Spatial patterns of lettuce big-vein (LBV) incidence under furrow, sprinkler, and subsurface drip irrigation systems were determined. Because LBV pathogen is a virus and is vectored by the soilborne chytrid Olpidium brassicae, different irrigation systems likely affect the movement of the vector and were hypothesized to result in different distribution patterns and levels of the disease. Lettuce plants were mapped by recording the location of each LBV-infected or healthy plant in arbitrarily selected plots of sizes 16 by 30, 20 by 30, and 18 by 50 m in Salinas, Gonzales, and Santa Maria in California. Data were arrayed into different quadrat sizes by rearrangement, and disease incidence was calculated for each quadrat. Frequency distribution analysis and spatial autocorrelation analyses were performed on this data. LBV incidence was aggregated in all furrow-irrigated fields, four of five subsurface drip-irrigated fields, and two of three sprinkler-irrigated fields. The remaining fields had a random distribution. As the quadrat size increased, index of aggregation decreased, and vice versa. In fields under sprinkler irrigation, regardless of whether the spatial pattern of LBV was random or aggregated, no directional orientation occurred. However, under furrow or subsurface drip irrigation, the aggregation mostly occurred across the rows. Although irrigation type influenced LBV distribution pattern and incidence in lettuce fields, the differential effects of irrigation type on vector O. brassicae could not be discerned in this study. The sprinkler irrigation practiced in lettuce production until thinning may influence the vector distribution and the subsequent irrigation methods adapted for the remainder of the season in individual fields may play a significant role in disease incidence.
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