University of Hertfordshire

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The cultivation of strawberries in the UK has increased greatly in the last 20 years, precision choice of varieties and the use of polythene tunnels has lengthened the harvest season from 4 weeks in June and July to 16 to 20 weeks starting in May. However the disease strawberry powdery mildew caused by Podospheara aphanis has become a major problem for growers. The research at UH has concentrated on elucidating the life cycle, following the disease development and survival, and evaluating control strategies including the use of a rule based prediction system. The most recent work shows that the regular use of a silicon nutrient throughout the growing season results in morphological and physiological changes in the strawberry plant which enhance the plants natural defence mechanisms.

Layman's description

The project has developed an integrated management system to control strawberry powdery mildew with reduced fungicide use.

Key findings

The regular use of a silicon nutrient in the fertigation tubes throughout the growing season results in the slowing in the build up of the epidemic.

ID: 8996942