When it comes to watermelon, one of the ongoing and increasing challenges is fusarium wilt.
This disease is caused by a soil-borne fungus called Fusarium oxysporum. The type of fusarium that causes fusarium wilt is specialized to watermelon, says Bhabesh Dutta, a vegetable Extension pathologist at the University of Georgia.
Dutta is leading a collaborative team to examine how fungicides and fumigants can potentially help reduce fusarium wilt. “This is the first year of a field trial where we evaluated a potential interaction of a soil fumigant and a labeled fungicide to manage this disease,” he says.
According to Dutta, fusarium wilt in watermelon has been an issue for six or seven years. However, it has continued to worsen. He says the main goal of this study is to ensure the reduction of disease incidence and severity. Yield will be examined, but the main focus is on creating a way to manage and reduce fusarium wilt.
“Fusarium is the number-one problem right now in watermelon in the southeastern United States,” says Dutta.
Many different teams are working to create a management plan for fusarium and they are collaborating to create the best outcome.
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