Plant Pathogen Population Dynamics in Potato Fields


  • G. D. Morgan
  • W. R. Stevenson
  • A. E. MacGuidwin
  • K. A. Kelling
  • L. K. Binning
  • J. Zhu


alternaria solani, early blight, early dying, geostatistics, population dynamics, potato, pratylenchus penetrans, root-lesion nematode, spatial distribution, verticillium dahliae


Modern technologies incorporating Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), remote sensing, and geostatistics provide unique opportunities to advance ecological understanding of pests across a landscape. Increased knowledge of the population dynamics of plant pathogens will promote management strategies, such as site-specific management, and cultural practices minimizing the introduction and impact of plant pathogens. The population dynamics of Alternaria solani, Verticillium dahliae, and Pratylenchus penetrans were investigated in commercial potato fields. A 0.5-ha diamond grid-sampling scheme was georeferenced, and all disease ratings and nematode samples were taken at these grid points. Percent disease severity was rated weekly, and P. penetrans densities were quantified 4 weeks after potato emergence. Spatial statistics and interpolation methods were used to identify the spatial distribution and population dynamics of each pathogen. Interpolated maps and aerial imagery identified A. solani intra-season progression across the fields as the potato crop matured. Late-season nitrogen application reduced A. solani severity. The spatial distributions of V. dahliae and P. penetrans were spatially correlated.