Individual study: Fungal pathogens reduce the over of Cirsium arvense over three years in a successional fallow in Germany
Kluth S., Kruess A. & Tscharntke T. (2005) Effects of two pathogens on the performance of Cirsium arvense in a successional fallow. Weed Research, 45, 261-269
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Control weeds without damaging other plants in conservation areas
A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1998-2000 on fallow land at the University of Göttingen, Germany (Kluth et al. 2005) found that fungal pathogens resulted in a decline in cover of creeping thistle Cirsium arvense. Creeping thistle cover decreased significantly (60 to 5%), with an associated increase in co-occurring species in the experimental area over three years (1998-2000) following inoculations with the fungal pathogens Puccinia punctiformis and Phoma destructiva. There was no significant difference between disease incidence of P. punctiformis on creeping thistle in plots following single and triple inoculations, or in control plots (99%). Combined treatment with P. punctiformis and P. destructiva increased the disease incidence with P. destructiva compared to control, fungicide and P. punctiformis treatments in the third year (2-7%). Ten treatments (six replicates) and a control (12 replicates) were randomly assigned to 72 plots. P. punctiformis and P. destructiva were applied once in June, July or August or in all three months/year (1998-2000), or both were applied together in June. These were compared with a fungicide treatment (Opus Top) twice/year and untreated controls. Plots were monitored monthly (May-September) to determine the percentage of creeping thistle infected, disease severity (P. punctiformis) and the percentage cover of creeping thistle and other species.