Biological Assessment of Herbicide Use in Apple Production II. Estimated Impacts following Loss of Specific Herbicides

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  • 1 Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, Virginia Tech, HRAREC, Virginia Beach, VA 23455.

Assessing herbicide impacts are difficult due to the indirect effects of weeds on apple (Malus domestica Borkh) growth and development. Herbicide loss will increase potential for development of herbicide-resistant weeds. A limited number of alternatives exist for herbicides currently used in apple production. Switching to certain herbicides increases potential for crop injury. Certain alternatives have higher acute toxicity or are more expensive. No alternatives exist to 2,4-D for broadleaf control in grass alleyways. Nonselective herbicides are alternatives to 2,4-D within the row but pose a greater risk of crop injury. It is difficult to assess long-term impact of 2,4-D loss due to impact on pollination and pest management. Loss of glyphosate will result in yield losses in apple production. Most alternatives to glyphosate are less effective on perennial weed species. Paraquat, one alternative to glyphosate, poses greater hazard to the applicator due to its higher acute toxicity. Diuron is important for rotation with simazine to prevent the development of herbicide-resistance weeds. Norflurazon has an important use in recently planted orchards, where few alternatives exist for yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus L.) control. Oryzalin is commonly used for newly planted orchards and certain alternatives can only be used on nonbearing trees. Alternatives to paraquat pose greater risk of tree injury, although there would be increased worker safety with alternative products. Glyphosate would be the predominate alternative if paraquat was no longer available. Simazine would be the predominate replacement if diuron were no longer available and diuron would be the predominant alternative if simazine was no longer registered for use. Resistance management would be negatively impacted if growers relied on simazine or diuron as their primary preemergence herbicide.

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