Potential biological control of take-all disease in perennial ryegrass
Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is the major pasture grass in New Zealand but is highly susceptible to take-all disease, caused by the root-rot pathogen Gaeumannomyces graminis (Gg). Isolates of the fungus Trichoderma atroviride are known to control Gg but it is not known if a mixture of isolates would be more effective than individual ones. Soil from a field naturally infested with Gg was placed in containers in a glasshouse and sown with ryegrass seeds then treated with one of three Trichoderma atroviride isolates or a mixture of all three isolates. All T. atroviride treatments significantly increased shoot dry matter by 46–73% and root dry matter by 42–62% compared with the control but a mixture of isolates was no more effective than individual isolates. Application of T. atroviride also significantly decreased root disease severity, which was negatively correlated with root dry matter. Takeall in pastures could possibly be controlled by overdrilling grass with a single isolate of T. atroviride.