic plant that can cause devastating damage to many economically important wide range of broadleaf crops including tomato, cabbage, potato, eggplant, carrot, pepper, beans, celery, peanut and sunflower has recently re-emerged in fields in Central Valley counties in California. This weed utilizes a modified root, called haustorium, to fuse into a host plant root and …

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