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Russell W. Wallace*

Field research was conducted to evaluate pre-transplant (PRE) applications of sulfentrazone (0.20 or 0.41 kg·ha-1 a.i.) and flufenacet (0.045 kg·ha-1 a.i.), or early postemergence (EPOST) halosulfuron (0.027, 0.036 or 0.054 kg·ha-1 a.i.) on phytotoxicity and yield of field-grown chili (var. Sonora), jalapeño (var. Grande) and bell (var. Giant Belle) peppers (Capiscum annuum) in Texas. Crop injury recorded 15 days after sulfentrazone treatments (DAT) showed minor stunting at the low rate, but moderate stunting and temporary leaf malformation when applied at 0.41 kg·ha-1 a.i. Increased stunting occurred 37 DAT at both rates; however, new leaf growth was not affected. Flufenacet did not result in crop injury to any of the three types grown. Phytotoxicity from halosulfuron recorded 7 DAT gave significantly higher ratings for stunting/chlorosis for broadcast EPOST treatments when compared to EPOST-directed applications. Injury from halosulfuron was temporary and considered minor with all EPOST treatments by 22 DAT. Pepper yield data showed that EPOST halosulfuron treatments were statistically equivalent to the untreated controls for each of the three types, but there was a trend for lower yields with rates higher than 0.027 kg·ha-1 a.i. All peppers treated with flufenacet gave excellent yields. Sulfentrazone applied at the high rate gave the greatest yield losses in all three types, and this was significant in the jalapeños. The results indicate that all three herbicides have potential for use in commercial pepper production in Texas. However, more research is needed to evaluate these and other herbicides for improved crop safety in peppers.

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Russell W. Wallace* and Harold W. Kaufman

Over 5 million acres of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) are grown annually on the Texas High Plains, providing important resources to local, state and national economies. In recent years, growers have shown interest in farm diversification in order to increase profits. After determining a market, Agri-Gold, Inc. (Olton, Texas; population 2100) successfully diversified from cotton farming by starting with 30 acres of land and 7 canna lily (Canna ×generalis) varieties, but has now grown to produce 500 acres of cannas, 350 acres of irises (Iris sp.) and 100 acres of daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.). Agri-Gold annually markets 75 varieties of cannas, and over 90 iris and 150 daylily varieties while providing important employment opportunities to 50 full-time personnel and 150 part-time seasonal laborers. Crops are grown and marketed for their reproductive structures (rhizomes, bulbs, and crowns) and sold to retail chains throughout the United States. Warm, dry, sunny days and cool nights provide a quality environment for the reproductive growth of these crops. The arid climate and well-drained soils suppress diseases that may occasionally attack, and there are few natural insects that feed on the roots and foliage. Environmentally friendly products such as composted manure (locally produced) and biologicals, as well as integrated pest management (IPM) strategies are routinely included in field management and production decisions. Recent cooperative research efforts between Agri-Gold and Texas Cooperative Extension have evaluated herbicides for control of yellow (Cyperus esculentus L.) and purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.), as well as biological treatments for improved root growth and control of winter storage rots.

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Russell W. Wallace and John C. Hodges

Herbicides were applied pre-emergence (PRE) and early post-directed (EP-DIR) to determine their effects on crop injury and control of palmer amaranth (Amaranthus palmeri) and nutsedge (Cyperus spp.) in field-grown cannas (Canna ×generalis). Results indicate that PRE-applied s-metolachlor + pendimethalin was the most effective treatment for controlling palmer amaranth. All other PRE-applied treatments failed to adequately control palmer amaranth. While moderate and temporary stunting was visible, in general, no herbicides (except trifloxysulfuron) significantly decreased canna rhizome yields. EP-DIR s-metolachlor or s-metolachlor + pendimethalin did not improve nutsedge control unless halosulfuron was included in the tank mixture. Addition of halosulfuron did not increase crop injury or decrease canna yields but did significantly reduce the number of nutsedge tubers found in the canna rhizomes at harvest. Results suggest that all PRE-applied herbicides tested were safe for cannas, but the lack of adequate palmer amaranth and nutsedge control prohibits their use as stand-alone herbicides for canna production in the midsouth. Post-directing applications of halosulfuron significantly improved nutsedge control and reduced tuber infestation and, therefore, should be included in all nutsedge management programs for canna rhizome production.

