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Anthony Silvernail and Michael K. Bomford

Weed control is a major challenge confronting growers transitioning to organic vegetable production. Organic standards require that growers manage weeds without synthetic herbicides while maintaining or enhancing soil quality. In 2005, we evaluated the effects of two seedbed preparation methods and six weed management tactics, compatible with organic standards, on soil quality indicators, weed pressure, and yield of edamame soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merrill]. Seedbed preparation was conducted with either a moldboard plow and roto-tiller or a spading machine. Weeds were managed by a) regular hand weeding, b) pre-emergent flaming, c) post-emergent incorporation of 100 g of corn gluten meal/m2, or weekly passes from crop emergence until row closure with d) a spring-tine weeder, e) a rolling cultivator, or f) a between-row flame weeder. Dominant weeds were smooth pigweed [Amaranthus hybridus (L.)], goosegrass [Eleusine indica (L.) Gaertn.], and giant crabgrass [Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.]. Smooth pigweed dominated in the corn gluten meal and spring-tine weeder treatments; goosegrass and giant crabgrass dominated in the two flamed treatments. Weed pressure was lowest, and crop yield highest, in the hand-weeded control and rolling cultivator treatments. Relative to these, crop yield was severely depressed by weed pressure in other treatments. The labile carbon concentration and enzymatic activity of soils was tested midseason, and at harvest, showed no significant treatment effects. Results suggest that the rolling cultivator offered the best weed control among the tactics tested, without adversely affecting soil quality.

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L.T. Case, H.M. Mathers, and A.F. Senesac

Container production has increased rapidly in many parts of the U.S. over the past 15 years. Container production has been the fastest growing sector in the nursery industry and the growth is expected to continue. Weed growth in container-grown nursery stock is a particularly serious problem, because the nutrients, air, and water available are limited to the volume of the container. The extent of damage caused by weeds is often underestimated and effective control is essential. Various researchers have found that as little as one weed in a small (1 gal) pot affects the growth of a crop. However, even if weeds did not reduce growth, a container plant with weeds is a less marketable product than a weed-free product. Managing weeds in a container nursery involves eliminating weeds and preventing their spread in the nursery, and this usually requires chemical controls. However, chemical controls should never be the only management tools implemented. Maximizing cultural and mechanical controls through proper sanitation and hand weeding are two important means to prevent the spread and regeneration of troublesome weeds. Cultural controls include mulching, irrigation methods (subirrigation), and mix type. Nursery growers estimate that they spend $500 to $4000/acre of containers for manual removal of weeds, depending on weed species being removed. Economic losses due to weed infestations have been estimated at approximately $7000/acre. Reduction of this expense with improved weed control methodologies and understanding weed control would have a significant impact on the industry. Problems associated with herbicide use in container production include proper calibration, herbicide runoff concerns from plastic or gravel (especially when chemicals fall between containers) and the need for multiple applications. As with other crops, off-site movement of pesticides through herbicide leaching, runoff, spray drift, and non-uniformity of application are concerns facing nursery growers. This article reviews some current weed control methods, problems associated with these methods, and possible strategies that could be useful for container nursery growers.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton

A rapid increase in municipal solid waste (MSW) production (2 kg/person per day), combined with a decreasing number of operating landfills, has increased waste disposal costs. Composting MSW can be an alternative method of waste disposal to traditional landfilling or incineration. Weed control methods using waste materials such as bark, straw, and sawdust were used in commercial crop production for many years before the advent of chemical weed control. Weed growth suppression by mulching can often be almost as effective as conventional herbicides. A 10 to 15 cm-deep mulch layer is needed to completely discourage weed growth in these systems, and best results are obtained with composted materials. In recent years, composts made from a large variety of waste materials have become available on a commercial scale. Preliminary investigations into the use of MSW compost as a weed control agent have shown that compost, especially in an immature state, applied to row crop middles reduced weed growth due to its high concentration of acetic, propionic, and butyric acids. Subsequently, compost can be incorporated into the soil for the following growing season to potentially improve soil physical and chemical properties. Integrated pest management programs that incorporate biological control should be adopted wherever possible because some weed species with persistent seeds can escape chemical control.

