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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #410917

Research Project: Enhancing Vegetable and Ornamental Production by Synergistically Managing Nutrients and Pests

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: Effects of anaerobic soil disinfestation for soilborne disease and weed management on baby leaf lettuce performance in a high tunnel organic production system

item VINCENT, ISAAC - University Of Florida
item Rosskopf, Erin
item BRECHT, JEFF - University Of Florida
item DUFAULT, NICK - University Of Florida
item SANDOYA-MIRANDA, GERMÁN - University Of Florida
item ZHAO, XIN - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Agronomy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/19/2024
Publication Date: 4/8/2024
Citation: Vincent, I., Rosskopf, E.N., Brecht, J., Dufault, N., Sandoya-Miranda, G., Zhao, X. Comparing the performance of lettuce genotypes in high tunnel organic production systems using anaerobic soil disinfestation. Agronomy Journal. 2024. 14(4):764.

Interpretive Summary: Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is a method of soil treatment that is compatible with organic production systems and provides soilborne pest management including weed suppression. High tunnel organic vegetable growers are interested in the use of ASD for the production of a variety of short season crops, which are rotated with short intervals. Two studies were conducted to determine if a very short 8-day ASD treatment period would provide weed suppression that is particularly important for lettuce production. Significant levels of anaerobicity were achieved with this short period and weed and disease suppression was significantly improved over the grower practices of incorporating compost or organic fertilizer.

Technical Abstract: On-station experiments were conducted during fall 2021 and spring 2022 in a split-plot design to investigate the efficacy of anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) in high tunnels (HTs) for producing direct-seeded baby lettuce. Soil treatments (ASD, Compost, Control) and lettuce cultivars (romaine, oakleaf) were assigned as whole plots and subplots, respectively. ASD-treated soils received molasses and granular organic fertilizer (GF) as carbon and nitrogen sources. Compost treatment received yard waste-based compost and GF; Control received GF only. ASD treatment lasted 8 days. Crop yield, biometrics, and leaf quality attributes were assessed following harvest. In both trials, numerical differences in fresh weight between soil treatments were evident, though not significant. Differences in leaf quality attributes were driven by lettuce cultivar rather than soil treatments. Bottom rot incidence caused by Rhizoctonia solani was increased in Control and Compost treatments vs. ASD-treated soils during spring trial. ASD-treated soils reduced the number of broadleaf weeds and sedges in both trials. ASD shows potential for integration into organic HT production systems without reducing yield and quality attributes compared with common grower practices.