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  • Author or Editor: Bryan G. Young x
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A study was conducted in a no-tillage (NT) jack-o-lantern pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) field following winter wheat (Triticum aestivum) harvest to determine the effects of using registered herbicides at various timings on weed control and pumpkin yield. All application timings used in this study were important to maximize weed control over the pumpkin growing season. For an initial stale seedbed burndown treatment, paraquat provided better broadleaf weed control than glyphosate, which lead to greater pumpkin yields. The use of s-metolachlor + halosulfuron-methyl preemergence (PRE) and clethodim postemergence (POST) gave the best results for the second series of herbicide applications which related to higher pumpkin yields compared with none or only a PRE application. The last application timing (midseason POST-directed paraquat application between rows) also improved weed control and provided higher pumpkin yields compared with no treatment. Growers who use a stale seedbed burndown treatment in NT pumpkin production, before seedling emergence or transplanting, will generally use glyphosate although this study indicated that paraquat may prove to be a better choice depending on the weed species that are present at this application timing. Most weed control in NT pumpkin production is achieved by a PRE application of various tank-mixed herbicides for both grass and broadleaf weed control, with a POST grass herbicide, a POST application of halosulfuron-methyl, or both [for control of nutsedge (Cyperus sp.), specific broadleaf weed species, or both] applied 3 to 4 weeks later, and this study indicated that the use of labeled PRE and POST herbicides are essential to optimize weed control and pumpkin yields in NT. Most pumpkin growers do not use a POST-directed application of a nonselective herbicide (such as paraquat) before vines cover the soil surface although it appears that this application may be warranted to control weeds that have emerged later in the growing season to maximize pumpkin yield, especially if POST midseason over-the-top herbicide applications are not used. This study indicated that in addition to applying the limited PRE and POST herbicides available for weed control in pumpkin, the use of other chemical weed management practices (e.g., stale seedbed herbicide treatments or POST-directed nonselective herbicide applications) can provide valuable weed control in NT production systems and should be considered by growers to maximize pumpkin yield.

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Preemergence (PRE) herbicides are an important part of the overall weed management plan in no-till (NT) pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) production. A field evaluation was conducted in an NT production system using PRE herbicides labeled for pumpkins to determine the benefits of specific herbicide combinations and the economic returns on investment associated with their use. The PRE herbicide treatments evaluated were 1) s-metolachlor (1360 g⋅ha–1 a.i.), 2) clomazone (350 g⋅ha–1 a.i.) and ethalfluralin premix (1120 g⋅ha–1 a.i.), 3) s-metolachlor + clomazone and ethalfluralin premix, 4) s-metolachlor + halosulfuron (35 g⋅ha–1 a.i.), 5) clomazone and ethalfluralin premix + halosulfuron, and 6) none. The primary weed species present were tall waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus), giant foxtail (Setaria faberi), and large crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis). The best weed control option for full-season broadleaf and grass weed control was s-metolachlor + clomazone and ethalfluralin. This herbicide combination also provided the greatest economic return on investment, ranging from a 20% to 40% improvement (depending on the year) compared with the next closest PRE herbicide treatment. Those with the lowest returns on investment were s-metolachlor combined with halosulfuron, and clomazone and ethalfluralin combined with halosulfuron. Besides providing the highest returns on investment, the PRE application of s-metolachlor with clomazone and ethalfluralin also produced the largest pumpkin fruit for the weed species present. Although growers often look for ways to reduce input costs in NT pumpkin production systems, the proper selection of PRE herbicides that considers the weed species present is clearly an important investment that improves pumpkin yields and revenues.

Open Access

The influence of `Elbon', `Maton', and `Wheeler' winter rye (Secale cereale) with or without herbicide treatments on weed control in no-tillage (NT) zucchini squash (Cucurbita pepo) was determined. `Elbon' or `Maton' produced higher residue biomass, greater soil coverage, and higher weed control compared with `Wheeler'. Although winter rye alone did not provide sufficient weed control (generally <70%), it provided substantially greater redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus) and smooth crabgrass (Digitaria ischaemum) control (regardless of cultivar used) compared with no winter rye at both 28 and 56 days after transplanting (DAT). No effect (P > 0.05) of winter rye cultivar on early or total squash yield was detected. Although applying clomazone + ethalfluralin to winter rye residues improved redroot pigweed control compared with no herbicide, the level of control was generally not adequate (<85% control) by 56 DAT. Treatments that included halosulfuron provided greater control of redroot pigweed than clomazone + ethalfluralin, and redroot pigweed control from halosulfuron treatments was similar to the weed-free control. However, regardless of year or cover crop, any treatment with halosulfuron caused unacceptable injury to zucchini squash plants which lead to reduced squash yield (primarily early yields). Insignificant amounts of squash injury (<10% due to stunting) resulted from clomazone + ethalfluralin in no-tillage plots during either year. Treatments with clomazone + ethalfluralin had early and total yields that were similar to those of the weed-free control, although this herbicide combination provided less weed control compared with the weed-free control.