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Annamarie Pennuci

Novel and standard herbicides were applied alone, sequentially, or tank-mixed to determine weed control efficacies and tolerances in 15 species of field-grown herbaceous perennials. Autumn applications provided excellent but short-term broadleaf (BL) and annual grass (AG) weed control. Early spring applications were equally effective and of longer duration. Mid- and late spring treatments provided moderate to poor control of AG and poor control of winter perennial BL. Single applications of prodiamine provided season-long control of AG and of spring germinating BL. Greatest number of weed species were controlled by DCPA. Increased duration occurred with tank-mixes of DCPA + pendlimethalin, DCPA + quinclorac. Quinclorac provided excellent pre/post control of AG and some BL. Crop injury was minimized with directed applications. Isoxaben provided excellent preemergent control of BL. Tank-mixes improved AG control. Treatments applied prior to, or at the same time as mulch applications increased weed control and lessened drought stress. Treatments applied over mulch were less effective, suppressed fewer weed species, were of shortened duration, and increased the likelihood of crop injury.

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E. Jay Holcomb, Tracey L. Harpster, Robert D. Berghage, and Larry J. Kuhns

A set of studies was established in Summer 1998 to determine the tolerance of field-grown cut flower species to specific preemergence herbicides, the effectiveness of weed control by those materials, and to determine if productivity of cut flowers is affected either by the herbicides or by colored mulches. Pendimethalin provided excellent early season weed control, but poor late-season control. It consistently caused injury at 4 lb a.i./A and sometimes at the 2 lb a.i./A rate. Oryzalin provided good to excellent weed control, but slightly injured celosia and zinnia when applied at 4 lb a.i./A. Napropamide provided excellent early season weed control, but marginally acceptable weed control later in the season. Though napropamide caused some injury to celosia early in the season when applied at the high rate, no injury to any of the plants was observed later in the season. Prodiamine and trifluralin were the overall safest of the herbicides, but they provided the weakest weed control. OH-2 was very effective when placed on the soil surface, but was less effective when placed on an organic mulch. The organic mulch was designed to keep the OH-2 particles from splashing on to the crop plant and injuring the plants. OH-2 tended to be safer placed on a mulch than on the soil surface, but statice was slightly injured even when a mulch was used.

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Joseph DeFrank and Charles R. Clement

Pejibaye (Bactris gasipaes Kunth, Palmae) is being evaluated for production of fresh heart of palm in Hawaii. Precocity, yields, and weed control were evaluated in response to woven black polypropylene mat (control), oryzalin, oxyfluorfen, and paraquat. Control plots attained 100% of plants harvested by 26 months, followed by oxyfluorfen (97.5%), oryzalin (77.5%), and paraquat (60%). Estimated heart of palm yields (3731 plants/ha) were similar with oxyfluorfen 1.2 kg a.i./ha (707 kg·ha–1), polypropylene mat (612 kg·ha–1), oxyfluorfen 0.6 kg a.i./ha (600 kg·ha–1), and oryzalin 4.5 kg a.i./ha (478 kg·ha–1). Based on precocity, yields, and weed control efficiency, the performance rating of these weed control treatments was mat ≈ oxyfluorfen > oryzalin > paraquat. Chemical names used: 4-(dipropylamino)-3,5-dinitrobenzenesulfonamide (oryzalin); 2-chloro-1-(3-ethoxy-4-nitrophenoxy)-4-(trifluoromethyl)benzene (oxyfluorfen); 1,1′-dimethyl-4-4′-bibyridinium ion (paraquat).

