Field Insights

Start with Soil to Protect Watermelons from Fusarium Wilt

Adverse weather conditions can lead to Fusarium wilt damaging your watermelon crops. See how Miravis Prime fungicide can protect your crops from the moment they’re planted.

Although one of the top fresh market crops in the U.S., watermelons can be vulnerable to disease, especially in the Southeast. Cool and wet conditions in early spring open the door for fungal disease to infect seedlings whereas hot and humid Southeastern summers cause additional stress that makes it difficult for plants to outcompete pathogens.

Fusarium wilt in watermelons is caused by the host-specific seed- and soil-borne pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (FON), which invades the roots of the plant. Seedlings infected by Fusarium wilt may experience damping off, resulting in decreased stands. As the disease advances in older plants, extensive damage to the vascular tissue results in permanent wilting of the entire plant. Fusarium wilt can drastically decrease marketability as fruit produced by infected plants is likely to split or become sunburned.

According to the University of Florida, Fusarium wilt can eliminate all marketable yield in an infected field. It is also one of the most difficult diseases for growers to manage because FON spores can survive in the soil for up to twenty years without a viable watermelon host. The pathogen spreads readily on infected seeds, in soil transported by water runoff, and on equipment and boots. These factors make it extremely challenging to control Fusarium wilt with cultural practices alone.

Fusarium Wilt Protection Starts with Soil

In the past, watermelon growers relied on soil fumigation to augment cultural practices and manage Fusarium wilt. Despite this, the University of Georgia finds that watermelon crop yield losses due to Fusarium wilt are increasing. This is because soil fumigation fails to eliminate all the spores in soil and long-term crop rotation is not often feasible. Until recently, growers have had limited success with fungicides.

Soil applications of Miravis® Prime fungicide, powered by ADEPIDYN® technology and fludioxonil, is a new option for growers looking to suppress Fusarium wilt in watermelon fields. When applied before or at planting, soil applications of Miravis Prime offer growers a new tool to protect their bottom lines and set their fields up for long-term success.

February 2024 | By Syngenta Thrive
  • When Fusarium wilt infects watermelon seedlings, there can be season-long consequences.
  • Fusarium wilt infections start in the soil – your management strategies should too.
  • Soil applications of Miravis® Prime fungicide suppress Fusarium wilt watermelon fields.