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Don R. La Bonte, Howard F. Harrison and Carl E. Motsenbocker

Field experiments were conducted to assess how sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] clones interfere with weeds and how clones tolerate weed interference. Eleven clones with architecturally different canopies were evaluated for yield, canopy surface area and dry mass, weed dry mass, and light interception at ground level. A 2-fold difference in ground area covered by canopy surface area was observed among the eleven clones 42 days after planting, and a 3-fold difference in canopy dry mass at harvest. Yields were reduced from 14% to 68% by weed interference. The yields of high-yielding clones, `Beauregard', `Excel', L87-125, `Regal', `Centennial', and W-274, were reduced to a significantly greater extent by weeds than were yields of the other five clones. No differences were observed between clones for weed suppression as measured by weed dry mass at harvest and ground light interception. Short-internode and long-internode clones had similar competitive abilities. Yield of high-yielding clones was impacted more by weed interference than was that of low-yielding clones.

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John L. Maas, John M. Enns, Stan C. Hokanson and Richard L. Hellmich

Larvae of several insects injure and kill strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duchesne) plants by burrowing into and hollowing out plant crowns. Occasionally, these infestations are serious enough to cause heavy economic losses to fruit producers and nursery plant growers. In 1997 in Beltsville, Md., we observed wilting and dying mature plants and unrooted runner plants in two experimental strawberry plantings. Injury by larvae was extensive; large cavities occurred in crowns, and the central pith tissues were removed from stolons and leaf petioles. Often, insect frass was seen at entrance holes. Larvae removed from hollowed-out parts of injured plants were identified as the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner) in their fifth instar stage. Their presence in this instance also was associated with a cover crop of millet [Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv., `German Strain R'] planted between the strawberry rows for weed suppression. This is the first published report of the European corn borer attacking strawberry. Although this insect may occur only sporadically in strawberry plantings, it may become important in the future. Growers and other professionals should become aware of this new strawberry pest and recognize that its management in strawberry will be different from management of other crown-boring insects.

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Marvin P. Pritts and Mary Jo Kelly

Competition from weeds and an interplanted sudangrass [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moensch, formerly S. sudanense (Piper) Stapf.] cover crop was allowed to occur in newly-planted strawberries (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) for varying lengths of time, and at different times during the growing season. Newly planted strawberries were most susceptible to weed and cover crop competition during the first 2 months after planting, as both runnering (stolon formation) and subsequent yield were impacted. In 1994-95, 1 month of weed competition in June reduced yield by 20%, whereas 2 months of weed competition reduced yield by 65%. However, 1 month of uncontrolled weed growth later in the growing season had little to no impact on yield, although weed biomass was much less then. Herbicide (napropamide) use alone was insufficient to prevent weed competition and yield reduction. In our study, yield was reduced 0.67 t·ha-1 or 5.5% for each 100 g·m-2 of weed biomass. The data suggest that it is critical for growers to minimize weed competition early in the planting year when weed growth is greatest. Since an interplanted sudangrass cover crop displaced a portion of the weeds, it could be seeded later in the year to provide some weed suppression without a negative impact on yield. Chemical names used: N, N, Diethyl-2-(1-naphthalenyloxy)-propionamide (napropamide); N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine (glyphosate).

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E.T. Pippin, E.W. Bush, D.J. Lee and R.E. Strahan

Weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) is commonly used in native areas bordering golf courses in the Southeastern United States. These areas do not receive significant levels of maintenance, thus weed encroachment is a problem that can negatively impact the functional and aesthetic values of the golf course. The objectives of this study is to determine which selective postemergent herbicides labeled for use on golf courses can remove weeds from Weeping Lovegrass and to determine the level of phytotoxicity. Herbicides included monosodium methane arsenate (MSMA 6.0) applied at 3.0 lb/acre a.i., sulfosulfuron (Certainty) at 0.047 lb/acre a.i., metribuzin (Sencor 75 DF) at 0.5 lb/acre a.i., and imazaquin (Image 70 DG) at a rate of 0.5 lb/acre a.i.. Treatments were applied on July 20, 2004 to 9.6 × 9.6 plots arranged in a randomized complete block design (RCBD) using Teejet 8005 nozzles at 40 psi calibrated to deliver 40 ga/acre. Plots were monitored daily and data was collected 0, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, and 42 DAT. Sulfosulfuron and MSMA provided the highest level of weed control 35 DAT. Metribuzin and imazaquin provided limited weed suppression compared to the control. Initial phytotoxic damage to the Lovegrass was observed in all herbicide treatments. The highest level of phytotoxic damage was observed in the MSMA and Metribuzin treatments; however there was no apparent damage at 42 DAT. Herbicide applications of sulfosulfuron and MSMA are effective in reducing weed populations with acceptable levels of phytotoxicity to the Lovegrass.

