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- Author or Editor: Wheeler G. Foshee III x
Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus ‘Clemson Spineless’) was grown on an Orangeburg sandy loam soil in Shorter, AL. Okra was direct-seeded in single rows. Treatments consisted of five mulch colors: black, white, red, silver, and blue installed either with or without spun-bonded row cover. Soil temperatures were 4 to 7 °C lower than air temperatures in all treatments. The use of darker (black, blue, red) -colored plastic mulches increased early and total yield of okra compared with bare soil with and without row cover. Increased soil and air temperatures did not always correlate to an increase in yield. It can be concluded that the use of dark plastic mulch is advantageous to growers of okra in climates that do not have cool springs, but the added use of row covers to plastic mulch has no effect on growth and yield. The profit of marketable okra produced using a row cover was $1.37 versus $1.35 per pound without a cover in 2003 and $1.28 versus $1.29 per pound in 2004. Blue plastic mulch is ≈$0.08 per foot more expensive than black plastic. Our data do not show an economic advantage for blue over black mulch for okra, but the positive effect cited by other authors may be more pronounced with leafy vegetables.
Two commonly used management practices for weed control in container plant production are hand pulling and herbicide applications. There are problems associated with these methods including crop phytotoxicity and environmental concerns associated with off-target movement of herbicides. Other nonchemical weed control methods could reduce herbicide-based environmental concerns, mitigate herbicide-resistance development, and improve the overall level of weed control in container nursery production. Readily available tree-mulch species, eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), ground whole loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense), and sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) were harvested, chipped, and evaluated at multiple depths with and without the herbicide dimethenamid-p. Pine bark mini-nuggets were also evaluated. Mulches were applied at depths of 1, 2, and 4 inches and evaluated over three 30-day periods for their effectiveness in suppressing spotted spurge (Chamaesyce maculata), long-stalked phyllanthus (Phyllanthus tenellus), and eclipta (Eclipta prostrata). After 30 days, herbicide/mulch combinations, as well as mulch treatments alone, had reduced weed fresh weight 82% to 100% with 1 inch of mulch. By 168 days after treatment, dimethenamid-p had lost all efficacy, and mulch depth was the only factor that still had significant effects, reducing spotted spurge fresh weight by 90%, 99.5%, and 100% with depths of 1, 2, and 4 inches, respectively. The economics of mulch weed control will depend on variables such as available time, nursery layout, location, and availability of resources, equipment, among others. Regardless of variable economic parameters, data from this study reveals that any of these potential mulch species applied at a depth of at least 2 inches will provide long-term weed control in nursery container production.
Yields and economic returns above treatment variable costs were determined for young `Desirable' pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] trees grown for nine seasons under ten combinations of orchard floor management practice and irrigation. Orchard floor management practices were 1) no weed control, 2) mowed, 3) total weed control with herbicides, 4) grass control only with herbicides, or 5) disking, and trees were either irrigated or nonirrigated. Total weed control with herbicides increased cumulative yield through the ninth growing season by 358% compared to no weed control. In the humid environment where this experiment was conducted, irrigation did not increase crop value obtained from the young trees, except for 1 year. At the end of the ninth season, total weed control with herbicides was the only treatment to have a positive net present value. These data indicate that establishment costs for young `Desirable' pecan trees can be recovered as early as the eighth growing season if competition from weeds is totally eliminated.
A field experiment was conducted from 1995 to 1999 in central Alabama to determine the effect of repeated applications of glyphosate herbicide on young ‘Sumner’ pecan trees. Herbicide treatments were applied on ‘Sumner’ pecan trees varying in age from newly established (first growing season) to established fourth-year growing season trees. Measurements taken included tree mortality, trunk cross-sectional area, nut yield, and nut quality in the third and fourth years of the study. Glyphosate applications were targeted at the lowest 5 to 8 cm of the tree trunk (“standard” treatment), a percentage (lowest 33%, 67%, or 100%) of the tree trunk below the first scaffold limb, or a percentage (lowest 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) of tree foliage to simulate situations ranging from minor spray drift to major misapplication. No adverse effects were detected when glyphosate was applied to trunks, regardless of tree age. However, repeated application of glyphosate to 75% to 100% of tree foliage resulted in a significant reduction of growth and, in some cases, tree death. Results indicate that limited contact of glyphosate with the lowest 5 to 8 cm of the trunk of the young pecan tree, which usually occurs during conventional orchard weed management, is unlikely to result in adverse effects on young pecan trees.
Field studies were conducted in 2016 and 2017 in Tallassee, AL, to evaluate the effect of preemergence (PRE) herbicide applications pre- and postcrimp in a cereal rye (Secale cereale) cover crop for control of escape weeds in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus). Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete block design with an augmented factorial treatment arrangement with four replications. The augmented factorial arrangement included three levels of PRE herbicides, two levels of application timing, and a nontreated control. PRE herbicide treatments included ethalfluralin (18 oz/acre), fomesafen (2.5 oz/acre), and halosulfuron (0.56 oz/acre). Application timings were precrimp (herbicide applied before crimping and rolling of the cover crop) and postcrimp (herbicide applied after crimping and rolling of the cover crop). A nontreated cover crop only treatment was also included. There were no interactions among application timing and herbicide. Results indicated application timing influenced total weed coverage but not watermelon yield. Total weed coverage was lowest in precrimp applied treatments at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after treatment (WAT). Comparing individual treatments revealed no significant differences among herbicides with respect to watermelon yield; however, all herbicides increased yield compared with the nontreated.
