Skip to main content
ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Crops Pathology and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #414616


Location: Crops Pathology and Genetics Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
Objectives are as follows: 1)Evaluate the impact of microbial inoculants on the incidence and severity of soilborne disease and on the overall health and vigor of bedding plants; 2)Evaluate the effect of adding pheromones to sticky traps on ability to monitor/detect thrips populations and for the potential to reduce thrips populations and the resultant damage on a variety of ornamental crops; 3)Evaluate the addition of silicon to ornamental crops to reduce damage by insects and mites and to produce healthier and more vigorous plants; and 4)Transfer effective new technologies to appropriate customer/stakeholder groups.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
1) Through a series of research/demonstrations, will evaluate the relative performance of a variety of microbial inoculants compared to normal grower practices; 2)in cooperation with growers in California, will evaluate the use of pheromone/sticky traps on control of thrips in a commercial greenhouse; 3)in cooperation with growers, will run side by side comparisons of plants grown with and without the addition of silicon to determine if adding silicon to ornamental plants will increase their ability to resist attack insects and diseases and produce healthier and more vigorous plants; and 4)will develop a Bedding Plant/Plant Propagators Alliance. Via meetings of this Alliance, will complete a Crop Profile for bedding plant producers and plant propagators. Documents SCA with UC Davis.

3. Progress Report
Agreement established in FY08 as an SCA associated with FNRI research-the goal being to develop and implement IPM for bedding plants. The goal of this project is to evaluate the impact of microbial inoculants on the incidence & severity of soilborne disease and on the overall health and vigor of bedding plants. This past year we focused on research to better understand the ‘practical’ use of the microbial inoculant ‘Effective Microorganisms’(EM•1® and activated EM•1®)produced by EMRO Inc. as both a foliar spray and as a soil amendment. We expect that the most common use of these materials will be at the start of the crop to provide disease protection through at least the first half of the production cycle. This would be followed by a conventional fungicide if and when disease develops. We evaluated the in vitro compatibility of Activated EM•1® with the most commonly used fungicides by the floriculture/nursery industry including Alliete® WDG, Bacillus subtillis, OHP Chipco® 26019, Pipron, Subdue MAXX, Systhane™ 40wp, and SuffOil-X. Each fungicide solution was prepared using the recommended label rate and was added to activated EM•1® (1:1000) with a total volume for each sample of 50 ml. After a 30 minute exposure period each sample was plated onto LAMVAB selective media (selective for Lactobacilli) or YM selective media (selective for Yeast) and held for 3 days dark incubation at 37degC for Lactobacilli and at room temperature(22-24degC) for Yeast. Survival was determined by counting colony-forming units in each solution and there were three replications of each treatment and the entire experiment was repeated twice. All fungicides were compatible with activated EM•1® except Pipron. Another area of concern was possible phytotoxicity associated with the foliar application of Activated EM•1®. Activated EM•1® was applied to gerbera and rose plants at 3 concentrations (1:100, 1:250 & 1:1000) with or without 0.03% surfactant. Each treatment was made using a backpack sprayer at the rate of 1 liter per treatment. Plants were observed for phytotoxicity; none was observed at 1:250 and 1:1000, but the edges of flower petals showed some light browning & curling at the highest concentration (1:100). With these data a grower should be able to start a crop on activated EM•1®and then come in with a fungicide (perhaps at a reduced rate) to produce a disease free crop using less conventional fungicides and without any concern about phytotoxicity. Trials are ongoing with cooperative growers in CA to fully evaluate this. To date, there have been promising results against powdery mildew attacking potted gerbera and Pythium attacking field grown Ranunculus in San Diego Co. The CA Bedding Plant/Plant Propagator’s Alliance is up and functional in the state; we have had a number of regional meetings to impart the latest IPM technology to growers. We are actively working with four 'model' growers in California to better demonstrate the IPM and best management practices for this industry. The project is monitored by maintaining a complete file of the agreement, reviewing the annual reports, and conducting meetings with the cooperator during the course of the agreement.

4. Accomplishments