Relationship of Ditylenchus dipsaci and Harvest Practices to the Persistence of Alfalfa

G. D. Griffin


Persistence of dormant Ranger and nondormant Moapa alfalfas, both susceptible to Ditylenchus dipsaci, varied with stand age and cutting frequency. Stand reduction increased with cutting frequency. In D. dipsaci-infested soil, stand reductions in Ranger 1, 4, and 5 years old exceeded reductions in stands 2 and 3 years old; persistence was greatest in 2-year-old stands. In Moapa alfalfa, D. dipsaci reduced stands the most in years 2 and 3; whereas persistence was greatest in 1-year-old stands. Harvesting Ranger alfalfa one, two, three, and four times during the growing season reduced 2-year-old stands by 10, 14, 19, and 29% in D. dipsaci-infested soil and by 2, 4, 4, and 7% in uninfested soil, respectively. Comparable reductions in Moapa alfalfa were 13, 16, 18, and 38% in infested soil and 0, 2, 4, and 6% in uninfested soil. Cutting frequency had less effect on persistence of resistant semidormant Lahontan grown in D. dipsaci-infested soil relative to susceptible cultivars. Increasing the number of cuttings per year decreased storage of total nonstructural carbohydrate and adversely affected persistence of alfalfa stands and yields; the greatest negative effects occurred on both resistant and susceptible alfalfa in D. dipsaci-infested soil. Key words: alfalfa, alfalfa stem nematode, Ditylenchus dipsaci, harvest management, Medicago sativa, pathogenicity, persistence, nonstructural carbohydrate, yield.

Full Text: