The occurrence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM) root colonization and spore number in soil was assessed for 18 fields under intensive lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) production in California during July and August of 1995. Data on management practices and soil characteristics were compiled for each field, and included a wide range of conditions. The relationship between these factors and the occurrence of VAM in these fields was explored with multivariate statistical analysis. VAM colonization of lettuce tended to decrease with the use of chemical inputs, such as pesticides and high amounts of P and N fertilizers. Addition of soil organic matter amendments, the occurrence of other host crops in the rotation, and soil carbon:phosphorus and carbon:nitrogen ratios, were positively associated with VAM colonization of lettuce roots. The number of VAM spores in soil was strongly correlated with the number of other host crops in the rotation, the occurrence of weed hosts and sampling date, but was more affected by general soil conditions than by management inputs. Higher total soil N, C and P, as well as CEC, were inversely related to soil spore number. A glasshouse study of the two primary lettuce types sampled in the field showed no significant differences in the extent of root colonization under similar growing conditions. The results of this study are compared with other studies on the effects of management and soil conditions on mycorrhizal occurrence in agriculture.
Additional publication details
Survey of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in lettuce production in relation to management and soil factors