The effects of temperature, hours of leaf wetness, age of giant foxtail (setaria faberi herrm.), and host specificity of phoma sp. as a biological herbicide
Inoculation studies were conducted in controlled environments with isolates of a Phoma sue. collected from leaf spot lesions on the weed giant foxtail. Limited host specificity studies resulted in this potential bioherbicide fungus killing all three foxtail species tested including Setaria faberi (giant), a. viridis (green) and S. lutescens (yellow). Several agronomically important plant species tested exhibited a hypersensitive-type response to infection, but these plants soon grew out of this symptom and appeared healthy. This bioherbicide preferred cool temperatures, exhibiting optimal biomass loss (100%) or death against foxtail seedlings following 120 hours leaf wetness with plants incubated at 20°C. At more conducive growth temperatures for the weed (25'C-300C), optimum biomass loss achieved was only 70% following 50 hours leaf wetness. Susceptibility to this Phoma sue. greatly decreased as foxtail seedlings attained 4 or more leaves per plant. To kill this weed, the author recommends inoculation of foxtail seedlings in early evening to take advantage of cooler temperatures and to inoculate plants between cotyledon to 3-leaf stages of growth.