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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Poplarville, Mississippi » Southern Horticultural Research Unit » Research » Research Project #435769

Research Project: Production and Disease and Pest Management of Horticultural Crops

Location: Southern Horticultural Research Unit

Project Number: 6062-21430-003-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Oct 23, 2018
End Date: Apr 22, 2020

Objective 1. Develop integrated strategies to control invasive diseases and pests within the context of small fruit production systems of the Gulf Coast. Sub-objective 1.1. Determine the importance of wild fruit hosts to the ecology and life history traits of Spotted-wing Drosophila (SWD) and other vinegar fly pests of fruit crops of the U.S. Gulf Coast, with an emphasis on fly population dynamics in surrounding landscapes. Sub-objective 1.2. Develop and evaluate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies involving selective chemical application. Sub-objective 1.3. Determine pathogen lifecycle events and spread patterns of bacterial leaf scorch, a new and emerging disease of blueberries in the Gulf South. Sub-objective 1.4. Develop disease screening assays using traditional and molecular screening techniques to identify disease resistant small fruit germplasm and characterize relevant host/pathogen relationships, the influence of cultural practices, and virulence levels of pathogens. Sub-objective 1.5. Develop disease control protocols based on cultural practices of removing rosette infected primocanes, which are a source of fungal inoculum, to reduce rosette disease severity in erect blackberry cultivars. Objective 2. Develop disease and pest control strategies that can be readily integrated with existing production practices used in container-grown ornamental plant nursery systems. Sub-objective 2.1. Develop a three-step ‘push-pull’ management strategy for protecting vulnerable nursery tree stock from ambrosia beetles. Sub-objective 2.2. Examine the effect of binding and leaching potential of soil-incorporated insecticides in alternative and standard soilless substrates in container-grown ornamental plants. Sub-objective 2.3. Determine optimal timing of disinfestant to restrict pathogen dispersal through irrigation water and limit plant disease. Sub-objective 2.4. Develop a comprehensive preventive and reactive disease management strategy to control Pseudomonas, Colletotrichum, and Rhizoctonia in plant propagation facilities. Sub-objective 2.5. Develop an integrated disease management strategy to control Leyland cypress blight in ornamental plant nursery production. Sub-objective 2.6. Identify changes in spray patterns across 100 foot blocks of container-grown plants using commercial sprayer equipment that correlate with reduction in disease intensity. Objective 3. Develop and improve pollination practices on berry and vegetable farms along the Gulf Coast and increase capability to use native bees.

Develop an updated pest management program to control the spotted-wing Drosophila fly from damaging fruits and vegetables. Develop cultural and chemical controls and tolerant cultivars of several small fruit diseases, with emphasis on Phytophthora root rot, a serious existing disease, and Xylella bacterial leaf scorch, a new disease of blueberry. Identify habitat sources of ambrosia beetle, and characterize repellant and attractant strategies that prevent ambrosia beetle movement into ornamental plant nurseries. Develop updated plant disease management practices to control existing and new pathogens in propagation, to time disinfestant treatments that prevent spread of Phytophthora in irrigation water, and to produce a risk-based fungicide timing model to control Passalora blight of Leyland cypress in the nursery. Nesting habitat for native pollinators will be promoted to expand bee management practices that are critical for achieving profitable fruit and vegetable yields.