Submitted to: Phytopathology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 15, 2008
Publication Date: July 26, 2008
Citation: Kousik, C.S., Adkins, S.T., Turechek, W., Roberts, P.D. 2008. Management of Whitefly-Transmitted Viral Watermelon Vine Decline in Florida. Phytopathology. 98:S85. Technical Abstract: Watermelon vine decline (WVD) caused by the whitefly transmitted Squash vein yellowing virus (SqVYV, family: Potyviridae) has been a major limiting factor in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) production in southwest and west-central Florida for the past several years. 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. The combination of reflective plastic mulch and chemical treatments for management of whitefly on WVD development was evaluated during fall of 2006 and 2007. The chemical treatment consisted of an Admire (Imidacloprid) drench at transplanting followed by two sprays of Oberon (Spiromesifen). Virus inoculum was introduced by planting SqVYV-infected squash plants at the ends of each plot. No significant interactions between plastic mulches and chemical treatments to manage whitefly were observed on WVD development in either year. In 2006, the chemically treated plots had significantly (P=0.038) less fruits with WVD symptoms compared to the untreated plots. In 2007, the areas under disease progress curve 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. The chemically treated plots had significantly (P=0.0124) less fruits with WVD symptoms compared to the untreated plots. Our results suggest that management of whitefly can help in managing WVD. In addition, removal of recently identified SqVYV reservoir hosts such as balsam-apple and creeping cucumber near watermelon fields may further aid in the overall management of WVD in Florida.