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A field study was conducted in 2002, 2003, and 2004 to evaluate various pre-emergence herbicides (ethafluralin & clomazone, ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron, and ethafluralin & clomazone + imazamox) with or without a winter rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop in tillage and no-tillage `Appalachian' pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) production. All herbicides were applied within two days of seeding, and no injury was observed with any of the herbicides evaluated at any time during the three growing seasons. Early- and late-season control of all weed species [giant foxtail (Setaria faberi Herrm.), common cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium L.), redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.), and common waterhemp (Amaranthus rudis Sauer)] were highly correlated (0.47 ≤ r ≥ 0.86, P ≤ 0.01) with pumpkin yield and fruit size. The winter rye + no-tillage system provided greater weed control compared to the tillage systems and the no cover crop + no-tillage production system. Although winter rye alone had little influence on pumpkin yield, the no-tillage system improved pumpkin yield and fruit size compared to the tillage system. The two herbicide combinations (ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron and ethafluralin & clomazone + imazamox) improved weed control and pumpkin yields compared to only ethafluralin & clomazone. Although this study indicated that the use of a high-residue winter rye cover crop in no-tillage pumpkin production will provide some weed control, the choice of pre-emergence herbicides is critical to maximize pumpkin productivity. No-tillage pumpkin production is feasible with proper herbicide use and timing, although current herbicide options will not provide optimal weed control.

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Field studies were conducted to evaluate postemergence combinations of halosulfuron plus sethoxydim or clethodim with various adjuvants for effects on jack-o-lantern pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.) injury and yields and control of large [Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.] and smooth crabgrass [D. ischaemum (Schreb. ex Schweig.) Schreb. ex Muhl.]. Halosulfuron caused 27% and 14% pumpkin injury at 28 d after postemergence treatment (DAPT) in 2004 and 2005, respectively. Tank-mixing sethoxydim or clethodim with halosulfuron did not increase pumpkin injury compared with halosulfuron alone. Pumpkin injury from sethoxydim and clethodim alone at 28 DAPT ranged from 19% to 23% in 2004, but was only 7% to 8% in 2005. The addition of oil-based adjuvants to halosulfuron did not affect pumpkin injury compared with using a nonionic surfactant (NIS). The tank mixture of halosulfuron and sethoxydim did not affect crabgrass control regardless of adjuvant. However, the addition of halosulfuron to clethodim plus NIS reduced control of crabgrass from 89% to 77% at 28 DAPT. Crabgrass control was unaffected by the addition of halosulfuron to clethodim with crop oil concentrate (COC) or a NIS/COC blend. None of the herbicide treatments provided pumpkin yield (fruit no./ha) similar to the weed-free control. The pumpkin yield of treatments using postemergence herbicides was at least 50% less than the weed-free treatment. These low pumpkin yields were most likely the result of the combination of pumpkin injury from the herbicide applications and insufficient weed control.

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A field study was conducted in 2002 and 2003 to evaluate various herbicides (ethafluralin & clomazone, halosulfuron, and ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron) with or without a winter rye (Secale cereale L.) cover crop in no-tillage `Daytona' cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) production. All herbicides were applied preplant prior to cucumber transplanting, and no injury or stunting to cucumber was observed with any of the treatments evaluated at any time during the two growing seasons. Winter rye provided a significant advantage for weed control compared to the no cover crop production system. The combination of ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron provided the greatest control of smooth crabgrass [Digitaria ischaemum (Schreb. Ex Schweig) Schreb. Ex Muhl.] and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.). Ethafluralin & clomazone provided little redroot pig-weed control, while halosulfuron alone provided no control of smooth crabgrass. Winter rye enhanced cucumber yields in 2002 (drought conditions), while in 2003 (sufficient moisture and cooler soil temperatures), winter rye tended to suppress yields. During drought conditions (2002), treatments with ethafluralin & clomazone and ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron produced similar yields. However, in 2003, treatments with ethafluralin & clomazone + halosulfuron produced greater yields than treatments with ethafluralin & clomazone. Overall, the handweed treatment provided the greatest yields, while the non-treated and halosulfuron only treatment provided the lowest yields. Winter rye will provide some additional weed control in a no-tillage vegetable production system, but may also provide negative effects by suppressing crop yield depending on seasonal growing conditions.

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