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Carlene A. Chase, Odemari S. Mbuya and Danielle D. Treadwell

The effect of living mulches (LM) on weed suppression, crop growth and yield, and soil hydraulic conductivity were evaluated in broccoli in North Central Florida at Citra and in North Florida at Live Oak, using organic production methods. `Florida 401' rye, `Wrens Abruzzi' rye, black oat, and annual ryegrass, were either mowed or left untreated and compared with weedy and weed-free controls. Cover crop biomass was highest with `Florida 401' at both locations, intermediate with black oat and `Wrens Abruzzi', and lowest with ryegrass. The greatest weed infestation occurred with the weedy control. In Citra, ryegrass decreased weed biomass by 21% compared with ≈45% by the other LM with no differences due to mowing. However, at Live Oak, mowed LM and the weedy control had similar amounts of weed biomass; whereas unmowed LM had 30% to 40% less weed biomass than the weedy control. At both locations, broccoli heights were greatest with the weed-free control, intermediate with the cover crops, and lowest with the weedy control. Total above-ground broccoli biomass and marketable weight of broccoli at Live Oak, and number of marketable heads at both locations, were unaffected by the LM. At Citra, total broccoli biomass with LM and the weedy control decreased in a similar manner, so that total broccoli biomass was highest with the weed-free control. Ryegrass and the weedy control suppressed marketable broccoli weight by 24%; however, greater decrease in marketable weight (39% to 43%) occurred with `Florida 401', `Wrens Abruzzi', and black oat. At both locations, mowing of LM had no effect on broccoli growth or yield. There was no difference in saturated hydraulic conductivity among treatments.

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Christine Crosby, Hector Valenzuela, Bernard Kratky and Carl Evensen

In the tropics, weed control is a year-round concern. The use of cover crops in a conservation tillage system allows for the production of a crop biomass that can be killed and mowed, and later used as mulching material to help reduce weed growth. This study compared yields of three vegetable species grown in two conventional tillage systems, one weeded and one unweeded control, and in two no-tillage treatments using two different cover crop species, oats (Avena sativa L. `Cauyse') and rye grain (Secale cereale L.). The cover crops were seeded (112 kg/ha) in Spring 1998 in 4 × 23-m plots in a RCB design with six replications per treatment, and mowed down at the flowering stage before transplanting the seedlings. Data collection throughout the experimental period included quadrant weed counts, biomass levels, and crop marketable yields. Weed suppression was compared with the yields of the vegetable crops. The greatest vegetable yields were in the conventionally hand-weeded control and the worst in the un-weeded controls. Weed species composition varied depending on the cover crop species treatment. The rye better suppressed weed growth than the oats, with greater control of grass species. Rye, however, suppressed romaine and bell pepper yields more than the oat treatments. Similarly greater eggplant yields and more fruit per plant were found in the oat treatment than in the rye. Both cover crops suppressed weed growth for the first month; however, by the second month most plots had extensive weed growth. This study showed that at the given cover crop seeding rate, the mulch produced was not enough to reduce weed growth and provide acceptable yields of various vegetable crops.

