Fusarium wilt, caused by race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum, is a critically important disease problem in California cotton (Pima, Gossypium barbadense; Upland, G. hirsutum). Because few cultivars with resistance to race 4 are available, alternative management strategies for this disease are needed. Four soil treatments (50:50 methyl-bromide + chloropicrin as a positive control; 60:40 chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene; 6 weeks of solarization; and metam-sodium) were evaluated for efficacy against race 4 in a naturally infested, heavy clay soil. Treatments were evaluated based on plant mortality, height, number of mainstem nodes, vascular discoloration ratings, and soil counts of F. oxysporum. Two cultivars each of Pima and Upland cotton varying in resistance to race 4 were used. Plant mortality was lowest in methyl-bromide + chloropicrin, solarization, and chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene treatments, and highest in the nontreated and metam-sodium treatments. Although most plant mortality occurred within 5 weeks after planting, substantial mortality of the susceptible Pima cultivar DP 744 accumulated for up to 10 weeks. Seven to eight weeks after planting, plants in methyl-bromide + chloropicrin and chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene treatments were taller and had more mainstem nodes than in other treatments. Vascular discoloration was reduced in methyl-bromide + chloropicrin and solarization treatments compared with the nontreated control, metam-sodium, and chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene treatments. Soil counts of F. oxysporum were significantly reduced only in the methyl-bromide + chloropicrin, chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene, and solarization treatments. Six weeks of solarization and 60:40 chloropicrin + 1,3-dichloropropene (295 liters a.i./ha) proved effective for reducing Fusarium wilt of cotton in heavy clay soil.
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