- Resistance towards soil borne diseases verticillium wilt (figure 1), fusarium wilt, root nematode etc.
- Reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides
- Increased vigor and yield
- Tolerance to environmental stress
- Better water and nutrient uptake
Our research projects involve how to graft watermelon and the use of grafted watermelon as a biological disease management practice for verticillium wilt. Rootstock regrowth and labor are the major concerns with one cotyledon grafting method, which is the most commonly used method for watermelon. Our research studies have advanced grafting watermelon using the splice grafting method where both cotyledons are removed from the rootstock, thereby attaining affordable grafted watermelon transplants to expand utilization.
Figure 1. Non-grafted ‘Fascination’ watermelon plant with verticillium wilt, and (B) grafted ‘Fascination’ watermelon plant without verticillium wilt; photos taken on the same day in adjacent areas of the same field, 22 September 2017.