L. J. Patzek, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and
L. J. du Toit, Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center, Mount Vernon 98273-4768;
T. C. Paulitz, United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6430; and
S. S. Jones, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research & Extension Center, Mount Vernon 98273-4768
During 2009 and 2010, 45 isolates of Rhizoctonia spp. were recovered from onion bulb crops in the semiarid Columbia Basin of Oregon and Washington, in which patches of severely stunted onion plants developed following rotation with winter cereal cover crops. Characterization of isolates recovered from naturally infested soil and roots was performed by sequence analysis of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) internal transcribed spacer region, with the majority of isolates (64%) identified as Rhizoctonia solani. In steam-pasteurized field soil, stunting of onion was caused by isolates of R. solani anastamosis groups (AGs) 2-1, 3, 4, and 8, as well as Waitea circinata var. circinata and binucleate Rhizoctonia AG E evaluated at 13 and 8 or 15 and 15°C day and night temperatures, respectively, typical of spring planting conditions in the Columbia Basin. Isolates of R. solani AG 5 as well as binucleate AG A and I were nonpathogenic. The most virulent isolates belonged to AG 8, although an AG 3 and an AG E isolate were also highly virulent. Isolates of AG 2-1 and 3 caused moderate levels of disease, while isolates of AG 4 and W. circinata var. circinata caused low levels of disease. Emergence was reduced by isolates of AG 2-1, 3, and E. When the various AGs were grown at temperatures of 5 to 30°C, the relative growth rate of the Rhizoctonia isolates was not positively correlated with virulence on onion within an AG.