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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Wenatchee, Washington » Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research » Research » Research Project #432232

Research Project: Implementation of Alternative Methods to Control Replant Disease

Location: Physiology and Pathology of Tree Fruits Research

Project Number: 2094-21220-002-19-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2017
End Date: Apr 30, 2020

Bio-renovation using mustards and mustard meal has been evaluated in multiple greenhouse and small field trials with successful results. By refining the strategy over time researchers have been able to achieve results equivalent or superior to fumigation. Anaerobic soil disinfestation has been used successfully in annual vegetable and strawberry systems to control soil borne disease. In general, carbon sources derived from plants within the family Gramineae (e.g. wheat) when used in the application of anaerobic soil disinfestation have resulted in superior disease suppression than other carbon inputs. Differential anaerobic soil disinfestation efficacy results from multiple factors including the spectrum of biologically active chemistries that are produced and activity of transformed soil microbiome, some components of which may be derived from the organic input. In order to consider Brassica- based bio-renovation or anaerobic soil disinfestation producers site multiple barriers to adoption: i) Insufficient field scale data to warrant confidence in success of new techniques; ii) perceived lack of access to and high expense of mustard seed meal; iii) Lack of simple step by step process; and iv) Lack of knowledge of where to source virtually impenetrable films and other materials. Our objective is to conduct commercial field scale experiments to test the efficacy of bio-renovation and anaerobic disinfestation as alternatives to soil fumigation for the control of apple replant disease.

At each of three field sites four treatments (mustard seed meal bio-renovation, anaerobic soil disinfestation, fumigated control and non-fumigated control) will be applied in randomized strips in each of four blocks (four replicates each). Plant response to treatments will be assessed by measuring trunk cross sectional area and yield. In addition, microbial analysis of roots and soil will be conducted to determine treatment effects on target replant pathogens and overall composition of the microbiome including potential beneficial microbes. The extension and outreach component will have a regional focus and will consist of annual field tours of the demonstration orchards at the end of the annual harvest season.