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POSTERS: Cultural control

Management of Soil-borne Strawberry Diseases with Alternative Fumigation Methods
Mahfuz Rahman - West Virginia University. Whitney Dudding- West Virginia University

Black root rot complex and crown rot of strawberry caused by soil-borne fungi limit sustainable strawberry production in the Northeast especially in perennial matted row systems. Many organic and small growers who can’t use chemical fumigants due to new regulations and potential health hazards need alternative management options. This study was conducted by growing strawberry plug plants with beneficial microbes inoculated or regular planting mix followed by transplanting in fruiting field plots that either were bio-fumigated with mustard cover crop, anaerobically disinfested or left untreated. Different combinations of plug plants and field plot treatments were used to determine efficacy of individual treatment or synergistic effect of combination treatments. Plug plants were transplanted in pre-treated plastic mulched raised beds and grown following a typical organically-recommended production method. Plug plants grown on inoculated planting mix showed enhanced plant vigor in fruiting field compared with non-treated plants. Bio-stimulant/beneficial microbe treated plants had significantly (P?0.045) higher fruit yield with higher weight/fruit and better fruit quality containing enhanced amounts of antioxidants than non-treated plants. Antioxidants that were enhanced included total phenolics, vitamin-C, flavonoids and anthocyanins. Results indicated that alternative fumigation methods could provide soil-borne disease suppression and improve yield.