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VCRB :: Contents of Volume 52/2000 :: Detailed information


THE EFFECT OF UNDERSOWING WITH CLOVER ON HOST-PLANT SELECTION BY PEST LEPIDOPTERA OF BRASSICA CROPS

Stan FINCH and Manuela KIENEGGER
Horticulture Research International, Wellesboume, Warwick CV35 9EF, UK


Summary

Laboratory and field-cage tests were done to determine how undersowing brassica plants (Brassica oleraceae L.) with subterranean clover ( Trifolium subterraneum L.) affected host-plant selection by five lepidopterous species that infest brassica crops. The pest species tested were Pieris rapae (the small white butterfly), Pieris brassicae (the large white butterfly), Plutella xylostella (the diamond-back moth), Evergestis forficalis (the garden-pebble moth) and Mamestra brassicae (the cabbage moth). In all tests, except two in which the brassica plants were about three times as high as the clover background, 42%-100% fewer lepidopterous eggs were found on host plants presented in clover than on those presented in bare soil. To be effective in reducing plant colonization, the clover must cover 50%, and preferably more, of the vertical profile of the crop plants. The condition of the clover during critical periods of pest activity needs to be recorded carefully before concluding that undersowing does not produce the effect desired against certain pest lepidoptera.

keywords:clover, undersowing, brassica crops, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Pieris rapae, Pieris brassicae, Plutella xylostella, Evergestis forficalis, Mamestra brassicae

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