Sclerotium Rot Disease Management in Sunflower (Helianthus annuus, L.) with Sawdust or Ash Extract
The potency of sawdust or ash extracts of Gmelina arborea and Ficus exasperata to manage Sclerotium rot disease of two sunflower varieties (SAMSUN 1 and SAMSUN 2) was investigated. Sunflower plants were sprayed with 50% extracts once every three weeks after planting. Results showed that all extracts significantly (p<0.05) reduced the incidence and severity of the disease. Specifically, ash extracts of G. arborea and F. exasperata reduced the incidence of Sclerotium rot disease on sunflower plants and minimized disease development, thereby, preventing achene and flower infection. Seeds from the plots sprayed with ash extracts of F. exasperata recorded significant lower fungal infection ranging from 23.78 to 40.04% compared to unsprayed plots (70.29 to71.27%). Similarly, germination percentage of seeds from sprayed plots was significantly (p<0.05) higher (range: 67.21 to 89.71%) than that of control (15.09 to 20.14%). Seed stored with extracts had a significantly (p<0.05) lower fungal incidence (13.61 to 16.11%) than that without extract (21.81 to 24.11%). Likewise, extract-stored seeds recorded significantly (p<0.05) higher germination (69.11and 98.14%) than control (17.26 and 20.17%). In conclusion, sawdust or ash extracts of G. arborea and F. exasperata were comparable to Benlate (Benzimidazoles 50% WP) in their effect to suppress Sclerotium rot disease in sunflower varieties; therefore they hold promising prospects for use in the management of sunflower Sclerotium rot disease.
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