Sustainable Management of Soil-borne Plant Diseases

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By Preston Sullivan

Published: 2004

Updated: 2004



16 pages


Soil-borne diseases result from a reduction of biodiversity of soil organisms. Restoring beneficial organisms that attack, repel, or otherwise antagonize disease-causing pathogens will render a soil disease-suppressive. Plants growing in disease-suppressive soil resist diseases much better than in soils low in biological diversity. Beneficial organisms can be added directly, or the soil environment made more favorable for them through use of compost and other organic amendments. Compost quality determines its effectiveness at suppressing soil-borne plant diseases. Compost quality can be determined through laboratory testing.

Table of Contents

Why Disease?
Strategies for Control: Specific vs. General
General Suppression: Disease Suppressive Soils
    Mycorrhizal Fungi and Disease Suppression
Crop Rotation and Disease Suppression
Plant Nutrients and Disease Control
Compost and Disease Suppression
    Why Compost Works
    Determining and Monitoring Compost Quality
    Direct Inoculation with Beneficial Organisms
Other Resources
    Compost Testing Services
    Biocontrol Products

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This page was last updated on: May 7, 2019