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.