the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, P.O. Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504
NBD Research Co., Ltd., Lampang, Thailand, 52000
The epidemiology and strategies for management of Fusarium wilt of China aster (Callistephus chinensis) were studied in Connecticut and Florida, USA, by examining seed contamination, on-farm disease incidence, sanitation, host resistance, and various soil treatments. Five out of 25 commercial seed packages from three separate distribution companies assayed in Connecticut had seeds contaminated with the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. callistephi. Farm surveys of two cut-flower farms in Connecticut had disease incidences of 32 and 58%, while in Florida, the incidence of the disease ranged from 0.002 to 71.2% in two cut-flower operations. All pathogenic isolates from seed and symptomatic plants in Connecticut were vegetatively compatible, suggesting a common origin. Pathogenic isolates from Florida and nonpathogenic isolates fell into different vegetative compatibility groups and may have had another origin. Sodium hypochlorite solutions (1%) eliminated the fungus from seeds and Styrofoam when applied as a soak or spray, respectively. Soil fumigation with methyl bromide + chloropicrin, 1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin, or metam sodium maintained Fusarium wilt at low levels at a Florida cut-flower production facility. Evaluations of disease resistance of 44 cultivars in the greenhouse identified eight cultivars with moderate resistance. Four cultivars were identified with moderate resistance in field trials and thus could serve as a source of resistant germplasm for future breeding programs. These findings should encourage growers to use sanitation protocols to prevent entry of the pathogen into their fields and to choose commercially available cultivars that have moderate resistance.