Effect of irrigation type on inoculum density ofMacrophomina phaseolina in melon fields in Arizona

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Journal of Phytopathology



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Charcoal rot, caused by Macrophomina phaseolina, has become increasingly problematic for melon growers using subsurface drip irrigation in Arizona; but has rarely been observed in fields with furrow irrigation. Since the relationship between increasing incidence of charcoal rot on melon and irrigation type is unknown, studies were initiated to determine the effects of edaphic factors on inoculum density. Soil samples were collected once from fields irrigated by subsurface drip, with and without plastic mulch, and by furrow at 10, 20 and 30 cm depths. Samples were analysed for percentage soil moisture, pH, salinity and inoculum density. Percentage soil moisture was significantly higher at 20 and 30 cm depths in the furrow‐irrigated field compared with the drip‐irrigated field with plastic mulch, but not in the field without plastic mulch. Average minimum and maximum temperatures and inoculum density were significantly lower at all three depths in the furrow‐irrigated field compared with both types of drip irrigation. pH was significantly higher in the furrow‐irrigated field compared with both types of drip irrigation at 20 and 30 cm depths but not at 10 cm depth. Differences in inoculum densities of M. phaseolina suggest that drip irrigation may contribute to higher disease incidences.

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