Effects of Preemergence Herbicides on Weed Control and Yield and Vase Life of Leatherleaf Fern

in HortScience
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  • 1 Central Florida Research and Education Center, Inst. of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Univ. of Florida, 2807 Binion Road, Apopka, FL 32703

Six preemergence herbicides were applied twice a year at 1x and 2x rates for 2 years to leatherleaf fern [Rumohra adiantiformis (Forst.) Ching] starting from the time of rhizome planting. Predominant weeds present were Cardimine hirsuta, Erechrites hieracifolia, Oxalis stricta, and Phyllanthus tenellus. All herbicides, except pendimethalin and oxadiazon at the 1x rates, reduced weed biomass by 60% to 99% compared to the unweeded control during the fern bed establishment phase (year 1). During that period, hand-weeding times were reduced (51% to 95%) by prodiamine and dithiopyr at both rates, and oxadiazon and pendimethalin at 2x rates. During year 2, herbicides were of greatly reduced benefit due to reduced weed growth caused by the increasingly competitive fern. After 2 years, only 2x dithiopyr-treated plots had reduced yields compared to the hand-weeded controls. Herbicide treatments had no detrimental effects on frond postharvest longevity. In fact, fronds harvested from the 1x isoxaben-treated plots exhibited increased vase life compared to the controls.

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