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  • Author or Editor: B.D. Hanson x
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Threespike goosegrass (Eleusine tristachya) is a difficult-to-control perennial grass of increasing concern for orchard production systems in the Central Valley of California, USA. This grass has a bunch-type growth habit when tillered, which can interfere with orchard operations, particularly nut pickup from the ground at harvest. From 2016 to 2019, herbicide efficacy on threespike goosegrass was evaluated in a walnut (Juglans regia) orchard in Chico, CA, USA; an almond (Prunus dulcis) orchard in Livingston, CA, USA; and a prune (Prunus domestica) orchard in Orland, CA, USA. At each location, two independent experiments were conducted to evaluate 12 preemergent (PRE) herbicide treatments and eight postemergent (POST) treatments over several years, for a total of 16 trials. PRE herbicides were applied in January according to the region’s typical winter orchard management practices. One treatment included an additional sequential application in March to extend residual activity later into the warm season when threespike goosegrass germinates or resumes growth. In separate studies, POST control of established stands of threespike goosegrass was evaluated in May and June of each year. Each trial was conducted in a randomized complete block design with four replications. Threespike goosegrass control was visually estimated monthly for 5 months after the PRE treatments or at weekly intervals for 5 weeks following POST treatments. The most effective PRE treatment was a sequential application of indaziflam in January, followed by a March application of pendimethalin, providing 90% or greater control of threespike goosegrass 5 months after treatment across all sites and all years. Of the POST treatments, the three graminicides outperformed the other treatments with 73% to 91% control overall sites and years at 5 weeks after treatment. Fluazifop had the highest control ratings (85% to 91%) among the graminicide herbicides but was not always statistically better than clethodim or sethoxydim (74% to 83% control). Glyphosate alone resulted in unacceptable control (33% to 51%) regardless of rates tested, experimental sites, or years. Together, these results confirm grower reports of poor glyphosate performance on threespike goosegrass but suggest that effective herbicide programs can be developed to manage threespike goosegrass using PRE herbicides and POST graminicides registered in California orchard crops.

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Garlic (cv California Late) was produced under four irrigation regimes (110% and 130% evapotranspiration with two water cut-off dates, 10 and 24 May 1999) in combination with three nitrogen fertilization levels (100, 250, and 400 lb total N). Bulbs were manually harvested mid-June, cured 3 weeks shaded at ambient temperatures and the outer whorl of cloves manually peeled. Samples were freeze-dried, and carbohydrate (fructan and free sugars) and alliin (substrate for alliinase activity and indicator of potential pungency) concentrations were determined by HPLC. The percent dry weight was not affected by the irrigation treatment, but was reduced with increased N rate (41.3% to 39.0%). Alliin concentrations varied from 8.3 to 13.8 mg/g DW for 110% and 130% Eto irrigation treatments. Alliin concentrations were not affected by N fertilization (average = 11.5 mg/g DW). Fructan concentrations were affected by N fertilization treatment, with the highest content (802 mg/g DW) associated with the lowest N level, and the lowest (717 mg/g DW) content in samples from the highest N rate. Sucrose concentrations increased with increased N, but glucose and fructose concentrations did not vary with N fertilization. Fructan as percent of total carbohydrate remained constant across irrigation treatments (96.6% + 0.2%) and across N fertilization treatments (96.6% + 0.3%).

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Current methods of making crop cover estimates are time-consuming and tend to be highly variable. A low-cost, digital, red/near-infrared band ratioing camera (Dycam Inc., Chatsworth, Calif.) and accompanying software (S. Heinold, Woodland Hills, Calif.) were evaluated for estimating crop cover. The camera was tested using a set of images having leaf areas of known sizes with different crop, soil, and lighting conditions. In the field, camera-based crop cover estimates were compared to light bar measured estimates. Results indicate that the camera and image analysis software are capable of estimating percent crop cover over a range of soil, crop, and lighting environments. Camera-based crop cover estimates were highly correlated with light bar estimates (tomato r 2 = 0.96, cotton r 2 = 0.98). Under the conditions tested, the camera appears to be a useful tool for monitoring crop growth in the field.

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Methyl bromide (MB) has been widely used in California cut-flower production for effective control of a broad range of soil pests, including plant pathogens and weeds. However, MB is an ozone-depleting substance, and its availability to growers is limited according to the Montreal Protocol guidelines. Steam has been suggested as a nonchemical option for preplant soil disinfestation. Five trials were conducted in protected greenhouse structure or open-field cut-flower nurseries in Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties to evaluate the effect of steam application, alone or in combination with solarization, on soilborne plant pathogen populations, weed densities, and crop growth. Several steam application methods were used including steam blanket, spike-hose, buried drip irrigation lines, or drain tile, and these varied among trials. Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) nursery trials initiated in 2007 and 2008 showed that steam alone or with solarization was similar to or more effective than MB:chloropicrin (MBPic), applied via drip lines, in controlling weeds and Verticillium dahliae at 6-inch depth. Trials conducted in Spring and Fall 2009 in an oriental hybrid lily (Lilium sp.) nursery showed that, 112 days after steam treatment (DAT) in the spring, the steam (spike-hose) treatment had fewer Fusarium oxysporum propagules than the MB treatment. Lily plant growth in the steam-treated plots was similar to MB-treated plots and taller than in control plots. In the fall trial, fewer lily plants emerged by 44 DAT in the untreated control than in steam- and MB-treated plots and steam was not as effective as MB in reducing Pythium populations. In the 2010 sunflower (Helianthus annuus) and bupleurum (Bupleurum griffithii) trial, all steam treatments reduced Pythium and Phytophthora cactorum survival compared with the untreated control plots, whereas weed densities were reduced only in the spike-hose steam-treated plots. These trial studies showed that steam appeared as effective as MB in suppressing pathogens and weeds and improving crop growth in cut-flower nurseries. However, additional information on fuel consumption, treatment time efficiency, and long-term effects of steam treatment on soil health are needed before steam can be recommended as a viable alternative to MB in California cut-flower nurseries.

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Methyl bromide has been used extensively in open-field perennial crop nurseries to ensure the production of plants that are free of soilborne pests and pathogens. California regulations require that nursery stock for farm planting be commercially clean with respect to economically important nematodes. Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the use of methyl bromide by developed countries was phased out 1 Jan. 2005. Although the perennial nursery industry in the United States largely continues to use methyl bromide under critical use exemptions and quarantine/preshipment criteria allowed under provisions of the Montreal Protocol, nursery growers need viable alternatives to this fumigant. Two fumigation trials in perennial crop field nurseries with sandy loam and clay loam soils, respectively, were conducted to compare the efficacy of fumigants applied through standard shank-injection equipment or as emulsifiable compounds applied through drip irrigation equipment. In the garden rose (Rosa multiflora) nursery trial, nematodes were detected at planting in the untreated control, no-tarpaulin 1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin, and chloropicrin alone several months after treatment. Nematodes included root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) and stunt nematode (Tylenchorhynchus semipenetrans). At harvest 2 years later, root-knot nematode was detected in rose roots from untreated plots and plots treated with untarped 1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin, metam sodium, and chloropicrin alone. In the nut tree (Prunus spp.) nursery field trial, shank-injected treatments typically provided better nematode control than the same chemicals applied via the drip lines, although weed control and marketable trees were similar among treatments.

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