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John Strang, Carl Harper, Dana Hadad, Kay Oakley, Darrell Slone and John Snyder

Three landscape fabrics, Magic Mat®, a heavy black plastic woven fabric with a fuzzy underside; Weed Mat®, a thin black plastic sheet with small holes; and Typar®, a dark gray spun bonded material, with and without a cover of organic oak bark mulch, were evaluated for weed control and ability of strawberry plant roots to establish through the fabrics over a 4-year period. Landscape fabrics reduced weed numbers for the first 3 years in comparison with the bare ground treatment. With few exceptions. the organic mulch did not improve the weed control capability of landscape fabrics. Fruit yield for the Weed Mat and Magic Mat treatments did not differ from the bare ground treatment, but was lower for the Typar treatment when averaged over organic mulch treatments. Fruit yield was higher where the organic mulch was used when averaged over all landscape fabric treatments. Fruit size was slightly larger for the bare ground and smallest for the Typar treatments during the first harvest season, but there was no difference in fruit size by the third year of harvest. Fruit size for the organic mulched plots was slightly larger than that for the unmulched plots the second year of harvest, but there was no difference for the first or third years. The number of strawberry runner plants that rooted and plant row vigor were greater for the Weed Mat, Magic Mat and plots without the landscape fabric than for the Typar plots, particularly in the second and third season. Rooting of runner plants and plant row vigor was better with organic mulch. Landscape fabric tended to reduce extent of rooting, especially in the first season, but it was improved by the application of organic mulch.

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Jeffrey F. Derr

Chemical weed control is an important weed management option in nursery crop production and landscape maintenance. Improved methods of herbicide delivery can increase efficacy of chemical control and minimize off-site movement, applicator exposure, and incorrect herbicide application. Certain innovative technologies show potential for addressing these issues in the nursery industry. Slow-release herbicide tablets have shown promise in container production. Horticultural collars, treated paper, and treated mulch are potential ways of applying herbicides in container crop production and/or landscape maintenance. Horticultural collars contain herbicides between two layers of a carrier such as a landscape fabric. A rapidly degradable paper can be pretreated with an herbicide for a precise application rate. Mulch can be treated with a herbicide prior to use in the landscape for improved weed control. Herbicides applied through the clip-cut pruning system could control weeds selectively in nurseries and landscapes. Each of these methods may address one or more concerns about off-site movement, calibration, and applicator exposure to pesticides.

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Deborah Willard and Harlene Hatterman Valenti

landscape fabric (The Tessman Co., Fargo, ND)] and two herbicide treatments (glyphosate at 0.75 lb/acre plus oryzalin at 2 lb/acre, and linuron at 1.7 lb/acre in year 1 followed in by flumioxazin at 1 oz/acre in year 2). A control group that received hand

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John Cline, Gerry Neilsen, Eugene Hogue, Shawn Kuchta and Denise Neilsen

minimize treatment interference. Treatments consisted of: 1) glyphosate check, 2) SOM, 3) SOM over 4.5 kg·m −2 (45 Mg·ha −1 DW basis) MCB, 4) SOM over black landscape fabric (Pro-Weed-X®; Dalen Products, Knoxville, TN), 5) SOM over a 0.6-mil spunbound

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Bonnie L. Appleton and Jeffrey F. Derr

Disks of several geotextiles, paper, fiberglass, and black polyethylene were compared with the herbicides oxyfluorfen plus pendimethalin, oxadiazon, and oryzalin plus benefin for suppression of weed growth around container-grown Southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis Engelm.), Chinese pistache (Pistacia chinensis Bunge.), and `Fashion' azalea [Rhododendron indicum (L.) Sweet × `Fashion']. The greatest weed control was obtained with a combination geotextile-preemergence herbicide (trifluralin) disk, indicating a possible new method of container weed control. Several of the barrier materials, including heavy wrapping and compressed peatmoss papers, black polyethylene, and one spunbonded geotextile, were inferior due to degradation or to weeds growing around the disk edges or center hole. No difference in crop growth was noted among the treatments. Chemical names used: 2-chloro-1- (3-ethoxy-4-nitrophenoxy)-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzene (oxyfluorfen); N-(1-ethylpropyl)-3,4 -dimethyl-2,6-dinitrobenzenamine (pendimethalin); 3-[2,4-dichloro-5 -(1-methylethoxy)phenyl]-5-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-(3H)-one (oxadiazon); 4-(dipropylamino) -3,5 -dinitrobenzenesulfonamide (oryzalin); N-butyl-N-ethyl-2,6 -dinitro-4-(trifluoromethyl) benzenamine (benefin); 2,6-dinitro-N,N-dipropyl-4-(ttifluoromethyl)benzenamine (trifluralin).

