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  • Author or Editor: S. Gao x
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Methyl bromide has been used extensively in open-field perennial crop nurseries to ensure the production of plants that are free of soilborne pests and pathogens. California regulations require that nursery stock for farm planting be commercially clean with respect to economically important nematodes. Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the use of methyl bromide by developed countries was phased out 1 Jan. 2005. Although the perennial nursery industry in the United States largely continues to use methyl bromide under critical use exemptions and quarantine/preshipment criteria allowed under provisions of the Montreal Protocol, nursery growers need viable alternatives to this fumigant. Two fumigation trials in perennial crop field nurseries with sandy loam and clay loam soils, respectively, were conducted to compare the efficacy of fumigants applied through standard shank-injection equipment or as emulsifiable compounds applied through drip irrigation equipment. In the garden rose (Rosa multiflora) nursery trial, nematodes were detected at planting in the untreated control, no-tarpaulin 1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin, and chloropicrin alone several months after treatment. Nematodes included root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) and stunt nematode (Tylenchorhynchus semipenetrans). At harvest 2 years later, root-knot nematode was detected in rose roots from untreated plots and plots treated with untarped 1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin, metam sodium, and chloropicrin alone. In the nut tree (Prunus spp.) nursery field trial, shank-injected treatments typically provided better nematode control than the same chemicals applied via the drip lines, although weed control and marketable trees were similar among treatments.

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Excessive vine growth in sweetpotato has been associated with lower storage root yield. Prohexadione–calcium (Pro-Ca), a plant growth retardant, has been used to reduce vegetative growth and increase harvest efficiency and yield in many fruit and row crops. The influence of Pro-Ca on sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas Lam.) vegetative growth and storage root yield was evaluated in this study. In 2010 and 2011, the sweetpotato cvs. Beauregard, Porto Rico, O’ Henry, and SC1149-19 were sprayed with 0 and 810 mg a.i./L Pro-Ca in a split plot randomized complete block. Each plot received two sprays, the first at 2 weeks after transplanting and the second at 6 weeks after transplanting. When averaged across cultivars, Pro-Ca significantly (P ≤ 0.05) reduced vine length and vine yield and increased total root yield compared with the control. There was no significant Pro-Ca × cultivar interaction on any trait. Total biomass was not significantly (P ≤ 0.05) different between Pro-Ca-treated and control plants. However, the treated plants had more total root yield, whereas the control plants had more vine yield, suggesting that Pro-Ca treatment affected the distribution of assimilates. Data from this study suggested that it may be possible to use Pro-Ca to manipulate the source-sink relationship for higher storage root yield in sweetpotato.

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