A 2-year field study in Lexington, Ky., evaluated weed control efficacy and influence on yields of several organic mulches in two organically managed bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) production systems. Five weed control treatments [straw, compost, wood chips, undersown white dutch clover (Trifolium repens) “living mulch,” and the organically approved herbicide corn gluten] were applied to two production systems consisting of peppers planted in double rows in either flat, bare ground or on black polyethylene-covered raised beds. In the first year, treatments were applied at transplanting and no treatment was found to provide acceptable season-long weed control. As a result, bell pepper yields in both production systems were very low due to extensive weed competition. First year failures in weed control required a modification of the experimental protocol in the second year such that treatment application was delayed for 6 weeks, during which time three shallow cultivations were used to reduce early weed pressure and extend the control provided by the mulches. This approach increased the average weed control rating provided by the mulches from 45% in 2003 to 86% in 2004, and resulted in greatly improved yields. In both years, polyethylene-covered raised beds produced higher yields than the flat, bare ground system (8310 lb/acre compared to 1012 lb/acre in 2003 and 42,900 lb/acre compared to 29,700 lb/acre in 2004). In the second year, the polyethylene-covered bed system coupled with mulching in-between beds with compost or wood chips provided excellent weed control and yields. When using the wood chip mulch, which was obtained at no cost, net returns were $5587/acre, which is similar to typical returns for conventionally grown peppers in Kentucky. Net returns were substantially decreased when using compost due to the purchase cost. Results from this study indicate that shallow cultivation following transplanting, combined with midseason mulch application, resulted in high yields in an organically managed bell pepper system that were comparable to yields of most varieties grown conventionally in a variety trial conducted on the same farm.
The herbicides paraquat, trifluralin, and metolachlor were compared for efficacy of weed control in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] with and without cultivation as a supplemental strategy. Herbicides also were compared against a no cultivation-no herbicide treatment (control) and against cultivation without an herbicide. Cultivation had no significant effect on seed yield, biological yield, or harvest index of cowpea. Paraquat, applied before seeding but after emergence of weeds, was ineffective for weed control and usually did not change cowpea yield from that obtained without an herbicide. Trifluralin and metolachlor more than tripled cowpea seed yield compared with that obtained without an herbicide in 1988, when potential weed pressure was 886 g·m-2 (dry weight). The main effects of trifluralin and metolachlor were not significant for cowpea seed yield in 1989, when potential weed pressure was 319 g·m-2 (dry weight). However, in 1989, these two herbicides still increased cowpea seed yield compared with that of the control and increased net farm income by more than $300/ha compared with the income obtained from the control. Chemical names used 1,1'-dimethyl-4,4' -bipyridlnium salts (paraquat); 2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzenamine (trifluralin); 2-chloro-N-(2-ethyl-6 -methylphenyl)-N-(2-methoxy-l-methylethyl) acetamide (metolachlor).
Five preemergence herbicides were applied to seven herbaceous perennials to evaluate weed control efficacy and phytotoxicity. Different species were used each year. The species used during 1992 were coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida Ait. `Goldstrum'), common foxglove (Digitalis purpurea L. `Excelsior'), Shasta daisy (Leucanthemum ×superbum Bergmans `Alaska'), Stokes's aster (Stokesia laevis Greene `Blue Danube'), and avens (Geum Quellyon Sweet `Mrs. Bradshaw'). The species used in 1993 were woolly yarrow (Achillea tomentosa L.) and woolly thyme (Thymus pseudolanuginosus Ronn.). The herbicides and rates were napropamide (Devrinol 10G) at 4 and 8 lb a.i./acre; metolachlor (Pennant 5G) at 4 and 8 lb a.i./acre; oxyfluorfen+oryzalin (Rout 3G) at 3 and 12 lb a.i./acre; trifluralin (Treflan 5G) at 4 and 8 lb a.i./acre; and oxadiazon (Ronstar 2G) at 4 and 8 lb a.i./acre. Plants were grown in no. 1 containers and weed seeds were sown onto the substrate surface. Two control treatments, no herbicides but with weeds (weedy control), and no weeds or herbicides (weed-free control) also were evaluated. Weed control was effective and similar for all herbicides tested. Napropamide at 8 lb a.i./acre caused stunting in foxglove (20% to 45% less growth compared to weed-free control). Oxyfluorfen + oryzlain at 12 lb a.i./acre caused severe phytotoxicity (≈80% to 95% of plant injured) and stunted the growth (70% to 80% less growth, sometimes plant death) of woolly yarrow. Woolly thyme was stunted by all herbicides when applied at the recommended rates (42% to 97% less growth compared to control) except for oxadiazon and oxyfluorfen + oryzlain. Woolly thyme appeared to be more susceptible to phytotoxicity due to its less-vigorous growth habit and shallow, adventitious roots that were in contact with the herbicide.