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James E. Klett, David Staats, and Matt Rogoyski

Poster Session 18–Weed Management 19 July 2005, 12:00–12:45 p.m., Poster Hall–Ballroom E/F

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S. Alan Walters, Bryan G. Young, and Ronald F. Krausz

A field study was conducted in 2002, 2003, and 2004 to evaluate various pre-emergence herbicides (ethafluralin & clomazone, ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron, and ethafluralin & clomazone + imazamox) with or without a winter rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop in tillage and no-tillage `Appalachian' pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) production. All herbicides were applied within two days of seeding, and no injury was observed with any of the herbicides evaluated at any time during the three growing seasons. Early- and late-season control of all weed species [giant foxtail (Setaria faberi Herrm.), common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium L.), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), and common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis Sauer)] were highly correlated (0.47 ≤ r ≥ 0.86, P ≤ 0.01) with pumpkin yield and fruit size. The winter rye + no-tillage system provided greater weed control compared to the tillage systems and the no cover crop + no-tillage production system. Although winter rye alone had little influence on pumpkin yield, the no-tillage system improved pumpkin yield and fruit size compared to the tillage system. The two herbicide combinations (ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron and ethafluralin & clomazone + imazamox) improved weed control and pumpkin yields compared to only ethafluralin & clomazone. Although this study indicated that the use of a high-residue winter rye cover crop in no-tillage pumpkin production will provide some weed control, the choice of pre-emergence herbicides is critical to maximize pumpkin productivity. No-tillage pumpkin production is feasible with proper herbicide use and timing, although current herbicide options will not provide optimal weed control.

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Calvin Chong

The first weed disc (Weed Guard) was introduced to Ontario in the early 1980s. They were made of semirigid plastic similar to 45-rpm records. Small holes allow water to penetrate but weeds germinating on the substrate often grow through them. In the 1990s, we obtained 85% reduction of container weeds using discs made from geotextile fabric (Mori Guard) or foam (similar to polyfoam used for container winter protection). The foam disc tended to curl upward at the edges, become easily windblown, and tended to partially expose the surface of the container mix. During the past 15 years, we have annually reused the same fabric discs (now unavailable due to high unit cost), and have tested various other weed discs, including several new-generation types and also the Mori Weed Bag. The new-generation discs are fabricated from materials such as fabric (Tex-R Geodisc), pressed peat moss (Biodisc), corrugated cardboard (Corrudisc), and plastic (Enviro LID). Both Tex-R Geodisc and Enviro LID were as effective or better in controlling weeds than weekly hand-weeding, herbicides, or the Mori Guard fabric disc. The Mori Weed Bag, a patented black polyethylene sleeve with prepunched holes fitted around the container like a florist's plant prepared for market, is used effectively and almost exclusively by one Ontario nursery. We also tested two types of insulated blanket covers, which when placed around the ball of above-ground container-grown trees, prevented weed growth during the summer and also protected the root ball against cold during the winter. We introduced the garbage bag sleeve, the ultimate no-weed method for pot-in-pot tree culture, which also reduces water use and frequency of irrigation. Due to factors such as under-performance, insufficient demand, and/or high costs, only certain discs are currently manufactured: Weed Guard, Tex-R Geodisc, Biodisc, and Enviro LID. The Mori Weed Bag is available but not the insulated blankets.

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D. W. Wells, R. J. Constantin, and J. W. Wells

Six prodiamine treatments, three applied alone and three applied in combination with methazole, were compared with oxyfluorfen/oryzalin, oxadiazon, and controls (weeded and non-weeded) on ornamental and weed species. Ornamentals included green liriope, Asiatic jasmine, serissa, gardenia, `Needlepoint' holly, Japanese yew, `Prostrata' juniper, and `Carror' azalea. Weeds grown in separate containers were goosegrass, crabgrass, pigweed, and prostrate spurge. At 13 days after treatment (DAT), oxadiazon and oxyfluorfen/oryzalin caused some contact burn on liriope, and the injury persisted until the 81 DAT rating. Methazole/prodiamine treatments caused chlorosis on gardenia leaf tips, with plants recovering by 61 DAT. These combinations also resulted in slight injury to azalea at the first rating, but the injury disappeared by the second rating. Control of goosegrass, crabgrass, and pigweed was good to excellent with all chemical treatments. Control of spurge using oxadiazon and oxyfluorfen/oryzalin decreased at 81 and 100 DAT.