Fall- and spring-sown cover crop mulches affect yield, fruit cleanliness, and fusarium fruit rot development in pumpkin

Christian A. Wyenandt, Richard M. Riedel, Landon H. Rhodes, Mark A. Bennett, Stephen G.P. Nameth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In 2001 and 2002, fall- and spring-sown, spring-killed or spring-sown living cover crops mulches were evaluated for their effects on pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) number and weight, fruit cleanliness, and fusarium fruit rot (FFR; Fusarium solani f. sp. cucurbitae race 1). In general, the number and weight of orange (mature) fruit and total fruit weight were higher in bare soil (conventional), fall- or spring-sown, spring-killed cover crop mulches compared with spring-sown, living annual medic (Medicago spp.) cover crop mulches. In both years, pumpkins grown on fall-sown winter rye (Secale cereale), hairy vetch (Vicia villosa), winter rye + hairy vetch, and spring-sown oat (Avena sativa) produced fruit numbers and weights comparable to or slightly higher than bare soil (conventional) production, suggesting that these cover crop mulches had no effects on reducing pumpkin yield. The number and weight of pumpkins grown in spring-sown, living annual medic cover crop mulches were reduced in both years compared with the other cover crop mulches. On artificially inoculated field plots, percentages of groundcover at harvest and fruit with FFR were 89% and 5% in fall-sown winter rye (seeded at 90 lb/acre), 88% and 10% in fall-sown rye (50 lb/acre), 85% and 5% in fallsown rye + hairy vetch (50 lb/acre each), 19% and 30% in fall-sown hairy vetch (50 lb/acre), 23% and 23% in spring-sown oat (110 lb/acre), 1% and 25% to 39% in spring-sown, living annual medics (40 lb/acre) and 0% and 46% in bare soil plots, respectively. Results suggest that cover cropmulches such as fall-sownwinter rye, fallsown winter rye + hairy vetch, or spring-sown, spring-killed oat killed and left on the soil surface may help reduce losses to FFR in pumpkin production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-354
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture


  • Annual medic
  • Fusarium solani f. sp. cucurbitae
  • Hairy vetch
  • M. polymorpha
  • Medicago truncatula
  • Secale cereale
  • Vicia villosa
  • Winter rye

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