Understanding the role of environment and the use of fungicides for improved control of southern blight of tomato
Roberts, Matthew James
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Southern blight (SB) caused by the fungal pathogen Sclerotium rolfsii is a serious soilborne disease of tomato in the southeastern United States. The use of fungicides and the most effective application methods for their delivery were investigated. Field and greenhouse experiments demonstrated the efficacy of flutolanil, penthiopyrad and fluazinam against S. rolfsii. At-planting drenches of fungicides were determined to be the most efficient application since subsequent in-season fungicide applications did not improve disease control in the field. Separate field studies were conducted to investigate the influence of the soil environment across three plastic mulch colors used in tomato production. Final disease incidence was affected in each mulch color (white, black, and reflective) by differences in soil temperature. Results from this study will help manage SB with the efficient use of fungicides and improve the understanding of SB epidemics in plasticulture tomatoes.