A field experiment in which main-crop potatoes were grown every other year was conducted on a sandy soil from 1994 to 1999. The aim of the experiment was to control soil-borne pathogens of potato with ecologically sound methods. Potato grown as a trap crop from the end of April to the end of June (8 wk) was used to control potato cyst nematodes (PCN) (Globodera pallida), and its effects on other important soil pathogens and on the growth of a subsequent potato crop were also assessed. Additional experimental treatments were a potato crop from which the haulm was removed and a green manure crop. Three potato cultivars with different degrees of resistance to PCN were grown as the main crop. Duplicate sets of the experiment were run concurrently. The PCN were effectively controlled by the potato trap crop. When a highly resistant potato cultivar was grown as a main crop after the trap crop, the post-harvest soil infestation was very low. When a moderately resistant cultivar was grown after the trap crop the soil infestation also remained low. When the trap crop was alternated with a susceptible potato cultivar as a main crop, soil infestation increased slightly, but the degree of control when compared with no trap crop averaged 96%. Soil infestation with root-knot nematodes (mainly Meloidogyne hapla) increased when potato was grown as a trap crop, but soil infestation with the root-lesion nematode Pratylenchus crenatus was not affected. Stem canker caused by Rhizoctonia solani was not affected by the trap crop but black scurf (sclerotia of R. solani) on tubers was reduced. Soil infestation with Verticillium dahliae declined in one of the duplicate sets of the experiment but not in the other. However, stem infections by V. dahliae were significantly decreased in both sets, although the effect depended on the PCN-resistance level of the potato cultivar. When a highly resistant potato cultivar was grown Verticillium stem infections were not significantly affected, they were decreased with a moderately resistant cultivar but the decrease was most pronounced with a PCN-susceptible cultivar. Senescence of a following potato crop was not influenced by the trap crop when a highly PCN- resistant cultivar was grown, but it was delayed in the case of a moderately resistant or a susceptible cultivar, resulting in higher tuber yields for those cultivars. The experiment proved that a trap crop can be an alternative to chemical soil disinfection but, for several reasons, the potato itself is not an ideal crop for this purpose; a trap crop other than potato must be developed.
|Journal||Annals of Applied Biology|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|