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Paul H. Henry and She-Kong Chong

There has been recent speculation in trade journals that landscape fabrics, while doing a excellent job of weed control, may have a detrimental effect upon ornamental plant growth. A study is in progress to investigate the manner in which applied landscape fabric affects soil aeration, soil temperature, and water infiltration rate over a period of 18 months. The experimental design is a split-plot with main plots identified as composted or non-composted areas. Within each main plot, the design is a randomized complete block with four blocks and three treatments per block (control, organic mulch, landscape fabric + organic mulch). Each plot has been planted with herbaceous perennials so as to allow analysis of treatment effects upon plant growth. Re-dox potential is measured on a weekly and infiltration rate is measured on a biweekly basis. Soil temperature within plots is monitored on a continuous basis. Preliminary results suggest that landscape fabrics have a detrimental effect on soil aeration and that this likely has a adverse effect upon plant growth. An attempt will be made in this study to contrast any adverse effects of landscape fabric use with the obvious benefits offered by increased weed control.

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Renee H. Harkins, Bernadine C. Strik and David R. Bryla

contact herbicides are commonly used in conventional blackberry plantings ( Barney et al., 2007 ; Bushway et al., 2008 ), but chemical options are limited for organic production. Perforated landscape fabric, often referred to as weed mat, is an

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Amy O'Leary, Paul Henry and She-Kong Chong

There has been recent speculation in trade journals that landscape fabrics, while doing an excellent job of weed control, may have a detrimental effect on ornamental plant growth. A study is in progress to investigate the manner in which hardwood mulch and applied landscape fabric affect soil temperature, soil aeration, and water content over 18 months. Two experiments are in progress, one with compost incorporated at 50% soil volume, the other with no compost incorporation. The experimental design is a randomized complete block with four treatments (mulch, fabric, fabric plus mulch, and control) and four plants per plot. Each plot has been planted with herbaceous perennials so as to allow analysis of treatment effects on plant growth. Soil temperature within plots is monitored on a continual basis. Soil aeration is measured every two weeks using installed oxygen tubes. Water content is measured using time domain reflectometry 24 and 48 h after a significant rainfall event. Preliminary results suggest that hardwood mulch and landscape fabric are similar in their effect on soil water content 0 to 48 h after a significant rainfall event. However, after 48 h, hardwood mulch increases soil water retention compared to landscape fabric.

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Emily K. Dixon, Bernadine C. Strik, Luis R. Valenzuela-Estrada and David R. Bryla

remove them only before harvest. However, weeds compete with blackberry plants and can significantly reduce yield when left unmanaged ( Harkins et al., 2013 ; Meyers et al., 2014 ). The use of a perforated landscape fabric, or “weed mat,” as a barrier to

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William J. Sciarappa* and Gary C. Pavllis

Weeds are especially problematic in highbush blueberry which has a long establishment period, shallow-fibrous roots, and poor competitive ability in obtaining water, nutrients and sunlight. Commercial approaches in certified organic blueberry fields compared horticultural management methods in two New Jersey sites. The trials utilized both new and established blueberry blocks having trickle or overhead irrigation. Commercial methods investigated included rotary cultivation, mowing, propane flaming, cover crops, landscape fabric, and various mulches. Mulch comparisons included pine bark mulch, hardwood mulch, coffee grinds, cocoa grinds, municipal leaf mulch, and composted tea leaves. 3' × 12' plots were replicated 4 times in 4 adjoining rows. Applications of 3-4 inches of these mulches within the crop row to a new planting of Duke highbush blueberry have provided a combined weed control level of ca. 95% without landscape fabric and ≈98% with landscape fabric during 2003. Walkway weed suppression in new plantings was achieved with the establishment of two types of fine leafed turf fescues and monthly mowings. Bare ground percentage decreased from 80% to <2% within one year's time as these fine fescues gradually out-competed annual weeds for space. These fescue cover crops increased ground coverage from 8% to >95% over the seven month growing season. Such varieties were selected because they have good germination, require little water, use limited nitrogen and can squeeze out weeds through allelopathy. Applied research studies indicate that several suitable methods can be utilized for effective weed management in organic highbush blueberry production systems.