Soil Flooding and Fumigant Alternatives to Methyl Bromide in Tomato and Eggplant Production

in HortScience

Methyl bromide (MeBr) is an important and effective soil fumigant commonly used to control weeds and soilborne pests. Because MeBr has been implicated as a contributor to the depletion of stratospheric ozone, it is scheduled for phaseout by 2005. This study examined nonchemical and chemical practices as alternatives to MeBr. Off-season flooding followed by a series of soil preplant chemical treatments [MeBr with 33% Pic; 1,3-D mixed with 17% (C-17) and 35% (C-35) Pic combined with Peb; and metam-Na combined with 1,3-D and Peb were evaluated on spring tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) and eggplant (Solanum melongena) production in northern Florida. Pest control and tomato and eggplant yields were not significantly different between the flooded and non-flooded control plots. The most effective alternatives to MeBr were 1,3-D and Pic mixtures (C-17 and C-35) combined with Peb. Tomato and eggplant yields for these chemicals were statistically equivalent to that of MeBr. Tomato, but not eggplant, yield and nematode control were poor with metam-Na combined with 1,3-D and Peb in comparison to the other fumigant combinations. Chemical names used: 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D); trichloronitromethane [chloropicrin (Pic)]; S-propyl butyl(ethyl)thiocarbamate [pebulate (Peb)]; sodium N-methyldithiocarbamate (metam-sodium (metam-Na)].

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