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Fungicide Rotation Programs for Managing Phytophthora Fruit Rot of Watermelon in Southeastern United States

C. S. Kousik, P. Ji, D. S. Egel, and L. M. Quesada-Ocampo

April 2017


About 50% of the watermelons in the United States are produced in the southeastern states, where optimal conditions for development of Phytophthora fruit rot prevail. Phytophthora fruit rot significantly limits watermelon production by causing serious yield losses before and after fruit harvest. Efficacy of fungicide rotation programs and Melcast-scheduled sprays for managing Phytophthora fruit rot was determined by conducting experiments in Phytophthora capsici-infested fields at three locations in southeastern United States (North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia). The mini seedless cultivar Wonder and seeded cultivar Mickey Lee (pollenizer) were used. Five weekly applications of fungicides were made at all locations. Significant fruit rot (53 to 91%, mean 68%) was observed in the nontreated control plots in all three years (2013 to 2015) and across locations. All fungicide rotation programs significantly reduced Phytophthora fruit rot compared with nontreated controls. Overall, the rotation of Zampro alternated with Orondis was highly effective across three locations and two years. Rotations of Actigard followed by Ranman+Ridomil Gold, Presidio, V-10208, and Orondis, or rotation of Revus alternated with Presidio were similarly effective. Use of Melcast, a melon disease-forecasting tool, may occasionally enable savings of one spray application without significantly impacting control. Although many fungicides are available for use in rotations, under very heavy rain and pathogen pressure, the fungicides alone may not offer adequate protection; therefore, an integrated approach should be used with other management options including well-drained fields.


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