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Cultural Management of Microbial Community Structure to Enhance Growth of Apple in Replant Soils

December 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  12
Pages  1,363 - 1,366

Mark Mazzola , David M. Granatstein , Don C. Elfving , Kent Mullinix , and Yu-Huan Gu

First and fifth authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, Tree Fruit Research Laboratory, 1104 N. Western Ave., Wenatchee, WA 98801; second and third authors: Washington State University, Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, Wenatchee 98801; and fourth author: Washington State University Agriculture Education Center, Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee 98801

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Accepted for publication 23 July 2002.

Apple replant disease typically is managed through pre-plant application of broad-spectrum soil fumigants including methyl bromide. The impending loss or restricted use of soil fumigants and the needs of an expanding organic tree fruit industry necessitate the development of alternative control measures. The microbial community resident in a wheat field soil was shown to suppress components of the microbial complex that incites apple replant disease. Pseudomonas putida was the primary fluorescent pseudomonad recovered from suppressive soil, whereas Pseudomonas fluorescens bv. III was dominant in a conducive soil; the latter developed within 3 years of orchard establishment at the same site. In greenhouse studies, cultivation of wheat in replant orchard soils prior to planting apple suppressed disease development. Disease suppression was induced in a wheat cultivar-specific manner. Wheat cultivars that enhanced apple seedling growth altered the dominant fluorescent pseudo-monad from Pseudomonas fluorescens bv. III to Pseudomonas putida. The microbial community resident in replant orchard soils after growing wheat also was suppressive to an introduced isolate of Rhizoctonia solani anastomosis group 5, which causes root rot of apple. Incorporation of high glucosinolate containing rapeseed (‘Dwarf Essex’) meal also enhanced growth of apple in replant soils through suppression of Rhizoc-tonia spp., Cylindrocarpon spp., and Pratylenchus penetrans. Integration of these methods will require knowledge of the impact of the biofumigant component on the wheat-induced disease-suppressive microbial community. Implementation of these control strategies for management of apple replant disease awaits confirmation from ongoing field validation trials.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2002