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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Watermelon Vine Decline and Fruit Rot

Authors
item Roberts, P. - UNIV. OF FLORIDA
item Muchovej, R. M. - UNIV. OF FLORIDA
item Bruton, Benny
item Baker, C. A. - FDACS-DPI
item Adkins, Scott

Submitted to: National Watermelon Association Newsletter
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: May 1, 2005
Citation: Roberts, P., Muchovej, R., Bruton, B.D., Baker, C., Adkins, S.T. 2005. Watermelon vine decline and fruit rot. National Watermelon Association Newsletter.

Interpretive Summary: This popular press update is primarily directed at watermelon growers to relate the current status of vine decline in Florida and progress towards determining its cause. Potential physical and biological causes are examined. This report continues a cooperative research effort between ARS (at two locations), University of Florida and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Division of Plant Industry.

Technical Abstract: In the spring of 2003, 2004 and 2005 in southwest Florida and in the fall 2003 and 2004 in west central Florida, a severe watermelon vine decline occurred at or near harvest. Progress was quite rapid in affected fields. Numerous field samples of declining watermelons have been examined for abiotic (fertilzation, irrigation, pesticide application) and biotic (fungal, bacterial and viral) causes. Viruses appear to be involved in the watermelon vine decline currently observed in Florida as Papaya ringspot virus type W and a second, unknown virus or virus-like agent have consistently been recovered from watermelon plants in declining fields. However, possible involvement of additional viruses and/or other types of pathogens cannot yet be excluded. Research into the cause of watermelon vine decline is continuing, and the resulting information about this damaging disease will be provided in future updates.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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