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  • Author or Editor: Lara Abou Chehade x
  • HortTechnology x
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A lack of efficient machines and strategies for cropping practices are still problems on small farms and in difficult landscapes, especially in organic crop production. The aim of this study was to develop a new weed control strategy for a typical organic garlic (Allium sativum) grown in Liguria, Italy. Flaming was proposed as an additional tool for the physical weed control program. A field experiment was conducted to test the effects of different flaming doses and timing on weed control and garlic production. The treatments consisted of a broadcast flaming at 16, 22, 37, and 112 kg·ha−1 of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) at three different crop growth stages—emergence (BBCH 9), three to four leaves (BBCH 13) and six to seven leaves (BBCH 16)—once (at each growth stage separately), twice (at BBCH 9 and BBCH 13, BBCH 9 and BBCH 16, and BBCH 13 and BBCH 16 stages) or three times (all stages combined). Treatments were compared with a weedy control and hand weeding. One flaming treatment was effective in controlling weeds during the growing season. Frequent flaming treatments did not further reduce the weed biomass measured at harvest. A higher production than the weedy control, in terms of the number of marketable bulbs and yield, was obtained for all the flaming interventions carried out at more than 16-kg·ha−1 LPG dose. Garlic flamed once at BBCH 13 at any LPG dose or three times at more than 16 kg·ha−1 led to a comparable number of bulbs as hand weeding. Three flamings at an LPG dose of 22 kg·ha−1 also gave a statistically similar yield to hand weeding. In general, garlic was shown to tolerate up to three flaming treatments without a decline in the production. The decline in yield compared with hand weeding could be offset by the economical savings of the mechanization process and by integrating flaming with other mechanical tools used for weed management.

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