Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Horticulture (MS)

Degree Level





Jackie Lee

Committee Member

Elena Garcia

Second Committee Member

Amanda McWhirt

Third Committee Member

Neelendra Joshi


bees, beneficial insects, cover crop, integrated pest management, pollinators, watermelon


Arkansas watermelon growers face a variety of insect pest and disease problems that have the potential to threaten yield. Integrated pest management tactics can provide control over these threats and are intended to cut down on pesticide use and its associated negative impacts like pesticide resistance, non-target effects, and runoff. Cover crops provide an array of benefits and can be useful in integrated pest management. Evidence has shown that certain cover crops can increase beneficial insects and suppress disease in the following cash crop. They can also provide important resources to pollinators. In order to build a better understanding of how cover crops impact insects and disease in Southeastern watermelon production systems, this study sought to investigate a variety of winter cover crops and cover crop mixtures that could be utilized by growers in this region. One of the objectives was to determine the best winter cover crop or cover crop mixture to bridge beneficial insects into watermelon and thereby reduce pests. The study also aimed to evaluate the potential of the different cover crops for suppressing common watermelon diseases. The impact of the cover crops on pollinators, especially those important to watermelon pollination services, was investigated as well. Based on these results, the ultimate goal of this research was to develop recommendations for Arkansas watermelon growers on how winter cover crops can promote pollinators and be implemented as part of an integrated pest management strategy.