Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 3, 2008
Publication Date: June 1, 2008
Citation: Kousik, C.S., Adkins, S.T., Turechek, W., Roberts, P.D. 2008. Effects of Silver Plastic Mulch and Chemical Treatments on Development of Whitefly-Transmitted Viral Watermelon Vine Decline in Florida. HortScience. 43(3):624. Technical Abstract: Watermelon vine decline (WVD) in Florida is caused by the whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) transmitted virus called Squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV, family: Potyviridae). WVD has been a major limiting factor in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) production in south west and west central Florida for the past several years and losses of more that $60-70 million dollars due to this disease have been estimated. Symptoms of WVD typically manifest as sudden decline of vines at harvest time or one to two weeks prior to harvest and can also affect fruit quality. Fruits from declined plants are generally unmarketable and exhibit symptoms of rind necrosis and fruit decay. We evaluated the effect of reflective plastic mulch combined with chemical treatments for management of whitefly on WVD development in SqVYV inoculated plots in Immokalee, FL during fall growing periods of 2006 and 2007. The chemical treatment consisted of drenching the plants with Admire (Imidacloprid) at transplanting followed by two sprays of Oberon (Spiromesifen). No significant interactions between plastic mulches and chemical treatments to manage whitefly were observed on WVD development in either year. However, in 2006, the chemically treated plots had significantly less fruits with decline symptoms compared to the untreated plots (P=0.038). In 2007 the areas under disease progress curves (AUDPC) for WVD was significantly lower for the plots chemically treated (P=0.0038) for managing whitefly and the reflective plastic mulch plots (P=0.0214) compared to the untreated and non-reflective mulch plots respectively. Similarly in 2007, the treated plots had significantly less fruits with decline symptoms compared to the non-treated plots (P=0.0124). Our results suggest that management of whitefly can help in managing WVD in Florida.