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Effect of boron on clubroot of canola in organic and mineral soils and on residual toxicity to rotational crops

Deora, A., Gossen, B.D., Hwang, S.F., Pageau, D., Howard, R.J., Walley, F., McDonald, M.R. (2014). Effect of boron on clubroot of canola in organic and mineral soils and on residual toxicity to rotational crops, 94(1), 109-118.


Application of boron (B) has been reported to reduce clubroot severity in various Brassica spp., but residual B can have phytotoxic effects on other crops in the rotation. The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of broadcast application of B for clubroot suppression in canola (B. napus) and the effect of residual B on wheat, barley, field pea and canola. Field trials to assess clubroot suppression by B at various rates (1 to 64 kg B ha-1) were conducted in organic (Ontario) and mineral soils (Alberta, Quebec) heavily infested with Plasmodiophora brassicae in 2011 and 2012. Phytotoxicity was not observed in canola until applications rates exceeded 48 kg B ha-1. Boron did not reduce clubroot incidence at any site, irrespective of rate, and only reduced severity at the organic soil site at 6 wk after seeding. There was a small increase in shoot weight and yield of canola with increasing B application rates at the organic soil site. The potential phytotoxicity of residual B (4 to 16 kg B ha-1) was assessed in mineral soils in Ontario and Saskatchewan in 2012. Toxicity symptoms were noted initially in most of the crops, but seedlings recovered quickly and there was no significant reduction in fresh weight at harvest or seed yield of most of the cultivars. The present study indicates that pre-plant broadcast application of B delays clubroot development and increases vegetative growth and yield compared with non-treated plants in organic soil. Also, even high residual rates (16 kg ha-1) of application are unlikely to have a negative effect on crops in rotation in mineral soil. However, the effect of B application on canola yield found in this study was not sufficient to justify application for commercial canola production, even where clubroot is prevalent.

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