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  • Author or Editor: Melissa B. Riley x
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Herbicide use in containerized plant production nurseries is a vital tool for weed management and the production of plants desired by the consumer. Clemson University researchers have conducted studies aimed at determining the amount of herbicide runoff during normal nursery operation, if herbicides accumulate in containment ponds at nurseries, and how herbicide runoff could be reduced. A 2-year study at commercial nurseries found that herbicide concentrations were higher in containment ponds soon after herbicide application, when compared with months with less herbicide application; and herbicides did not accumulate over the 2-year period. Herbicide runoff was greatest immediately after application and up to 15% of the herbicide applied was lost in the first irrigation event after application when using more water soluble herbicides. Bed material and herbicide formulation were also important in determining the amount of herbicide lost. Total losses were highest from plastic- and fabric-covered beds when using granular formulations and highest from gravel beds when spray formulations were used. The combination of using cyclic irrigation and grass waterways resulted in a reduction of about 25% of isoxaben loss when compared with clay and gravel waterways with continuous irrigation. The effects of reduced herbicide treatments compared to standard spray schedules were evaluated on herbicide transport, weed development, and plant growth and health. Results indicated that plant marketability was not affected, and total herbicide runoff was significantly reduced. Based on these studies, several recommendations can be made to commercial container plant production nurseries, which should reduce herbicide runoff and thereby reduce the environmental concerns associated with nurseries.

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