Control of anthracnose of muskmelon with fungicide sprays timed according to the Melcast warning system
Melcast is a disease-warning system that uses hourly leaf wetness and temperature data to help melon growers schedule fungicide applications for managing fungal diseases. Melcast translates hourly temperature and leaf wetness duration data into environmental favorability index (EFI) values. Fungicide applications are advised at intervals defined by epidemiological time (EFI values) rather than by chronological time (days or weeks).
Materials and Methods
- Muskmelon transplants were planted to black plastic-covered beds in a drip-irrigated field at Iowa State University Horticultural Farm in Gilbert, IA and at and the Muscatine Island Research Station in Fruitland.
- Standard practices for management of fertility, weeds, and insects for muskmelon grown in Iowa followed Iowa State University Extension recommendations.
- The experiment was arranged as a randomized complete block design with 4 replications. Fungicides were applied with backpack sprayers.
- All plots were sprayed with fungicides, except the non-treated control, when vines first touched within rows. Subsequent treatments were applied either on a set schedule or using Melcast model for anthracnose leaf blight using a threshold of 35 EFI to trigger fungicide applications.
- Plants were inoculated with Colletotrichum lagenariumi one week after first fungicide application.