Four field experiments on the control of Dematophora necatrix in avocado orchards affected by white root rat were conducted in the Mediterranean coastal area of southern Spain during 1991 to 1994. In the unshaded locations of solarized plots, the maximal temperatures were 35 to 42 degrees C, depending upon the year and soil depth (15 to 60 cm). Temperature increases attributable to soil solarization ranged between 4 and 8 degrees C in unshaded areas, whereas for shaded areas they were approximately 4 degrees C. Inoculum recovery was decreased in root samples buried at 15 to 30 cm in unshaded locations of both solarized and unsolarized plots after 3 to 5 weeks, whereas 4 to 8 weeks of solarization were required for the elimination of the pathogen buried at depths of 45 to 60 cm. In contrast, inoculum recovery ranged from 30 to 60% for samples in shaded locations of unsolarized plots. D. necatrix was not recovered from roots of infected trees in solarized plots sampled 9 months after solarization, whereas recovery from roots in unsolarized plots was similar to levels before solarization. Soil solarization in established orchards was successful in reducing viability of inoculum buried in soil and eliminated inoculum in infected roots of live trees.
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