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Evaluation of Two Commercially Available Composts for Managing Phytophthora Fruit Rot of Pumpkin 2001

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Project Leader(s): Anu Rangarajan, Dept. of Fruit and Vegetable Science, Cornell

Margaret Tuttle McGrath, Dept. of Plant Pathology, Cornell

Cooperator(s): Ted Blomgren, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Capital District

Type of grant: Biological control and pest biology

Cultural methods; sanitation; physical controls

Systems comparison trials

Project location(s): Research plots were located in Riverhead, Long Island and Schoharie, New York. Results may be applied throughout the Northeast or nationally.

Abstract: The goal of this project was to evaluate commercially available composts for managing Phytophthora fruit rot of pumpkin. Five composts were screened for disease suppressiveness against common soil borne disease organisms in the greenhouse. One product stood out as highly suppressive. This compost (Nutribrew) was then applied to two fields with a history of Phytophthora capsici. In one field, no disease occurred. Pumpkin growth and yield was significantly improved where compost was applied, and 20 tons/a was adequate to achieve this improvement. The compost contributed to both nutrients as well as moisture conservation. In the other field, the disease pressure was high, and compost applications did not reduce the disease level. These results may suggest the need for several years of application before diseases may be reduced.