A 2-yearfield study in Lexington, Ky., evaluated the use of mulches in two organic production systems for bell peppers. Two planting strategies, flat ground and plastic-covered raised beds, and five weed control practices, straw mulch, compost mulch, wood chip mulch, corn gluten, and “living mulch” clover were tested. In 2003, the mulches were applied at planting, while in 2004, shallow soil cultivation was used for 6 weeks prior to mulch application. In 2003, the experimental field had been under a winter wheat cover crop; in 2004, the field had been cover cropped for more than a year prior to planting with sudex/cowpea (Summer 2003) and rye/hairy vetch (Winter/Spring 2004). Bell pepper yields in both bed treatments were very low in 2003 due to extensive weed competition. In 2004, plastic-covered raised beds coupled with mulching in-between beds resulted in significantly higher yields than the peppers grown on flat ground. These yields were as high as yields from a conventional pepper trial conducted on the same farm. Compost mulch, continuous cultivation, and wood chip mulch provided excellent weed control in 2004. Straw mulch was variable in its weed control efficacy; corn gluten and “living mulch” clover were ineffective.
The loss of methyl bromide (MB) as a soil fumigant has created the need for new weed management systems for crops such as strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne). Potential alternative chemicals to replace methyl bromide fumigation include 1,3-D, chloropicrin (CP), and metam sodium. Application of emulsified formulations of these fumigants through the drip irrigation system is being tested as an alternative to the standard shank injection method of fumigant application in strawberry production. The goal of this research was to evaluate the weed control efficacy of alternative fumigants applied through the drip irrigation system and by shank injection. The fumigant 1,3-D in a mixture with CP was drip-applied as InLine (60% 1,3-D plus 32% CP) at 236 and 393 L·ha-1 or shank injected as Telone C35 (62% 1,3-D plus 35% CP) at 374 L·ha-1. Chloropicrin (CP EC, 95%) was drip-applied singly at 130 and 200 L·ha-1 or shank injected (CP, 99%) at 317 kg·ha-1. Vapam HL (metam sodium 42%) was drip-applied singly at 420 and 700 L·ha-1. InLine was drip-applied at 236 and 393 L·ha-1, and then 6 d later followed by (fb) drip-applied Vapam HL at 420 and 700 L·ha-1, respectively. CP EC was drip-applied simultaneously with Vapam HL at 130 plus 420 L·ha-1 and as a sequential application at 200 fb 420 L·ha-1, respectively. Results were compared to the commercial standard, MB : CP mixture (67:33) shank-applied at 425 kg·ha-1 and the untreated control. Chloropicrin EC at 200 L·ha-1 and InLine at 236 to 393 L·ha-1 each applied singly controlled weeds as well as MB : CP at 425 kg·ha-1. Application of these fumigants through the drip irrigation systems provided equal or better weed control than equivalent rates applied by shank injection. InLine and CP EC efficacy on little mallow (Malva parviflora L.) or prostrate knotweed (Polygonum aviculare L.) seed buried at the center of the bed did not differ from MB : CP. However, the percentage of weed seed survival at the edge of the bed was often higher in the drip-applied treatments than in the shank-applied treatments, possibly due to the close proximity of the shank-injected fumigant to the edge of the bed. Vapam HL was generally less effective than MB : CP on the native weed population or on weed seed. The use of Vapam HL in combination with InLine or CP EC did not provide additional weed control benefit. Chemical names used: 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D); sodium N-methyldithiocarbamate (metam sodium); methyl bromide; trichloro-nitromethane (chloropicrin).
