Use of soil solarization to control root rots in gerberas (Gerbera jamesonii)
Kaewruang, W., Sivasithamparam, K. and Hardy, G.E.St.J. (1989) Use of soil solarization to control root rots in gerberas (Gerbera jamesonii). Biology and Fertility of Soils, 8 (1). pp. 38-47.
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An investigation was conducted during the summer months of 1986-1987 and 1987-1988 in Western Australia to evaluate the effect of soil solarization on the control of root rot of gerbera an also on the microbial and nutrient status of the soil. Infested soil cores were sampled from a site where root-rot was a severe problem and were removed to a non-infested site where they were subjected to soil solarization or fumigation. Soil solarization resulted in reduced root rot (root disease index 28.6%) in comparison to the untreated control (52.0%) 8 months after planting. Plants in the fumigated plots had 15.8% less disease than those in solarized plots. Solarization increased the total numbers of bacteria and actinomycetes, and the proportion of bacteria and fungi antogonistic to Fusarium oxysporum, F. solani and Rhizoctonia solani. The proportion of actinomycetes antagonistic to these fungi, however, did not differ between solarized and control soil treatments. There was a significant reduction in disease in plants grown in infested fumigated soil to which a 10% concentration of solarized soil had been added, suggesting the development of microbial suppression in solarized soil. Phytophthora cryptogea was eradicated to 30 cm by solarization as well as by fumigation. Solarization eliminated R. solani but not F. oxysporum to a soil depth of 10 cm. Solarization increased the levels of NOn3--N and NH4+-N in soil, but did not affect the concentrations of PO43-, K+, Fe2+, organic C and pH. Yield (as number of flowers per plant) was increased by soil solarization and by fumigation. Increased yields and decreased disease severity in the solarized plots could have been caused by (1) a reduction in the infectivity of the infested soils, (2) an increase in the suppressiveness of the soil, and (3) an increased available of plant nutrients.
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