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Steven Vanek, H.C. Wien and Anu Rangarajan

Growing a main vegetable crop for harvest and a cover crop for residue return to soil in the same growing season is a promising strategy to sustain soil quality in vegetable rotations. Our research evaluated cover crop strips interseeded between pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo L.) as a way to implement such a strategy. Cover crop types were lana vetch (Vicia villosa ssp. dasycarpa Ten.) and a lana vetch–winter rye (Secale cereale L.) mix, interseeded before, at the same time, or after pumpkins. The competitive impact of different cover crop strips was assessed using pumpkin yield, cover strip biomass, crop nitrogen status, soil nitrate status, and soil water potential. Cover strips were also assessed for competitiveness with native weeds. Seeding date affected the competitiveness of cover strips with pumpkins, while cover type did not. Cover crops seeded before pumpkins or at the same time reduced pumpkin yield in proportion to biomass produced by the cover strips early in pumpkin growth. Cover strips seeded after pumpkins did not reduce yield. Tilling in a before-seeded cover strip at 30 days after pumpkin seeding gave higher pumpkin yield than before-seeded cover strips that were not tilled. At three of four sites, after-seeded cover strips had the lowest percent weed biomass in strips, and at two sites with moderate weed pressure vetch–rye strips were more effective than vetch alone in suppressing weeds. Cover strips seeded before or at the same time as pumpkins reduced pumpkin yield by taking up resources that were otherwise available to pumpkins. At a high-rainfall site, competition for soil nitrate by cover crop strips was the dominant factor in reducing pumpkin yield. At a low-rainfall site, the dominant factor was competition for water. Because of effective weed suppression and lack of pumpkin yield reduction, interseeding vetch–rye strips after pumpkins was a promising practice, as was tilling in preexistent cover strips at an interval <30 days after pumpkin seeding. Good previous weed management and rye–vetch mixes at high seeding rates are necessary to allow interseeded cover strips to outcompete weeds.

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Jose Linares, Johannes Scholberg, Carlene Chase, Robert McSorley and James Fergusson

Lack of effective weed control may hamper organic citrus establishment. Cover crop/weed biomass (CCW) indices were used to assess the effectiveness of annual and perennial cover crops (CC) in reducing weed growth. The CCW values for perennial peanut (PP) were 0.06, 0.14, 0.4, and 0.5 during 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005, respectively (very poor to poor weed control). Initial PP growth was slow and repeated mowing was required, but, over time, PP became more effective in controlling weeds. Weed biomass with sunn hemp was 0.3 Mg/ha in 2002 (CCW = 25, outstanding weed control) compared to 1.4 Mg/ha with use of cowpea (CCW = 1) in 2004. In 2004, the dry weights (Mg/ha) for different summer CC were: hairy indigo = 7.6, pigeon pea = 7.6, sunn hemp = 5.3, cowpea = 5.1, alyce clover = 2.9, velvet bean = 1.3, and lablab bean = 0.8. Corresponding 2005 values were: 9.5, 3.7, 12.6, 1.0, 1.9, and 1.4. Respective CCWI values were: 7, 4, 2, 16, 28, 0.6, and 0.3 (2004) vs. 17, 2, 64, 80, 0.5, 2, and 14. In 2004, winter CC production (Mg/ha) was radish (R) = 3.2, crimson clover (CR) = 1.7, oats (O) + lupine = 1.6, and rye (WR)/vetch (V) mix = 1.1. Results for 2005 were: CR + R + WR = 8.0, WR = 6.0; CR + WR = 5.3, CR = 5.0, CR + O + WR = 5.0, R = 4.3, and O = 3.6 Mg/ha. Corresponding values for CCW-indices were 15, 2, 1, and 3 (2004) and 100, 25, 76, 35, 62, 11, and 16 (2005). Although OMRI-approved herbicides showed up to 84% weed injury for selected species, none of these products provided long-term weed control. Combination of repeated tillage, use of compact/reseeding CC mixes in tree rows, more vigorous annual CC and/or perennial PP in row middle and repeated use of organic herbicides near sprinklers and tree trunks are thus required to ensure effective weed suppression in organic citrus.

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Husrev Mennan and Mathieu Ngouajio

modification; and weed control ( Haramoto and Gallandt, 2004 ; Mennan et al., 2006 ; Ngouajio and Mennan, 2005 ; Teasdale, 1996 ; Yenish et al., 1996 ). Many studies have reported positive effects of living cover crops on early season weed suppression and

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Alyssa H. Cho, Alan W. Hodges and Carlene A. Chase

populations could mean a decrease in labor costs associated with hand weeding. Although the importance of weed suppression by cover crops is well documented, economic data are lacking to support the monetary benefits growers might obtain by using a cover crop