Three landscape fabrics, Magic Mat®, a heavy black plastic woven fabric with a fuzzy underside; Weed Mat®, a thin black plastic sheet with small holes; and Typar®, a dark gray spun bonded material, with and without a cover of organic oak bark mulch, were evaluated for weed control and ability of strawberry plant roots to establish through the fabrics over a 4-year period. Landscape fabrics reduced weed numbers for the first 3 years in comparison with the bare ground treatment. With few exceptions. the organic mulch did not improve the weed control capability of landscape fabrics. Fruit yield for the Weed Mat and Magic Mat treatments did not differ from the bare ground treatment, but was lower for the Typar treatment when averaged over organic mulch treatments. Fruit yield was higher where the organic mulch was used when averaged over all landscape fabric treatments. Fruit size was slightly larger for the bare ground and smallest for the Typar treatments during the first harvest season, but there was no difference in fruit size by the third year of harvest. Fruit size for the organic mulched plots was slightly larger than that for the unmulched plots the second year of harvest, but there was no difference for the first or third years. The number of strawberry runner plants that rooted and plant row vigor were greater for the Weed Mat, Magic Mat and plots without the landscape fabric than for the Typar plots, particularly in the second and third season. Rooting of runner plants and plant row vigor was better with organic mulch. Landscape fabric tended to reduce extent of rooting, especially in the first season, but it was improved by the application of organic mulch.
Diuron at 2.2,4.4, and 8.9 kg/ha was ineffective in controlling grass and broadleaf weeds in a muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.) vineyard while diuron at 4.4 or 8.9 followed by dalapon at 5.5 kg/ha gave effective weed control with no visible phytotoxicity. Yields were significantly reduced at the 2.2 and 8.9 kg/ha diuron rates and by diuron at 8.9 in combination with dalapon at 5.5 kg/ha. A simazine, dalapon, and 2,4-D system also controlled weeds in the vineyard with no influence on yield. Herbicide treatments had no effect on soluble solids of the fruit.
Several herbidices were evaluated over a 2-year period as early and late postemergence teratments applied to low-statured blueberry plants (Vaccinium angustifolium × V. corymbosum L.) growing in a low-organic matter soil in northern Minnesota. Good to excellent control of quackgrass (Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.) was obtained with both terbacil [3-tert-butyl-5-chloro-6-methyluracil] and glyphosate [N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine]. The annual broadleaf weed complex was effectively controlled by simazine [2-chloro4,6-bis(ethylamino)-s-triazine] and terbacil. Glyphosate controlled quackgrass the most consistently. Terbacil, through root absorption, and glyphosate and paraquat [1,1’-dimethyl-4,4’-bipyridinium ion], by foliage contact, injured the blueberry plant.
Fall-planted cover crops killed in spring is practiced in strawberry cultivation in different regions of the North America. These systems have shown significant weed suppression and conservation of soil without significant yield reduction in strawberry. During the establishment season, this study was initiated to assess weed suppression with cover crops (`Wheeler' rye and `Micah' and `Steptoe' barley) along with perlite, an artificial plant medium. Strawberry (`Selva' and `Totem') plant growth and weed biomass were measured during 1995-96 season. Small-seeded summer annual weeds were suppressed in cover crop treatments compared to control treatment. `Micah' barley in growth phase suppressed more than 81% of the total weed biomass compared to control plots with no cover crop in early spring. However, in early summer, cover crop residues failed to suppress different types of weeds 60 days after killing of cereal with herbicide (2% glyphosate). Distinct differences in strawberry plant growth were evident between the cover crop treatments and non-cover crop treatments including `Micah' applied on surface. Strawberry growth was doubled during 10 July to 15 Aug. in both cultivars. `Micah' barley applied on surface produced better growth in both strawberry varieties than the growth in other treatments. `Micah' barley applied on soil surface produced 50% more strawberry shoot biomass may indicate the root competition between cover crops and strawberry.
Micropropagated (MP) raspberries (Rubus idaeus L. var. idaeus) are sensitive to moisture and temperature extremes and to certain preemergent herbicides used at transplanting. We examined fertilizer placement and row covers in conjunction with various weed management strategies to identify beneficial practices for newly planted, MP primocane-fruiting `Heritage' raspberries. Uncontrolled weed growth during plant establishment inhibited raspberry cane growth and production into the second and third growing seasons. Handweeding and herbicide treatments successfully controlled weeds, but soil moisture was apparently insufficient for optimum growth of the MP raspberries when these treatments were imposed, even with normal rainfall in early summer and drip irrigation in late summer. Polyethylene and straw mulches during the establishment year provided both weed control and adequate soil moisture, resulting in more cane growth in the first and 2nd year, and higher yields the 2nd year. Primocane density after the third growing season still was influenced by first-year weed management practices. Raspberry plants responded best to straw mulch without row covers as plant growth was better in both years. Canes were thicker, yields were higher, and a larger portion of the total crop was harvested early. Row covers were beneficial only in bare-soil treatments, and method of fertilizer placement had no effect on any measured variable. Mulching newly transplanted MP raspberries is an alternative to herbicide use that also provides physiological benefits to the plant through microclimate modification.