Comparison of three fungicide spray advisories for lettuce downy mildew

B.M. Wu, K.V. Subbarao, A.H.C. van Bruggen, S.T. Koike

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Lettuce growers in coastal California have relied mainly on protective fungicide sprays to control downy mildew. Thus, timing of sprays before infection is critical for optimal results. A leaf-wetness-driven, infection-based advisory system, previously developed, did not always perform satisfactorily. In this study, the advisory system was modified by incorporating a pathogen survival component (system 1) or both survival and sporulation components (system 2). These systems were then evaluated in commercial lettuce fields in coastal California during 1996-1998. Three or four treatments were carried out in each field: (i) no spray; (ii) sprays as scheduled by the growers; (iii) sprays following modified system 1; and (iv) sprays following the original advisory system (1996) or modified system 2 (1998). Downy mildew incidence was evaluated every 2 to 9 days. In fields with drip irrigation, the number of fungicide applications was reduced by one or two regardless of the advisory system used compared to the grower’s calendar-based schedule, although one unnecessary spray was recommended in 1996 at Soledad and 1997 at Salinas. Under all three systems, disease levels were low (incidence <25% and about 1 lesion per plant) for fields with drip irrigation, but not for fields with sprinklers (incidence up to 100% and 5 to 10 lesions per plant). For the first time, we established that survival and sporulation components are not needed for a lettuce downy mildew forecasting system. Instead, a threshold with a shorter period of morning leaf wetness and high temperatures were found to have potential for improving forecasting efficiency. Additional keywords: Bremia lactucae, weather.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-900
JournalPlant Disease
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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    Wu, B. M., Subbarao, K. V., van Bruggen, A. H. C., & Koike, S. T. (2001). Comparison of three fungicide spray advisories for lettuce downy mildew. Plant Disease, 85, 895-900.