Crop rotation and genetic resistance reduce risk of damage from Fusarium wilt in lettuce
Fusarium wilt of lettuce, caused by the soilborne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lactucae, affects all major lettuce production areas in California and Arizona. In trials at UC Davis, we found that lettuce cultivars differ significantly in susceptibility to the disease, with some leaf and romaine types highly resistant under all test conditions. For more susceptible cultivars, disease severity is strongly infuenced by inoculum levels and ambient temperature. Management of Fusarium wilt requires an integrated approach that includes crop rotation to reduce soil inoculum levels and the use of resistant cultivars during the warmest planting windows.