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Russell W. Wallace and Robin R. Bellinder

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Russell W. Wallace, Annette L. Wszelaki, Carol A. Miles, Jeremy S. Cowan, Jeffrey Martin, Jonathan Roozen, Babette Gundersen and Debra A. Inglis

Field studies were conducted during 2010 and 2011 in Knoxville, TN; Lubbock, TX; and Mount Vernon, WA; to compare high tunnel and open-field organic production systems for season extension and adverse climate protection on lettuce (Lactuca sativa) yield and quality. The climates of these locations are diverse and can be typified as hot and humid (Knoxville), hot and dry (Lubbock), and cool and humid (Mount Vernon). In both years, 6-week-old lettuce seedlings of ‘New Red Fire’ and ‘Green Star’ (leafy type), ‘Adriana’ and ‘Ermosa’ (butterhead type), and ‘Coastal Star’ and ‘Jericho’ (romaine type) were transplanted in the late winter or early spring into subplots covered with black plastic and grown to maturity (43 to 65 days). Lettuce harvest in Knoxville occurred at 50 to 62 days after transplanting (DAT), with open-field lettuce harvested an average of 9 days earlier compared with high tunnel plots both years (P > 0.0001). The earlier than anticipated harvests in the open-field in Knoxville in 2010 were due to lettuce bolting. In Lubbock, high tunnel lettuce was harvested an average 16 days earlier in 2010 compared with open-field lettuce (P > 0.0001), while in 2011, high temperatures and bolting required that open-field lettuce be harvested 4 days earlier than lettuce grown in high tunnels. On average, lettuce cultivars at Mount Vernon matured and were harvested 56 to 61 DAT in 2010 and 54 to 64 DAT in 2011 with no significant differences between high tunnel and open-field production systems. Total and marketable yields at Mount Vernon and Lubbock averaged across cultivars were comparable in both high tunnel and open-field plots. At Knoxville, although total yields were significantly higher (P > 0.0062) in high tunnels than open-field plots, incidence of insect, disease, and physiological damage in high tunnel plots reduced lettuce quality and marketable yield (P > 0.0002). Lettuce head length:diameter ratio (LDR) averaged across cultivars was equal between high tunnel and the open field at all three locations. High tunnel production systems offer greater control of environments suitable for lettuce production, especially in climates like Knoxville and Lubbock where later-planted open-field systems may be more susceptible to temperature swings that may affect lettuce quality. These results suggest that although high tunnel culture alone may influence lettuce yield and quality, regional climates likely play a critical role in determining the impact of these two production systems on marketable lettuce yields.

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Jayesh B. Samtani, Curt R. Rom, Heather Friedrich, Steven A. Fennimore, Chad E. Finn, Andrew Petran, Russell W. Wallace, Marvin P. Pritts, Gina Fernandez, Carlene A. Chase, Chieri Kubota and Brad Bergefurd

Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) production practices followed by growers in the United States vary by region. Understanding the challenges, needs, and opportunities in each region is essential to guide research, policy, and marketing strategies for the strawberry industry across the country, and to enable the development of general and region-specific educational and production tools. This review divided the United States into eight distinct geographic regions and an indoor controlled or protected environment production system. Current production systems, markets, cultivars, trends, and future directions for each region are discussed. A common trend across all regions is the increasing use of protected culture strawberry production with both day-neutral and short-day cultivars for season extension to meet consumer demand for year-round availability. All regions experience challenges with pests and obtaining adequate harvest labor. Increasing consumer demand for berries, climate change-induced weather variability, high pesticide use, labor and immigration policies, and land availability impact regional production, thus facilitating the adoption of new technologies such as robotics and network communications to assist with strawberry harvesting in open-field production and production under controlled-environment agriculture and protected culture.