Asparagus officinalis L. cv. Centennial established with transplants in 1983 was maintained with tillage or a no-till (NT) system to evaluate effects of tillage on yield and plant growth in a mature asparagus planting. Metribuzin or metribuzin + napropamide at 1.12 and 1.68 kg a.i./ha, respectively, were used for weed control in both tillage regimes. Marketable yields were assessed for 5 years. In 1989, in addition to yield data, destructive harvests of entire plants were made every 3 weeks from March to November to evaluate the effect of tillage on fern, crown, and bud growth, and carbohydrate status. Yields were reduced by tillage from 12% to 50% from 1985 to 1989. There were no herbicide effects nor was there an effect on yield due to an interaction between herbicides and tillage. All indices of growth measured for NT exceeded those in tilled plots, although seasonal patterns of growth were similar in both. Crown and fern weight, bud cluster, and bud and fern counts were higher by 178%, 175%, 152%, 161%, and 195%, respectively, in NT than in tilled plots. The metribuzin + napropamide combination did not reduce fern fresh weight or yield, but significantly reduced the number of bud clusters, buds, and ferns when compared to metribuzin alone. Chemical names used: 4-amino-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-3-(methylthio)-l (metribuzin); 2,4-triazin-5(4H) -one, N,N-diethyl-2-(naphthalenyloxy)-propanamide (napropamide).
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