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Response of Cover Crops to Phytopythium vexans, Phytophthora nicotianae, and Rhizoctonia solani, Major Soilborne Pathogens of Woody Ornamentals

The nursery crop industry is the fastest growing sector of US agriculture, contributing USD 5.1 billion to the economy. Due to the increased area and production of nursery crops, exploration of the constraints of their production is necessary. One of the major limitations of nursery crop production is soilborne diseases. The revolution of chemical plant protection and the development of site-specific chemicals are leading the way in disease management. However, continuous, and haphazard use of these chemicals makes them less effective on these pathogens. The use of cover crops is generally confined to agronomic and vegetable crops, their benefits in woody ornamental production systems are also being realized. In this study, 14 cover crops were selected which are generally used in the Southeastern U.S. and screened them for germination to identify effective species that can be used in a nursery field production system.

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