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  • Author or Editor: Sally M. Schneider x
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Nursery producers of perennial fruit and nut plants rely on preplant fumigation to meet regulatory requirements designed to ensure nematode-free planting stock. In the past, preplant treatments with methyl bromide or high rates of 1,3-dichloropropene were the preferred treatments. However, the phase out of methyl bromide due to environmental concerns and evolving regulations on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene has increased the need for effective and economical alternative fumigation treatments in open field nursery production. A field trial was conducted in a commercial nursery to test weed and nematode control with several tarped and untarped preplant applications of 1,3-dichloropropene, chloropicrin, and iodomethane in comparison with methyl bromide. Crop safety and nematode infestation were evaluated on a wide range of tree, vine, and berry nursery stock. No fall fumigation treatment in this study resulted in measurable injury to spring-planted nursery stock. There were few statistical differences between methyl bromide and the other fumigation treatments in crop establishment, crop quality, or nematode level at planting 5 months after treatment, although some untarped treatments had detectable levels of the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.). At grape (Vitus vinifera) and bramble (Rubus spp.) harvest after the first growing season, few statistical differences were noted in the number of nematodes isolated from roots; however, only methyl bromide had nondetectable levels in all varieties. The highest nematode levels were usually found in untarped iodomethane:chloropicrin and untarped chloropicrin plots. At tree harvest 26 months after fumigation, root-knot nematodes were isolated from the roots of highly susceptible tree varieties in several iodomethane:chloropicrin treatments and in chloropicrin alone plots. Untarped applications did not provide commercially acceptable control of weeds or root-knot nematode in this trial. Tarped applications of 30:70 and 50:50 iodomethane:chloropicrin provided nematode control similar to 1,3-dichloropropene, although not as good as methyl bromide. Iodomethane:chloropicrin combinations have been registered in other states and should be considered for use in California perennial fruit and nut crop nurseries as an alternative to methyl bromide.

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Field studies were conducted to evaluate potential alternatives to methyl bromide (MBr) for the control of plant parasitic nematodes in shallow-rooted, bedded cropping systems such as strawberry and in perennial nursery cropping systems in central California. Chloropicrin (Pic), 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), combinations of 1,3-D + Pic, iodomethane (IM) + Pic, propargyl bromide (PBr), and metam sodium (MS) were compared with untreated controls and industry standard MBr/Pic treatments. Materials were applied by both shank-injection and drip-application, except MS and PBr, which were applied only by drip. The efficacy on citrus nematode (Tylenchulus semipenetrans Cobb) and/or root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp. Chitwood) control was investigated in three trials conducted on soils ranging from sandy loam to silty clay loam. All treatments controlled nematodes near the injection point (center of bed and moderate depths) comparable to MBr/Pic. Drip-applied Pic provided somewhat less control than MBr/Pic at the shoulder of the bed when delivered in 25 mm of water and MS provided no control at the bed shoulder. IM + Pic, both shank-injected and drip-applied, provided nematode control to a depth of 150 cm comparable to MBr/Pic. Telone EC applied to a dry field in 75 mm water did not control nematodes well at either 90- or 150-cm depths, whereas PBr controlled nematodes as effectively as MBr/Pic at the 90-cm depth, but not at the 150-cm depth. Propargyl bromide at 67 kg·ha−1 was effective at killing the nematodes up to 30 cm deep in a strawberry plant bed. The dosage exposure values (within 96 h after fumigation) observed for greater than 99% control of nematodes were much lower for PBr (≈1 mg·L−1·h) than those for 1,3-D + Pic (17 mg·L−1·h when applied at 61:35 1,3-D:Pic mass ratio), Pic alone (10 mg·L−1·h), and IM + Pic (19 mg·L−1·h when applied at 50:50 mass ratio). Drip application technology showed promise for effective alternatives to MBr/Pic. Consistent delivery of an effective dosage of a material throughout the target soil profile is necessary for consideration as an acceptable alternative to MBr for high-value crops.

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