Integrated Pest Management
Powdery Mildew Tolerant Pumpkin Trial
Drought Slows Pumpkins and Disease
In Shelby County, as well as other parts of Kentucky, many farmers are looking into non-traditional agricultural crops as a way to increase their farm profitability through diversification. Some of the local farmers in Shelby County had grown pumpkins in the past with limited success. Just as with any new crop, a major obstacle to achieving a consistent success rate with this crop was the lack of knowledge about disease and insect problems inherent to growing pumpkins.
To demonstrate to growers the concept and practice of using resistent varieties and insect monitoring systems as components of an effective Integrated Pest Management system, Mr. Tom McClure, Shelby County Extension Agent for Horticulture, planned a plot study to test powdery mildew resistant pumpkin varieties. Through the cooperation of a Shelby County grower and working with Dr. Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist, and Dr. Terry Jones and Dr. John Strang, Extension Horticulture Specialists, the plot study began on July 1, 1999. Approximately one-third an acre was planted. The study plots were replicated three times and each included thirteen varieties.
The transplants were watered in at the time of planting and no further irrigation was used during the entire growing season. Due to a severe drought the plants produced poorly and stayed in a constant state of apparent wilt. Also due in part to the drought, the white powdery residue of powdery mildew was never present on the pumpkin leaves making this test unsuccessful.
Growers were not able to see the benefits of using a Powdery Mildew tolerant variety, but other beneficial practices were demonstrated. Viewing the test plots, growers were able to see the benefits of using an herbicide. The use of pheromone traps for squash vine borer was also demonstrated.
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