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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 23: I International Symposium on Flowerbulbs

ALUMINUM FOIL MULCH REDUCES APHID TRANSMISSION OF CUCUMBER MOSAIC VIRUS IN GLADIOLUS

Authors:   A. Bing, G.V. Johnson
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.1971.23.46
Abstract:
Cucumber mosaic virus infection is expressed in many varieties of gladiolus as acolour break in red or pink flowers and as a severe petal crinkling in some yellow or white varieties; leaves of infected plants are usually streaked while a few infected varieties have wrinkled corms. Some varieties are dwarfed by the disease and many produce unsalable flowers.

The virus is commonly transmitted by the feeding of winged aphids. Systemic or foliar insecticide applications are ineffective in preventing spread of the virus, because the aphids feed and move from plant to plant too quickly to be killed before the plant is inoculated. In northern U.S. the highest aphid population and virus transmission is during August, hence late June and July commercial plantings are risky.

In experiments winged aphid populations are measured by yellow water pan aphid traps. Plants are visually indexed for symptoms. Many surfaces were evaluated and aluminum proved best. Aluminum foil mulch over at least 50% of the soil surface repels 90–95% of the aphids and reduces virus spread in plantings. This method provides the most effective control available at present. Aluminum foil mulch is most cheaply and effectively applied as a laminate on paper.

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