Novel Methods of Weed Control in Containers

in HortTechnology
Hannah M. MathersDepartment of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University, 2001 Fyffe Court, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Nursery growers estimate that they spend $500 to $4000/acre ($1235 to $9880/ha) of containers for manual removal of weeds, depending upon weed species being removed. Economic losses due to weed infestations have been estimated at about $7000/acre ($17,290/ha). Herbicide treated bark nuggets were found extremely effective for weed control in studies during 1998, regardless of whether oxyfluorfen, oryzalin, or isoxaben were applied to the bark. A study conducted in 2000 compared 24 treatments of novel nonchemical alternatives, conventional chemical practices and herbicide treated barks. Four of the best treatments were herbicide treated douglas fir bark, specifically, small [<1 inch (2.5 cm) length] douglas fir nuggets treated with oryzalin at the 1× rate, large (>1 inch length) douglas fir nuggets treated with oryzalin at the 0.5× rate, small douglas fir nuggets treated with oryzalin at the 0.5× rate and large douglas fir nuggets treated with flumioxazin at the 1× rate. The four bark treatments indicated above provided equivalent efficacy and phytotoxicity to Geodiscs. Penn Mulch and Wulpack provided poor weed control. Mori Weed Bag, a black polyethylene sleeve, and Enviro LIDs, a plastic lid provided less control than herbicide treated bark. Compared to the bark alone, herbicide treated bark provides a 1.8-fold increase in efficacy and a 2.8-fold extension in duration of efficacy. Compared to the herbicide alone, herbicide treated bark provides a 1.5-fold increase in efficacy and a 2.2-fold reduction in phytotoxicity. Of the innovative weed control products tested herbicide treated bark provided the most promising results. The data support that the bark nuggets are possibly acting as slow release carriers for the herbicides or reducing the leaching potential of the herbicides. Recent studies have indicated that the controlled release of herbicides using lignin as the matrix offers a promising alternative technology for weed control.

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