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  • Author or Editor: Aziz Baameur x
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Yellow and purple nutsedge are problem perennials that resist common control measures. High temperatures, irrigation, and relatively non-competitive crops combine to greatly increase the severity of nutsedge infestations in the Southwest. We compared the growth and susceptibility of purple and yellow nutsedge to chemical and cultural control measures at several locations in southern California. When not controlled, low initial populations of either species led to heavy infestations later in the season. Purple nutsedge was far more prolific in both tuber production and above-ground growth. Summer rotations that included crops with dense canopies severly decreased nutsedge shoot and tuber growth. Cool-season crops planted into heavy nutsedge infestations in the fall are generally unaffected because nutsedge infestations in the fall are generally unaffected because nutsedge soon enters dormancy and ceases growth. Solarization, or pasteurization of the upper soil layers, was effective in decreasing tuber formation. Tillage effectively spread local infestations over larger areas.

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A 1992 article by Nonomura and Benson (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 89:9794-979X) reported increased yield and drought tolerance in a wide range of C3 species following foliar applications of methanol. The article was widely reported in the trade and popular press, which created a huge grower demand for information on the use and efficacy of methanol. To test the validity of the reports, we applied methanol with and without nutrients to a wide range of crops across California following Nonomura and Benson's (1992) protocol. Crops included watermelon, creeping bentgrass, lemons, savoy cabbage, carrots, romaine lettuce, radish, wheat, corn and peas. Environments included the greenhouse and field tests in coastal, inland valley, and desert locations. To test whether methanol improved drought tolerance, the savoy cabbage and watermelon experiments included both reduced and full irrigation. In no case was yield increased or drought tolerance attributable to methanol treatment. In some cases, methanol caused significant injury and decreased yield.

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