Department of Plant Pathology, University of Helsinki
In the petri dish trials the mycelia of Sclerotinia trifoliorum in sterilized soil samples generally infected clover quite readily. In unsterilized samples the infection was less severe and showed marked variations in different years and at different times of the year. In the outdoor trials clover became less infected in the middle of the summer than in the spring and autumn. On the other hand, in the thermostat trials, where the temperature was constantly 7—10°C, the temperature at the time of taking the soil samples did not have a pronounced effect on the extent of clover infection. Liming of the soil caused a marked decrease in the severity of clover rot infection. In some autumns clover plants growing in soil samples taken from fallow were more seriously infected than those growing in soil from a clover field. As a rule, however, there were only slight variations in the extent of infection in the soil samples taken at the same time from the various areas of the field cultivated in different ways. In general, the highest numbers of microorganisms in the soil were found in the autumn and the lowest in the spring. In clover fields there were often more microorganisms – particularly in the autumn – than in fallow. Liming caused an increase in the numbers of soil microbes. S. trifoliorum infected clover very severely at temperatures of 0—5°C; in the range 5—21°C the infection grew generally milder the more the temperature was found to be rising. At temperatures of 5– 10°C an increase in the numbers of soil microbes resulted in a decrease in the infection of the clover. Still higher temperatures, which did not increase the numbers of soil microorganisms, nevertheless enhanced the antagonistic power of the soil.
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