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Nick E. Christians and Dianna L. Liu

Field and greenhouse studies on the use of a byproduct of the corn (Zea mays L.) wet-milling process, corn gluten meal, have shown that this high-protein fraction of corn grain contains an organic compound that inhibits root formation of a variety of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species. Seeds that germinate in a soil media to which corn gluten meal has been added form normal shoots, but no roots. The seedling quickly dies as the media drys. This inhibition of root formation can be timed to prevent the establishment of weeds in turf areas and other plant systems. Corn gluten meal also contains approximately 10% nitrogen and can be used as a natural fertilizer material. Repeated field trials have shown no detrimental effect of the corn gluten meal on mature grass plants. This combination of a natural fertilizer with a natural weed inhibiting compound may result in a `weed and feed' product for those who do not wish to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. A patent on the use of corn gluten meal as a weed control was issued in 1991.

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Nick E. Christians and Dianna L. Liu

It has previously been reported that a byproduct of the corn (Zea mays L.) wet-milling process, corn gluten meal, has potential as a natural preemergence herbicide for use in turf and certain horticultural crops. In 1993, two additional patents were issued on the technology. The first is on the use of hydrolyzed proteins from corn and other grains that were shown to have higher levels of herbicidal activity than the corn gluten meal. These materials are water soluble and can be sprayed on the soils surface. The second patent was on 5 dipeptides extracted from the hydrolyzed corn gluten meal. These dipeptides were shown to have the same type of biological activity observed when the corn gluten meal and the hydrolyzed meal are applied to the soil. The possible use of the hydrolyzed grains and the dipeptides as natural preemergence herbicides in horticultural crops will be discussed.

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Barbara R. Bingaman and Nick E. Christians

Corn (Zea mays L.) gluten meal (CGM) was evaluated under greenhouse conditions for efficacy on 22 selected monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous weed species. Corn gluten meal was applied at 0, 324, 649, and 973 g·m–2 and as a soil-surface preemergence (PRE) and preplant-incorporated (PPI) weed control product. CGM reduced plant survival, shoot length, and root development of all tested species. Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum L.), common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.), creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.), curly dock (Rumex crispus L.), purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) were the most susceptible species. Plant survival and root development for these species were reduced by ≥75%, and shoot length was decreased by >50% when treated PRE and PPI with 324 g CGM/m2. Catchweed bedstraw (Galium aparine L.), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber), giant foxtail (Setaria faberi Herrm.), and smooth crabgrass [Digitaria ischaemum (Schreb.) Schreb. ex Muhl] exhibited survival and shoot length reductions >50% and an 80% reduction in root development when treated with PPI CGM at 324 g·m–2. Barnyardgrass [Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) Beauv.] and velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti Medic.) were the least susceptible species showing survival reductions ≤31% when treated with 324 g CGM/m2.

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Dianna L. Liu and Nick E. Christians

Corn gluten hydrolysate (CGH) was evaluated in the greenhouse for its herbicidal activity on 19 selected monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species. Treatments included CGH at 0, 1, 2, 4, and 8 g·dm-2. Plant susceptibility was based on plant survival, shoot length, and root length. The germination and growth of all species were inhibited by the application of CGH at all rates. Black medic (Medicago lupulina L.), buckhorn plaintain (Plantago lanceolata L.), creeping bentgrass (Agrostis palustris Huds.), purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.), and redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L.) were the most susceptible species, exhibiting more than 70% reduction in root length, 60% reduction in plant survival, and 52% reduction in shoot length with CGH at 1 g·dm-2. Common lambsquarters (Chenopodium album L.), curly dock (Rumex crispus L.), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale Weber), giant foxtail (Setaria faberi Herrm.), large crabgrass [Digitaria sanguinalis (L.) Scop.], and yellow foxtail [Setaria lutescens (Weigel) Hubb.] exhibited more than 50% reduction in root length and plant survival at 1 g·dm-2. Annual bluegrass (Poa annua L.), barnyardgrass [Echinochloa crusgali (L.) Beauv.], green foxtail [Setaria viridis (L.) Beauv.], orchardgrass (Dactylis glomerata L.), perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.), quackgrass [Agropyron repens (L.) Beauv.], and velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti Medic.) survivial was reduced by 60% at 2 g·dm-2. Annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) was the least susceptible species.

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Craig A. Dilley, Gail R. Nonnecke and Nick E. Christians

Corn gluten meal (CGM), a by-product of corn wet-milling, has weed control properties and is a N source. The weed control properties of CGM have been identified in previous studies. The hydrolysate is a water soluble, concentrated extract of CGM that contains between 10% to 14% N. Our objective was to investigate corn gluten hydrolysate as a weed control product and N source in `Jewel' strawberry production. The field experiment was a randomized complete block with a factorial arrangement of treatments with four replications. Treatments included application of granular CGM, CGM hydrolysate, urea, urea and DCPA (Dacthal), and a control (no application). Granular CGM and urea were incorporated into the soil at a depth of 2.5 cm with N at 0, 29, 59, and 88 g/plot. Plot size was 1 × 3 m. Percent weed cover data on 12 Aug. showed plots receiving the 29 g N from CGM hydrolysate had 48% less weed cover than the control (0 g). Plant growth variables showed similar numbers of runners and runner plants among all nitrogen sources.

