Focus on Cucurbits

Cucurbit Downy Mildew Management for Conventional and Organic Producers

June 2020

By Emily Pfeufer, Ph.D.
Assistant Extension Professor
Diseases of Vegetables and Tobacco
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Phone: 859-218-0721

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Summary: Effective cucurbit downy mildew (CDM) management relies on integration of cultural production techniques and utilization of CDM-specific fungicides, customized to individual farms. This presentation outlines how consultants, Extension educators, cucurbit producers, and others can successfully combine these methods to minimize the impact of CDM on their crops. Cultural production tactics are discussed, such as crop timing, resistant cultivars, and site selection. General plans for fungicide programs are included, with CDM-specific products and the influence of pathogen resistance to fungicides outlined. Region-specific recommendations are balanced with economic considerations, so producers can most effectively customize cucurbit production to their individual farm needs.

Biography: Emily Pfeufer is an Extension plant pathologist and assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Kentucky and has served in this position since 2015. She completed her PhD (2014) and MS (2010) in plant pathology at Penn State and her BS in biology (2008) at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania. Her Cooperative Extension program at the University of Kentucky focuses on integrated disease management of vegetables, tobacco, and herbs and serves producers across the spectrum of farm size. Her concomitant research program contributes information on emerging plant pathogens, pathogen resistance to crop protectants and its influence on population dynamics, and evaluation of biological disease management options. Dr. Pfeufer has been actively involved in the Cucurbit Downy Mildew ipmPIPE since 2015 and has two projects focused on the disease, which synthesize input from Extension agents, commercial producers, master gardeners, and homeowners to monitor for CDM and compare CDM fungicide efficacy levels.

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