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The effects of methyl bromide alternatives on soil and seedling pathogen populations, weeds, and seedling morphology in Oregon and Washington forest nurseries

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Five fumigation treatments (a conventional methyl bromide – chloropicrin application and four reduced-rate alternative fumigant treatments) and a nonfumigated treatment were evaluated at two forest nurseries in Oregon and one forest nursery in Washington for their effects on soil pathogen populations, weeds, and seedling morphology during a 2-year study. The effect of plastic tarp composition on fumigant efficacy was also evaluated (virtually impermeable film versus high-density polyethylene). All fumigant treatments reduced soil populations of Fusarium and Pythium for up to 7 months after fumigation and resulted in seedlings with significantly less pathogen colonization than those from the nonfumigated treatment. All fumigant treatments were more effective against pathogen inoculum buried at 15 cm rather than at 30 cm. Fusarium commune Skovgaard, O’Donnell et Nirenberg, Fusarium oxysporum Schlect. emend. Snyder & Hansen, isolates from the Gibberella fujikuroi Saw. complex, Pythium irregulare Buisman, Pythium aff. spiculum B. Paul 2006, Pythium sylvaticum Campbell & Hendrix, and Pythiumvipa’ Hermansen & Klemsdal were the most commonly isolated pathogens. Weed biomass and weeding times were significantly reduced by fumigation, but only at the Washington nursery with high weed pressure. No significant differences were observed in efficacy between the conventional methyl bromide – chloropicrin treatment and any of the reduced rate fumigants or between the two types of plastic tarp. Conifer seedling height, diameter, shoot volume, and root volume were significantly greater in all fumigated treatments compared with the nonfumigated treatment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: U.S. Department of Agriculture Agriculture Research Service, Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, and Oregon State University, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. 2: School of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. 3: Weyerhaeuser Forestry Research Center, Centralia, WA 98531, USA. 4: Washington State University Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, Mount Vernon, WA 98273, USA. 5: Oregon State University, Department of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management, 204 Peavy Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

Publication date: September 29, 2011

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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