MELCAST Disease Forecasting for Watermelons

Kate Everts, Vegetable Pathologist, University of Delaware and University of Maryland;

The weather based forecasting program MELCAST on watermelon will begin in the next week. MELCAST is a weather-based spray scheduling program for anthracnose and gummy stem blight of watermelon. If you received a report in 2008, you should automatically receive the first report next week. If your email or fax number has changed, please call us. If you do not receive a report and would like to, please call Jeri Cook at (410) 742-8788 and give us your name and fax number or e-mail address. MELCAST also is available online – bookmark the site Click on the watermelon picture.

To use MELCAST for watermelons, apply the first fungicide spray when the watermelon vines meet within the row. Additional sprays should be applied using MELCAST. Accumulate EFI (environmental favorability index) values beginning the day after your first fungicide spray. Apply a fungicide spray when 30 EFI values have accumulated by the weather station nearest your fields. Add 2 points for each overhead irrigation that is applied. After a fungicide is applied, reset your counter to 0 and start over. If a spray has not been applied in 14 days, apply a fungicide, reset the counter to 0 and start over. Please call Kate Everts if you have any questions on how to use MELCAST on your crop (410) 742-8789.

Because of widespread resistance to Quadris in our area, chlorothalonil (Bravo, etc.) or Pristine plus chlorothalonil alternated with chlorothalonil is recommended when spraying according to MELCAST. If a serious disease outbreak occurs in your field, return to a weekly spray schedule.