Agronomy and Horticulture, Department of


First Advisor

Loren J. Giesler

Date of this Version


Document Type



Garnica, V. C. 2019. Integrated management of Phytophthora stem and root rot of soybean and the effect of soil-applied herbicides on seedling disease incidence. Masters Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Nebraska.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Agronomy, Under the Supervision of Professor Loren J. Giesler. Lincoln, NE: May 2019.

Copyright (c) 2019 Vinicius Castelli Garnica


Soybean seedling diseases and Phytophthora stem and root rot (PSRR; caused by Phytophthora sojae) are two of the most economically important diseases in North Central U.S. Remarkable differences in disease incidence occur each year, which demonstrate that abiotic and biotic factors must interact for disease onset and development. During 2017 and 2018, field studies were conducted to (i) address the efficacy of seed treatment and genetic resistance for PSRR management on soybean population, canopy coverage (CC), and yield, and (ii) investigate potential interactions between pre-emergence (PRE) herbicides and the incidence of seedling diseases in alluvial soils in Nebraska.

Despite field history, PSRR developed in only four of six environments studied. Commercial seed treatment had a positive effect on plant population density, CC, and yield in at least three environments. Compared to non-treated control, seed treatment increased emergence between 11,600 to 53,700 plants ha–1 and early-season CC between 0.7 to 1.2%. Under high disease pressure, management programs using moderately resistant cultivars improved yields when compared to moderately susceptible cultivars. By contrast, minimum yield differences were detected between Rps1k and Rps1c genotypes, except in one environment. While a weak to moderate correlation was observed between CC and incidence of P. sojae symptomatic plants, a moderate to strong association was found between CC and yield.

Across multiple environments, PRE herbicides chlorimuron-ethyl, metribuzin, saflufenacil, sulfentrazone, and flumioxazin had no impact on seedling root rot (disease severity index; DSI) when compared to the non-treated control. Similarly, no significant differences between PRE herbicides were detected on plant population, plant height, and yield. Community composition depicting primary pathogenic genera Fusarium, Phytophthora, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia did not occur at random but rather varied across environments and DSI classes. In two of the three environments, Phytophthora structured approximately 22% of primary pathogenic genera, whereas, Rhizoctonia recovery was low (<5.5%). These results suggest compatibility of PRE herbicides programs in late-planted soybeans with a history of seedling diseases.

Collectively, the research presented in this thesis furthers our knowledge on the management of soilborne pathogens in soybeans and offers insights into new avenues of research.

Advisor: Loren. J. Giesler