Effects of combining labeled rates of halosulfuron (Sandea) and s-metolachlor (Dual Magnum) were evaluated as a preemergence (PRE) application in a randomized complete block designed experiment at the Wiregrass Experiment Station in southeastern Alabama. Treatments were assigned in a factorial arrangement of four levels of halosulfuron (0.0, 0.009, 0.018, and 0.036 lbs. a.i./acre) and six levels of s-metolachlor (0.0, 0.25, 0.50, 0.75, 1.0, and 1.25 lbs. a.i/acre). The purpose of the study was to ascertain possible synergistic effects from combining these two herbicides to control nutsedge at a possible lower cost. Two repetitions were completed in 2005 with data pooled in analysis. Results found no interaction between the halosulfuron and the s-metolachlor and therefore no synergistic affects. Analysis of the main effects revealed that the highest labeled rate of either herbicide gave the highest percent control relative to the nontreated control. Soil activity of halosulfuron in controlling nutsedge has been shown to be less effective than foliar applications. Our own LD90 greenhouse studies confirmed this to be true. We examined four application techniques of halosulfuron (POST both soil and foliar, POST foliar only, POST soil only, and PRE soil only) to determine the LD90. Results revealed that halosulfuron had the lowest LD90 from the treatments with a foliar application. However, some soil activity was observed. Results from field studies indicated that PRE applications of halosulfuron must be at the highest labeled rate to provide effective control. S-metolachlor was equal to halosulfuron on percent control and is lower in cost on a per acre basis.
Raised bed production trials were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of effluent from a biofloc-style recirculating aquaculture system producing nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as nutrient-rich irrigation water for fall ‘Celebrity’ tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) production. The objective of this study was to provide baseline vegetable production data and justification for using aquaculture effluent as a water and nutrient resource. The experiment was a split-plot, randomized block design with three treatments: aquaculture effluent, granular fertilizer, and fertigation. Tomato seeds were sown in June, transplanted in August, and grown until Oct. 2019 in nine replicated raised beds. Conventional field tomato production practices were followed throughout the trial, and data were collected for tomato fruit yield, market quality, size, leaf greenness (SPAD), and foliar nutrient analysis. Fruit yield was similar between fertigated and aquaculture effluent treatments, with granular fertilizer resulting in yield that was significantly lower (P ≤ 0.033). SPAD measurements were similar among treatments. All nutrients met or exceeded sufficiency ranges. Foliar nutrient analysis revealed no significant difference for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, boron, zinc, manganese, and iron among treatments. Sulfur and copper levels were significantly lower (P < 0.05) with aquaculture effluent treatment as compared with the granular and fertigated treatments. Overall, tomato production using aquaculture effluent as a water and nutrient supplement produced similar yields to commercial practices, making it potentially viable for producers.
Production of high tunnel tomatoes and snapdragons was evaluated over a 2-year period at the Wiregrass Experiment Station, in southeastern Alabama. `BHN 640', `Florida 91', `Sunleaper', and `Carolina Gold', were evaluated in early Spring 2004. Results indicated that `BHN 640' outperformed `Florida 91' and `Carolina Gold' in early production of high tunnel grown tomatoes. A late Fall 2005 study examined `BHN 640' and `Florida 91'. Results indicated that `BHN 640' was superior to `Florida 91' in total marketable fruit. Season extension of both spring and fall tomato production were accomplished. A planting date study was completed in the early Spring 2005. The following four planting dates were evaluated: 31 Jan., 17 Feb., 4 Mar., and 25. Mar 2005. Wind damage to the high tunnel caused some mortality; however, the two earliest planting dates (31 Jan. and 17 Feb. 2005) produced over 10 lbs. of marketable tomatoes per plant. These were both superior to the last planting date of 25 Mar 2005. Cut snapdragons were evaluated for suitable colored mulch (red, white, or blue) and varieties for summer (`Opus Yellow', `Opus Rose', `Monaco Red', and `Potomac Early White') and fall (`Apollo Purple', `Apollo Yellow', `Monaco Red', `Monaco Rose', and `Potomac Early Orange') production. Results indicated that inflorescence length was affected by the color of mulch. The red mulch had increased inflorescence length compared to the white in Summer 2005. The Fall 2005 study revealed that white mulch had longer inflorescence length than the red or blue mulch. Some varietal differences were observed. The `Apollo Purple' had longer stem lengths than all other varieties for the fall study. The summer study revealed that `Opus Yellow' had longer inflorescence lengths than all others but stem lengths were all similar.