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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Control of Strawberry Black Root Rot Control with Compost Socks

Author
item Millner, Patricia

Submitted to: Plant Management Network
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 2, 2006
Publication Date: October 16, 2006
Citation: Millner, P.D. 2006. Strawberry black root rot control with compost socks. Plant Management Network. Available: http://www.plantmanagementnetwork.org/php/search/search_action.asp.

Interpretive Summary: Black root rot is a severe disease that can limit productivity in perennial matted row (hill) strawberry systems. In annual production systems, soil fumigation provides enough temporary disease control to achieve economic crops returns. Soilless hydroponic systems avoid the problem by eliminating soil, the source of the disease agents, and replacing it with peat- or perlite-filled bags. Perennial (3-5 yr) matted row strawberry systems are still used by many small acreage growers and U-pick farms in regions with cold winters and warm summers, where plants produce an abundance of runners that form the matted row multi-year crop system. The latter offers small acreage strawberry producers conservative startup and maintenance costs and less intensive management requirements than are required for annual ‘plasticulture’ systems. Soil fumigation with methyl bromide historically has been used to control soilborne plant diseases, pests, and weeds in both systems, but the ban of this soil fumigant has prompted growers and researchers to evaluate a wide variety of chemical, biological, and cultural alternatives This report describes a novel application of compost compatible with a nonfumigated matted row system. It involves the placement of mature 100 percent compost in netted sock rows (hereafter referred to as ‘compost socks’) that are drip irrigated/fertigated. Black Root Rot disease severity, plant growth, and yield of two cultivars ‘Chandler’ and ‘Allstar’ were compared in replicated field studies at three locations in Maryland. The effect of a 20 percent vinegar drench on soil prior to compost sock placement and planting was assessed at two locations. Results show that black root rot symptoms were significantly reduced in all compost sock treatments, with or without vinegar, and yields increases from 16-32-times that obtained from the untreated controls were obtained. Growth and yield of ‘Chandler’ surpassed that of ‘Allstar’ at all three locations regardless of pre-plant vinegar drench. Vinegar drench alone was not effective in preventing significant plant disease and decline over the long-term. Compost sox were filled pneumatically and placed directly on top of the soil in the row. When made from recycled cotton or other biodegradable materials there is no disposal necessary at the end of their useful life. Compost that remains becomes part of the soil and contributes to improving the organic matter content. The compost sock system requires minimal specialized equipment, supplies, or fumigants. The system is compatible with standard methods of weed management used in strawberry production.

Technical Abstract: Black root rot is a severe disease that can limit productivity in perennial matted row (hill) strawberry systems. In annual production systems, soil fumigation provides enough temporary disease control to achieve economic crops returns. Soilless hydroponic systems avoid the problem by eliminating soil, the source of the disease agents, and replacing it with peat- or perlite-filled bags. This report describes a novel application of compost compatible with a nonfumigated matted row system. It involves the placement of mature 100% compost in netted sock rows (hereafter referred to as ‘compost socks’) that are drip irrigated/fertigated. Black Root Rot (BRR) disease severity, plant growth, and yield of two cultivars ‘Chandler’ and ‘Allstar’ were compared in replicated field studies at three locations in Maryland. The effect of a 20% vinegar drench on soil prior to compost sock placement and planting was assessed at two locations. Results show that BRR symptoms were significantly reduced in all compost sock treatments, with or without vinegar, and yields increases from 16-32-times that obtained from the untreated controls were obtained. Growth and yield of ‘Chandler’ surpassed that of ‘Allstar’ at all three locations regardless of pre-plant vinegar drench. Vinegar drench alone was not effective in preventing significant plant disease and decline over the long-term. Compost sox were filled pneumatically and placed directly on top of the soil in the row. When made from recycled cotton or other biodegradable materials there is no disposal necessary at the end of their useful life. Compost that remains becomes part of the soil and contributes to improving the organic matter content. The compost sock system requires minimal specialized equipment, supplies, or fumigants. The system is compatible with standard methods of weed management used in strawberry production.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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