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Young K. Joo, Nick E. Christians and John M. Bremner

We evaluated the response of Kentucky bluegrass (Pea pratensis L.) turf to urea amended with the urease inhibitors PPD, NBPT, and ATS and with the cations K+ (KCl) and Mg+2 (MgCl2). Treatments for the 2-year field experiment included liquid urea applied monthly in June to Sept. 1985 and 1986 at 49 kg N/ha with PPD (1%, 2%, 3% by weight of applied N), NBPT (0.5%, 1%, 2%), ATS (5%, 15%, 25%), K+ (5%, 15%, 25%), and Mg+2 (5%, 15%, 25%). The NBPT was included only in the 1986 field study. The Mg+2 and K+ reduced foliar burn and increased turf quality during mid- and late Summer 1985 at the 5% rate, but clipping yield was not affected by any treatment. In 1986, under milder climatic conditions, PPD and NBPT increased clipping yield by 13.2% and 15.2%, respectively. At the 15% rate, ATS increased clipping yield by 15.1%, but, on average, PPD and NBPT were much more effective. Chemical names used: phenylphosphorodiamidate (PPD), N-(n -butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT), and ammonium thiosulfate (ATS).

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Craig A. Dilley, Gail R. Nonnecke and Nick E. Christians

The number of herbicides available for use in strawberry (Fragaria×ananassa Duch.) production is limited. Corn gluten hydrolysate (CGH) is a water-soluble extract of corn gluten meal (CGM), a by-product of corn wet-milling. Both CGH and CGM have been shown to inhibit root development of seedlings and can provide nitrogen (N). Four weed control and/or N- containing products were studied: CGH, CGM, urea (46N-0P-0K), and urea applied with DCPA at 8.4 kg·ha-1 a.i. Treatments were applied at N rates of 0, 9.8, 19.5, and 29.3 g·m-2. The 0 g·m-2 of N treatment served as the control. During the 1995 establishment season, all treatments were applied in June, July, and August. Treatments were applied in July and August during the 1996, 1997, and 1998 growing seasons. Dicot and monocot weed number and weed shoot dry weights were determined ≈30 days after both July and August treatments. Strawberry yield data were collected in June. Leaf N data were collected during the first week of July, before renovation. When CGH was applied in July, dicot weed number in August decreased in one of four years, but CGH never affected the number of monocot weeds. CGM application in July, reduced the number of dicot weeds found in plots in Aug. 1995 and 1998. Urea had no effect on dicot weed number from 1995 to 1997. However, in 1998, dicot weed number was reduced by as much as 79% as the rate of urea increased. In all study years, dicot weed number was reduced between 86% and 97%, for the high rate of DCPA + urea, compared with control plots. With few exceptions, rate of N had no effect on leaf N or yield. CGH exhibited limited potential as a natural weed control product; it reduced dicot weed number in one year, but did not affect the number of monocot weeds in any year. Strawberry yield in plots receiving CGH showed a linear increase in one year (1998), but did not show an increase in the other 2 years. Chemical name used: dimethyl tetrachloroterephthalate (DCPA)

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Craig A. Dilley, Gail R. Nonnecke and Nick E. Christians

Alternative approaches to strawberry production that rely on cultural practices, biological controls, or natural products to reduce or replace off-farm chemical inputs are needed. Driving this growing interest are environmental concerns and rising production costs. Corn gluten meal (CGM), a byproduct of corn wet-milling, has weed-control properties and is a N source. The weed control properties of CGM have been identified in previous studies. The hydrolysate is a water-soluble, concentrated extract of CGM that contains between 10% to 14% N. Our objective was to investigate corn gluten hydrolysate as a weed control product and N source in `Jewel' strawberry production. The field experiment was a randomized complete block with a factorial arrangement of treatments and four replications. Treatments included application of granular CGM, CGM hydrolysate, urea, urea, and DCPA (Dacthal), and a control (no application). Granular CGM and urea were incorporated into the soil at a depth of 2.5 cm at rates of 0, 29, 59, and 88 g N/plot. Plot size was 1 × 3 m. The field experiment was conducted from 1995-1998. The source of nitrogen showed few effects for all variables measuring yield and weed control for all years. In general, the rate of nitrogen had little or no effect on total yield. However, the rate of nitrogen at 88 g N/plot showed an increase in average berry weight, leaf area, leaf dry weight, and weed control.

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Angela K. Tedesco, Gail R. Nonnecke, John J. Obrycki, Nick E. Christians and Mark L. Gleason

Field plots of four production systems of `Tristar' dayneutral and `Earliglow' Junebearing strawberry (Fragaria xananassa Duch.) were established in 1993. Productions systems included conventional practices (CONV), best-management practices including integrated crop management (ICM), organic practices using corn gluten meal, a natural weed control product, (ORG-CGM), and organic practices using a natural turkey manure product (ORG-TM). `Earliglow' plants grown with ORG-CGM showed the highest number of runners and total vegetative biomass. Plots with CONV and ICM systems using standard herbicide treatments had lower total weed numbers (11 and 18, respectively) than ORG-CGM (63) and ORG-TM (58). `Tristar' plant growth, yield and berry number were reduced when plants were grown under straw mulch in ORG-CGM and ORG-TM compared to CONV and ICM plots with polyethylene mulch.

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Jeffery K. Iles, Nancy Howard Agnew, Henry G. Taber and Nick E. Christians

A major limiting factor in producing container-grown herbaceous perennials is low-temperature injury to cold sensitive roots and crowns during above ground winter storage. Growers and retailers of these plants understand the need for protection systems, yet specific recommendations are unavailable. The ability of several structureless systems to moderate temperature and protect 16 species of container-grown herbaceous perennials from low-temperature injury was investigated. Two light-excluding treatments consisting of 30 cm of straw between 2 layers of 4 mil white copolymer, and 18 cm deep in-ground beds protected with 1 layer of 4 mil white copolymer and 30 cm of woodchips provided the greatest moderation of winter low and early spring high temperatures but resulted in severe etiolation among test plants, A bonded white copolymer-microform overwintering blanket with translucent properties provided comparable plant survival, and prevented etiolated growth allowing plants to grow rapidly after uncovering, despite dramatic temperature extremes observed beneath this cover.