Planting cole crops and leafy greens in plastic mulch free of summer and winter annual broadleaf weeds is challenging. Because these crops are often grown as a second or third crop on mulch, weeds emerge in previously punched plant holes, tears in plastic, and row middles. Without the ability to use tillage and with limited herbicide options available for weed control, achieving a weed-free planting window is not often feasible. Additional herbicide options are needed, but their interaction with plastic mulch must be understood. Therefore, research has determined the persistence of preplant applications of 2,4-D tank-mixed with glyphosate applied over plastic mulch. Analytical laboratory analyses of plastic samples from field experiments, in conjunction with bioassays using broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis L.) and collard (Brassica oleracea var. viridis L.), evaluated herbicide dissipation. Analytical studies determined that 0.5 cm of irrigation after herbicide application and 1 day before planting removed 99% of 2,4-D, and 100% of glyphosate from the plastic mulch. Waiting an additional 14 days after application and irrigation further reduced the amount of 2,4-D on the plastic mulch 88% to 95%. For the field bioassay, preplant applications of 2,4-D tank-mixed with glyphosate resulted in 7% or less visual broccoli or collard injury without influencing crop growth, biomass, early season yield, or total yield as long as the mulch was washed with 0.5 cm of irrigation before planting. These studies also demonstrated there were no differences between the 1× and 2× use rates with respect to all response variables measured. Results suggest that 2,4-D and glyphosate can be effectively removed from the surface of plastic mulch with irrigation or rainfall before planting broccoli and collard.
Field studies were conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Tallassee, AL, to evaluate the effect of preemergence (PRE) herbicide applications pre- and postcrimp in a cereal rye (Secale cereale) cover crop for control of escape weeds in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus). Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with an augmented factorial treatment arrangement with four replications. The augmented factorial arrangement included three levels of PRE herbicides, two levels of application timing, and a nontreated control. PRE herbicide treatments included ethalfluralin (18 oz/acre), fomesafen (2.5 oz/acre), and halosulfuron (0.56 oz/acre). Application timings were precrimp (herbicide applied before crimping and rolling of the cover crop) and postcrimp (herbicide applied after crimping and rolling of the cover crop). A nontreated cover crop only treatment was also included. There were no interactions among application timing and herbicide. Results indicated application timing influenced total weed coverage but not watermelon yield. Total weed coverage was lowest in precrimp applied treatments at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after treatment (WAT). Comparing individual treatments revealed no significant differences among herbicides with respect to watermelon yield; however, all herbicides increased yield compared with the nontreated.