Trials Tackle Disease

Three Victorian field trials have begun to compare ways of controlling Pythium diseases in Parsnip and Parsley crops.

Pythiums have been described as the “common colds” of plants. They are ubiquitous in vegetable crops and the damage they cause often goes unnoticed except in extreme cases.

Identifying disease control strategies, is the final task undertaken by the research team from DPI-Victoria. The team includes Dr Liz Minchinton, Dr Joanna Petkowski, Dr Dolf de Boer and Dr Fiona Thomson.

The project team have already confirmed the role of Pythium in causing root rot and canker and identified the factors predisposing crops to disease.

Pythium control on Parsnip & Parsley crops
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The first trial is located at Devon Meadows and will compare conventional fungicide treatments for Pythium with :

  • a biological control agent, Bacillus subtilis
  • a cultural technique where soil is hilled over the parsnip crowns

In previous trials, these treatments reduced the incidence and severity of root rot on Parsnip and Coriander.

Parsnip disease control trials
A hilled Parsnip trial plot at Devon Meadows

A second trial at Cranbourne is evaluating the relative susceptibility of 13 different Parsnip varieties to Parsnip Canker disease.

Seed for the variety trial was sourced from Europe and the United States as well as from across Australia.

A standard grower variety is compared against the varieties Albion, Berlinger, Hollow Crown, Javelin, Lancer, Lightning, Melbourne White, Moonshine, Peace, Thunder, 300-9 and 302-9.

Parsnip variety trial
Parsnip variety trials are underway at Cranbourne

The third trial, at Clyde, will investigate the effect of various treatments on the incidence and severity of Parsley root rots and foliage diseases.

The Parsley trial includes :

  • conventional soil and foliar fungicides
  • a biological control agent Bacillus subtilis
  • hilling of soil around the plant crown
  • applying an organic mulch to the soil

This research is funded by DPI-Victoria, the Vegetable Growers R&D levy. The Australian Government provides matched funding for R&D activities through Horticulture Australia.

For more information on these trials contact :

Joanna Petkowski : 9210 9222

See Also :

Pythium and Parsnip Canker

Pythium Field Day

Pythium Workshop Notes 2010

For more information contact your Industry Development Officers :

Slobodan Vujovic
IDO – East
Helena Whitman
IDO – West

0422 583 784

0407 772 299

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