Focus on Cucurbits

Integrated Management of
Fusarium Wilt of Watermelon

June 2020

By Nicholas Dufault, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Phone: 352-273-4623

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Summary: Fusarium wilt of watermelon traditionally has been managed with long-term (greater than 7 years) crop rotation and fumigation with methyl-bromide. However, since the loss of methyl-bromide as a fumigant, Fusarium wilt has become more of a problem for producers throughout the United States. This presentation will help consultants, county agents, growers, and other practitioners in the eastern U.S. watermelon-producing states to understand more about various integrated management techniques used in watermelon production. Specifically, practitioners will learn the following: what management techniques are available for Fusarium wilt, what efficacies and deficiencies are associated with each technique, and how to integrate these tools into a management program using efficacy data and future tools for risk assessment. By the end of this presentation, practitioners will know more about the integrated management of Fusarium wilt and how to utilize the techniques described to manage it.

Biography: Nicholas Dufault is an associate professor and Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Florida. His interests in agriculture and microbiology have led him to become a plant pathologist. His masterís degree and PhD are from The Pennsylvania State University Department of Plant Pathology; there, he studied the impacts of environment on Fusarium graminearum and the aerial dispersal of soybean rust. Before joining the faculty at the University of Florida, Dr. Dufault conducted postdoctoral research on the aerial dispersal of wheat rust in Pennsylvania. His program at the University of Florida focuses on fungal disease management of plant pathogens in agronomic and vegetable crops. One of his specific focuses is examining alternative management strategies for Fusarium wilt of watermelon, with an emphasis on pathogen etiology. Dr. Dufault has a teaching, research, and Extension appointment; he teaches the course on applied plant disease management and is the departmental liaison for the Doctor of Plant Medicine program. Dr. Dufault is working on ways to combine teaching and Extension principles to help develop effective training and courses that can be taught in person and online.

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