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Observations on the effect of phosphorus potassium and sulfur fertilization on alfalfa infected by phytophthora megasperma

, : Observations on the effect of phosphorus potassium and sulfur fertilization on alfalfa infected by phytophthora megasperma. Journal of Production Agriculture 2(2): 136-139

Phytophthora root rot (Phytophthora megasperma Drechs. f. sp. medicaginis) of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) developed during a relatively wet season in a P, K, S fertility study on a moderately well drained Hibbing silty clay loam soil (fine, mixed, frigid, Typic Eutroboralf) following the second cutting of a 2-yr-old stand. Disease severity index (DSI) was 44 (range 0 to 100) when averaged across all treatments. The severity of Phytophthora root rot was inversely correlated with herbage yield (r = -0.37***) and number of living plants (r = -0.54***) taken at third cutting. The severity of Phytophthora root rot was significantly greater and forage yield significantly less in plots treated with 25 lb/acre S compared with untreated plots. The DSI was also positively correlated with S treatment (r = 0.35***). Although increased levels of K fertilizer did not influence the severity of Phytophthora root rot observed, forage yield positively responded to increasing rates of applied K in the presence of this disease. Phosphorus had no effect on severity of Phytophthora root rot or forage yield. Application of S results in fewer living plants/sq ft compared with plots that did not receive additional S. Phosphorus and potassium fertilization had no significant effect on plant numbers. The mechanism(s) responsible for the increased severity of Phytophthora root rot in S treated plots is not known.

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