APS Homepage

Poster: Biology & Disease Mgmt: Integrated Pest Mgmt


Management of wilt diseases on tomato by organically acceptable methods
M. RAHMAN (1), M. Rahman (1), L. Jett (1) (1) West Virginia University, U.S.A.

Soilborne wilt disease caused by fungal pathogen Verticillium spp, Fusarium spp and bacterial pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum often cause serious losses to tomato growers either by stunting or totally killing the plants prematurely. Rotation and chemical fumigation of soil is not feasible to many growers either due to limited farm size or organic growing conditions. Biofumigation and/or biologically based options for managing these pathogens are critical needs to these growers. A study was conducted with heirloom tomato ‘Mortgage lifter’ at the WVU Organic Farm to investigate the efficacy of bio-fumigants, biological antagonists, and resistant rootstock in managing wilt disease. Thirty five days after planting in contaminated soil, grafted (on resistant rootstock “Maxifort”) tomato plants showed significantly higher plant vigor compared with non-treated check. All treatments had significantly lower symptomatic leaves than that of non-treated check at 35 days after planting. Cumulative harvests for six weeks showed that yield from all treatments except mustard cover crop were significantly (P<0.001) higher compared with non-treated check. Grafted plants produced 20 lb tomatoes/plant compared with only 11 lbs by non-treated check. Results suggest that organically acceptable methods can provide significant yield advantage to heirloom tomatoes in soilborne pathogen infested soil.