The Use of Biosolarization for the Reduction of Fusarium Wilt of Lettuce - A Pilot Study
This project addresses the number one priority issue in the 2018 AILRC survey: Disease Control and Management. Fusarium wilt of lettuce caused by the soil-residing fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lactucae (fol) has increasingly become a problem in iceberg lettuce in Arizona, causing significant losses in early season iceberg lettuce crops. Currently, no effective treatments or resistant cultivars are available and until acceptable resistant cultivars are available, chemical or cultural methods are needed to allow a marketable crop to be produced in fields infested with Fol. The Yuma Center of Excellence for Desert Agriculture (YCEDA) is working on several fronts to investigate strategies to suppress this disease. A method that has shown promise is the use of solarization. This pilot study will help to work out the logistics of implementing a full-scale soil biosolarization field trial and provide preliminary data to support a larger-scale grant application to a federal funding agency for a 2020 trial that will develop technically uncomplicated and economical methods for lettuce growers to utilize.