Oral Presentation Science Protecting Plant Health 2017

Determining the effect of strawberry production cycle and mulch type on plant health, fruit yield, and root pathogens (4015)

Pervaiz A. Abbasi 1 , Dale Hebb 1 , Willy Renderos 1
  1. Agriculture and Agri-Fooda Canada, Kentville, NOVA SCOTIA, Canada

Strawberries in eastern Canada are cultivated in conventional matted-rows for multiple years of fruit production, which can result in deterioration of soil quality and an increase in root diseases. Recently, producers are testing raised beds with plastic mulch systems. This study was aimed at evaluating the impact of strawberry production cycle (a newer field in first-year production and an older field in third-year production) and raised-bed mulch type (red, black, and silver plastic and straw) on plant health, fruit yield, and root pathogens. The crop-production cycle evaluations were performed in matted-row commercial field sites and mulch type evaluations were performed at KRDC experimental field sites in 2015 and 2016 seasons. The first-year production field had a 12% higher fruit yield than the third-year production field. The older field also showed comparatively higher infections of multiple root pathogens and poor plant growth compared to the newer field. Fusarium sp., Rhizoctonia fragariae, Cylindrocarpon sp., Pythium sp., and Colletotrichum acutatum were common pathogens isolated from these fields. These pathogens are known to be associated with black root rot complex. The microbial activity (culturable bacteria and fungi) was higher in the first-year production field compared to the third-year production field. In 2015 mulch trial, fruit yields from the silver and black plastic mulch plots were slightly higher than the straw mulch plots, and Fusarium and Pythium were common root pathogens isolated from the mulch plots. In 2016 mulch trial, fruit yield in the red plastic mulch plot was higher than the other mulch plots. Root infections were slightly lower in the plastic mulch plots compared to the straw mulch plots and Fusarium, Rhizoctonia, and Cylindrocarpon were common pathogens isolated from 2016 mulch plots. There were no differences in microbial activity in soil samples from such plots, but black plastic mulch had a greater population of Trichoderma.