HortTechnology (Aug 2019)

Rapid Sand Filtration of Recycled Irrigation Water Controlled Pythium Root Rot of Poinsettia in Greenhouse

  • Sangho Jeon ,
  • Charles S. Krasnow ,
  • Gemini D. Bhalsod ,
  • Blair R. Harlan ,
  • Mary K. Hausbeck ,
  • Steven I. Safferman ,
  • Wei Zhang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 29, no. 5
pp. 578 – 589


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Pythium species incite crown and root rot and can be highly destructive to floriculture crops in greenhouses, especially when irrigation water is recycled. This study assessed the performance of rapid filtration of recycled irrigation water for controlling pythium root rot of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) in greenhouses. Two greenhouse experiments investigated the effect of filter media type (sand and activated carbon), fungicide application (etridiazole), and pathogen inoculum source (infested growing media and infested irrigation water). Rapid sand filtration consistently controlled pythium root rot of poinsettia. Significant improvements in height, weight, root rot severity, and horticultural quality were observed for the plants in the sand filter treatment, compared with the inoculated control plants. However, the activated carbon filter removed essential nutrients from the irrigation water, resulting in plant nutrient deficiency and consequently leaf chlorosis, thus reducing plant weight, height, and horticultural quality. The etridiazole application did not completely prevent root infection by Pythium aphanidermatum, but plant weight, height, and horticultural quality were not negatively affected. P. aphanidermatum spread from infested growing media to healthy plants when irrigation water was recycled without filtration. Rapid sand filtration appears to have the potential to limit the spread of P. aphanidermatum that causes root rot of greenhouse floriculture crops.