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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Salinas, California » Crop Improvement and Protection Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #307262

Research Project: Detection and Management of Pathogens in Strawberry and Vegetable Production Systems

Location: Crop Improvement and Protection Research

Title: Evaluation of a mobile steam applicator for soil disinfestation in California strawberry

item MILLER, T. - University Of California
item Martin, Frank
item BROOME, J. - Driscoll'S
item DORN, N. - Driscoll'S
item FENNIMORE, S. - University Of California

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/20/2014
Publication Date: 12/1/2014
Citation: Miller, T.C., Martin, F.N., Broome, J., Dorn, N., Fennimore, S.A. 2014. Evaluation of a mobile steam applicator for soil disinfestation in California strawberry. HortScience. 49:1542-1549.

Interpretive Summary: A tractor pulled steam applicator was developed and evaluated for control of soil borne pests (weeds and several pathogens). It was found to provide control of some pests and provide strawberry yield as well as standard treatments of application of fumigants through the drip lines.

Technical Abstract: Steam-disinfestation of soil as an alternative to chemical fumigation was investigated in both research and commercial strawberry production field trials at four sites over two years (2011-2013) using new prototype commercial application equipment: a tractor-drawn device that physically mixed the steam with the soil as it passed through the shaped planting beds. Results included significant suppression of weeds and soil borne pathogens equal to commercial chemigation of chloropicrin with 1,3-dichloropropene (Pic-Clor 60). Also, the combination of steam treatment with soil amendments of mustard seed meal (MSM; two of four trials included treatment), a fertilizer and source of additional organic matter, showed very favorable strawberry production in terms of yield as well as weed and pathogen control. Soil nitrogen containing ions were monitored at two of the sites and the MSM treatment significantly elevated available soil nitrates by time of transplanting, as did the steam treatment alone, but only significantly at one of the sites.