Jaime A. Cummings, MS Graduate, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University;
Carol A. Miles, Associate Professor, and
Lindsey J. du Toit, Associate Professor, Washington State University Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, 16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon, WA 98273
The efficacy of 14 seed and drench treatments for control of soilborne damping-off pathogens in organic production of spinach was evaluated in a greenhouse study. The efficacy of each treatment was compared with nontreated seed and seed treated with a conventional fungicide for control of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. spinaciae, Pythium ultimum, and Rhizoctonia solani. Two experimental seed treatments, GTG I and GTG II (each comprised of a proprietary organic disinfectant and the latter also containing Trichoderma harzianum T22), provided equivalent control to the conventional fungicide, mefenoxam, against P. ultimum in one trial and significant reduction of damping-off in the second trial. Natural II and Natural X (Streptomycete products), and Subtilex (Bacillus subtilis) seed treatments each suppressed damping-off significantly in one of the two trials. For R. solani, GTG I and Natural II seed treatments reduced damping-off as effectively as a drench with the fungicide Terraclor (pentachloronitrobenzene). A soil drench with Prestop (Gliocladium catenulatum) suppressed postemergence wilt caused by F. oxysporum in both trials; a compost tea drench and seed treatment with Yield Shield (Bacillus pumilis) each suppressed postemergence wilt in only one of two trials. GTG I and GTG II significantly increased seed germination compared to nontreated seed. No treatment was effective against all three pathogens, and some treatments exacerbated damping-off.