Link to home

Fungal Diseases, Susceptibility of Nematodes, Efficacy of Herbicides, and Drought Tolerance/Heat of Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) Varieties

Hayden Moye: Auburn University

<div><span class="normaltextrun"><i>Lotus corniculatus</i> (birdsfoot trefoil) is a common flowering plant in the pea family Fabaceae and native to Eurasia and North Africa. It is used in agriculture as a forage plant and also grown for pasture, hay, and silage due to its non-bloating properties; along with being used as a cover crop. Auburn University’s breeding program for birdsfoot trefoil is attempting to extend the forage’s geographic adaptation across the southern United States. Stand decline of the birdsfoot trefoil breeding lines due to fungal diseases and nematode pressure was observed at the Plant Breeding Unit of the E.V. Smith Research Center in Tallassee, Alabama in the 2015 season. We were able to isolate <i>Macrophomina phaseolina</i> from symptomatic plants. This pathogen causes stand decline, root rot, and charcoal rot in more than 500 crop and non-crop host plants (Smith and Carvil, 1977). The successful completion of Koch’s Postulates indicates <i>Fusarium oxysporum</i> is a causal agent of seedling disease resulting in stand decline of birdsfoot trefoil in Alabama. <i>Meloidogyne incognita </i>(root-knot nematode) had a higher population and reproductive factor and can increase <i>M. incognita</i> populations on three varieties of birdsfoot trefoil tested. Two herbicides (Butyrac 200 and Panoramic) reduced the fresh shoot mass of cultivars tested in our greenhouse trial; along with the Pardee cultivar being the most susceptible to herbicide damage. Selection for drought/heat tolerance of a birdsfoot trefoil cultivar using three commercially available cultivars (Empire, Norcen, and Pardee) to improve stand endurance is the goal in developing a trans-regional birdsfoot trefoil cultivar with a wide geographic adaptation that has a longer stand life than existing cultivars.</span><span style="font-family:'Segoe UI';"></span></div>