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Yan Chen, Donald Merhaut and J. Ole Becker

Nitrogen (N) fertilization is critical for successful production of cut flowers in a hydroponic system. In this study, two sunflower cultivars: single-stand `Mezzulah' and multi-stand `Golden Cheer' were grown under two N fertilization rates: 50 mg·L-1 and 100 mg·L-1 in a recirculating hydroponic system. At the same time, `Mezzulah' sunflowers were biologically stressed by exposing each plant to 2000 second-stage juveniles of the plant parasitic nematode Meloidogyne incognita, race 1. The experiment was conducted in May and repeated in Sept. 2004, and plant growth and flower quality between control and nematode-infested plants were compared at the two N rates. The two cultivars responded differently to fertilization treatments. With increasing N rate, the dry weight of `Mezzulah' increased, while that of `Golden Cheer' decreased. Flower size and harvest time were significantly different between the two cultivars. However, N had no effect on flower quality and harvest time. Flower quality rating suggests that quality cut stems can be obtained with 50 mg·L-1 N nutrient solution. Nematode egg count suggests that plants in the nematode treatment were successfully infested with Meloidogyne incognita, however, no significant root galling was observed, and plant growth and flower quality were not affected by nematode infestation.

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Chad Hutchinson, Milt McGiffen Jr., James Sims and J. Ole Becker

As of 2005, methyl bromide will no longer be produced or imported for agricultural use in industrialized countries. The uncertain future of methyl bromide as a soil fumigant has stimulated research into the use of other soil fumigants for weed control. Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the efficacy of methyl bromide (MB), methyl iodide (MI), propargyl bromide (PB), 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D), and metham sodium (MS) alone and in combination with chloropicrin (PIC) against Cyperus esculentus L (yellow nutsedge). The experimental design was a randomized complete block with three replications. All experiments were repeated. Tubers were imbibed for 24 h and mixed with soil adjusted to 14% moisture (w/w). Soil/tuber samples were fumigated for 48 h with MB, MI, 1,3-D, and PIC at 0.0, 3.1, 6.3, 12.5, 25, 50, 100, and 200 μm of active ingredient. Samples were fumigated with PB and MS at 0.0, 0.8, 1.6, 3.1, 6.3, 12.5, 25, and 50 μm of active ingredient. After fumigation and venting, each soil/tuber sample was wetted and placed in a Petri plate for 5 days. Shoot emergence was recorded. Additionally, to determine synergism response with PIC, 17% PIC was added to each fumigant/rate combination. Fumigation and data collection were performed as described above. Dose-response curves were constructed to determine the effective dose to control 50% of nutsedge emergence (ED50). PB and MS were the most efficacious fumigants with ED50's of 3.7 and 6.5 μm, respectively. EC50 values for all the fumigants were significantly lower than MB except for 1,3-D. All the fumigant-PIC combinations resulted in synergistic control of nutsedge.

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John F. Karlik, J. Ole Becker and Ursula K. Schuch

The impending worldwide restrictions on the use of methyl bromide (MeBr) as a soil fumigant have prompted an intensive search for more-effective methods for delivering MeBr or replacement compounds. Although the majority of agrochemicals are applied in the solid phase or the liquid phase at ambient pressure and temperature, some chemicals, including certain soil fumigants such as MeBr, are gases under normal field conditions. Experiments were conducted to evaluate use of two types of commercial drip irrigation tubing to deliver gases to nontarped planting beds. Air moved through each tubing type immediately after burial; water was not necessary for inflation. Air was also able to move through 40 m of buried rigid drip tubing and through 90 m of buried flat tape that had been used for subsurface drip irrigation for more than 1 year. Mixtures of known ratios of propane and air were introduced into the buried tubing over several time intervals to evaluate gas movement from buried drip tubing into the surrounding soil matrix. Samples were collected from sets of three soil gas sampling tubes placed 15, 30, and 45 cm to the side of the buried tubing and at regular intervals along the length of the tubing, and propane concentrations were quantified by gas chromatography. Tubing lengths and run times affected the magnitudes and uniformity of propane concentrations. Results suggest gas-phase chemicals can be delivered via buried drip-irrigation tubing, but effective distances from the point of introduction will be limited by the low densities and viscosities of gases, and corresponding high rates of escape through tubing emitters.