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Adjustment of soil-surface pH and comparison with conventional fungicide treatments for control of lettuce drop Sclerotinia minor

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 14:02 authored by Calum WilsonCalum Wilson, De Little, J, Wong, JAL, Schupp, P, Gibson, LE
The use of soil-surface applications of finely powdered calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) to inhibit Sclerotinia minor sclerotial germination and infection at the collar region of lettuce plants is described. In the laboratory, a pH > 8.0 reduced sclerotial germination of the three S. minor isolates tested. In the glasshouse, surface applications of 2-10 t Ca(OH) 2 ha-1 raised the pH of the top 1-2 cm of a duplex sandy loam soil above 8.5 for at least 8 weeks without affecting soil pH within the transplant root zone. There was a linear relationship between the rate of Ca(OH)2 applied and disease control, with complete disease suppression at 10 t Ca(OH)2 ha-1. In field trials on two soil types (duplex sandy loam, pH 6.0; and red ferrosol, pH 6.9), a rate of 2.5 t Ca(OH)2 ha-1, maintained soil-surface pH above 8.5 for 1-3 weeks and provided up to 58% reduction in lettuce drop. Application of polyvinyl alcohol (a soil-conditioning polymer) over the Ca(OH)2 layer appeared to reduce Ca(OH)2 loss by wind, but did not improve retention of raised soil-surface pH or disease suppression. Ca(OH)2 treatment gave similar disease control to the industry standard treatment of a procymidone-based fungicide seedling drench. A combined treatment of Ca(OH) 2 and fungicide drench gave greater control than either individual treatment, and equivalent control to fungicide drench and three procymidone foliar sprays, offering integrated management options. The use of soil-surface-applied Ca(OH)2 with fungicides, rotation and drip irrigation offers an opportunity for enhanced and sustainable control of lettuce drop. © 2005 BSPP.


Publication title

Plant Pathology








Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA)


Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Field grown vegetable crops

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