Eucalyptus mulch is considered by many horticulturists to be toxic to cultivated plants and weeds. The purpose of this study was to determine the weed suppressive effect of mulch made from various Eucalyptus species. Propagation flats were seeded with 100 seeds each of nine weed species and covered with peat-perlite media, or composted or fresh Eucalyptus globulus, E. citriodora, E. rudus, E. polyanthemos, E. sideroxylon, E. maculata or E. ficifolia. Fresh mulch suppressed germination of all species. Compost mulched weeds seeds germinated more and produced more dry weight than fresh mulch treatments. Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crusgalli) died in all flats treated with fresh E. sideroxylon.
Three polymers (a polyacrylamide, polyacrylate and a propenoate-propenamide copolymer) and three organic amendments (peat moss, wood shavings, and composted yardwaste) were incorporated at five rates in a sandy soil to 15cm depth. Soil moisture content was determined by time domain reflectometry and gravimetrically. Only the highest polymer rates (2928kg/ha [60#/1000sq.ft.]) produced significant increases in soil moisture content and reductions of soil bulk density. Peat moss and yardwaste increased soil water content while shavings decreased water content. Turf quality scores were not affected by polymers but were initially reduced by yardwaste and shavings.
Methods for Zn fertilization of `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) trees were evaluated in a 2-year field experiment on a commercial orchard located on a calcareous soil (pH 7.8) in Ventura County, Calif. The fertilization methods included soil- or irrigation-applied ZnSO4; irrigation-applied Zn chelate (Zn-EDTA); trunk injection of Zn(NO3)2, and foliar applications of ZnSO4, ZnO, or Zn metalosate. Other experiments evaluated the influence of various surfactants on the Zn contents of leaves treated with foliar-applied materials and on the retention and translocation of radiolabeled 65ZnSO4 and 65Zn metalosate after application to the leaf surface. In the field experiment, tree responses to fertilization with soil-applied materials were affected significantly by their initial status, such that only trees having <50 μg·g–1 had significant increases in foliar Zn contents after fertilization. Among the three soil and irrigation treatments, ZnSO4 applied at 3.2 kg ZnSO4 per tree either as a quarterly irrigation or annually as a soil application was the most effective and increased leaf tissue Zn concentrations to 75 and 90 μg·g–1, respectively. Foliar-applied ZnSO4, ZnO, and Zn metalosate with Zn at 5.4, 0.8, and 0.9 g·liter–1, respectively, also resulted in increased leaf Zn concentrations. However, experiments with 65Zn applied to leaves of greenhouse seedlings showed that <1% of Zn applied as ZnSO4 or Zn metalosate was actually taken up by the leaf tissue and that there was little translocation of Zn into leaf parenchyma tissue adjacent to the application spots or into the leaves above or below the treated leaves. Given these problems with foliar Zn, fertilization using soil- or irrigation-applied ZnSO4 may provide the most reliable method for correction of Zn deficiency in avocado on calcareous soils.
Soil testing is an important component of a plant nutrient management program for farmers, home gardeners, and agricultural service personnel. Results from five commercially available colorimetric soil test kits were compared with standard laboratory analyses for pH, nitrate–nitrogen (NO3), phosphorus (P2O5), and potassium (K2O) content for Salinas clay loam soil with three cropping histories. The kits ranked in accuracy (frequency of match with analytical laboratory results) in the following sequence: La Motte Soil Test Kit, Rapitest, Quick Soiltest, Nitty-Gritty, and Soil Kit at 94%, 92%, 64%, 36%, and 33%. NO3 was most accurately determined by Rapitest and Quick Soiltest, P2O5 by Rapitest, and pH by La Motte Soil Test Kit. K2O was determined with equal accuracy by all but Soil Kit. The composition of the extractants may be an important factor affecting the accuracy of the test kit. For example, all kit extractants for K2O were composed of the same chemical and matched analytical laboratory results 82% of the time. By contrast, kits using an acid-based extractant for NO3 analysis more frequently matched the analytical laboratory results than kits using a zinc-based extractant (P ≤ 0.0001). La Motte Soil Test Kit had the largest range of pH measures, whereas Rapitest was relatively easy to use and interpret and is a practical choice for home gardeners or landscapers; both were more than 90% accurate for this soil type. Although an important limitation of commercial test kits is the approximate or categorical value of nutrient content (i.e., low, medium, high), accurate test kits can yield results quickly and economically for improved nutrient management.
To test the usefulness of methanol treatments in enhancing yield and drought tolerance, we applied methanol with and without nutrients to a wide range of crops across California: lemon (Citrus limon L.), creeping bentgrass (Agrotis palustris Huds.), romaine lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), carrot (Daucus carota L.), corn (Zea mays L.), wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), pea (Pisum sativum L.), and radish (Raphanus sativus L.). Environments included greenhouse and field tests in coastal, inland-valley, and desert locations. Methanol did not increase the yield or growth of any crop. In some cases, methanol caused significant injury and decreased yield.