A polypropylene fabric containing control-release pellets of the herbicide, trifluralin, can be oriented in the soil to regulate the distribution of plant roots. In 1990, trenches were dug near 10-year-old red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and 10-year-old yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) and fabric containing trifluralin control-release pellets and polypropylene fabric alone were installed vertically to redirect root growth. Roots grew alongside trifluralin fabric and fabric alone and did not penetrate either fabric 38 months after installation. Shoot growth of yellow poplar was reduced about 47% each year by the trifluralin fabric treatment compared to control. Red oak shoot growth was not affected by trifluralin fabric. Leaf water potential was not affected by treatment in either species. Trifluralin residues in trifluralin fabric decreased from 23.3% to 22.0% from July 1990 to October 1993. During this time, trifluralin levels increased from 0.4 to 3.6 mg·kg-1 in soil sampled 0 to 15 cm below trifluralin fabric. These results suggest that controlled-release trifluralin will provide persistent inhibition of root and shoot growth of some species and will not migrate significantly in the soil. Chemical names used: α,α,α-trifluoro-2,6-dinitro-N-N-dipropyl-p-toluidine (trifluralin).
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