May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
Contact herbicides are those that only affect the part of the weed that they “contact” They don’t move into or affect any other part of a plant. They were the first herbicides used and surprisingly, they still are better at controlling some weeds than any other products that have been developed. They usually control only small weeds with good coverage although some of them will kill large malva , Purslane and some other difficult to kill weeds. Goal, Sharpen, Treevix and Gramoxone, which are all contacts, will kill malva and purslane while systemic herbicides like Glyphosate and 2,4-D, misses them. Maestro or Bucril (Bromoxynil), also an old contact, will kill swinecress while many systemics like the growth regulators ,miss it. Glufosinate( Liberty, Rely) is a contact that is very broad spectrum and kills more grasses and broadleaves than many systemic herbicides. These all work very fast and in this age of immediate gratification ,you don’t have to wait long. Most have little soil residual activity (except Goal, Chateau and a couple others) Goal and Chateau are contacts but used mostly preemergence to the weeds. They “ contact” the weeds when they emerge at the surface. which is a benefit where double or triple cropping is common. Most( again except Goal) are not volatile but will cause pretty clear contact injury when the spray moves to sensitive crops. Paraquat was registered in 1959 and is still a very useful tool for desiccating plants. Many restrictions have been put on its use because of its toxicity to humans. Most contact herbicides are non-selective and will injure most living plant tissue. They are used selectively with directed spray or timing. Adjuvants are often required to increase absorption, spreading and sticking.
Last year we had a lot of watermelon fields infected with Fusarium from Winterhaven to Yuma, Wellton, and Mohawk Valley. Rain, and overwatering of fields when plants set fruits might have contributed to the disease development.
Fusarium wilt of watermelon, caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum, is one of the oldest described Fusarium wilt diseases and the most economically important disease of watermelon worldwide. It occurs on every continent except Antarctica and new races of the pathogen continue to impact production in many areas around the world. Long-term survival of the pathogen in the soil and the evolution of new races make management of Fusarium wilt difficult.
Symptoms of Fusarium can sometimes be confused with water deficiency, even though there is plenty of water in the field. In Yuma valley we have seen fusarium problem in some overwatered fields.
Initial symptoms often include a dull, gray green appearance of leaves that precedes a loss of turgor pressure and wilting. Wilting is followed by a yellowing of the leaves and finally necrosis. The wilting generally starts with the older leaves and progresses to the younger foliage. Under conditions of high inoculum density or a very susceptible host, the entire plant may wilt and die within a short time. Affected plants that do not die are often stunted and have considerably reduced yields. Under high inoculum pressure, seedlings may damp off as they emerge from the soil.
Initial infection of seedlings usually occurs from chlamydospores (resting structure) that have overwintered in the soil. Chlamydospores germinate and produce infection hyphae that penetrate the root cortex, often where the lateral roots emerge. Infection may be enhanced by wounds or damage to the roots. The fungus colonizes the root cortex and soon invades the xylem tissue, where it produces more mycelia and microconidia. Consequently, the fungus becomes systemic and often can be isolated from tissue well away from the roots. The vascular damage we see in the roots is the defense mechanism of the plant to impede the movement of pathogen.
Disease management include planting clean seeds/transplants, use of resistant cultivars, crop rotation, soil fumigation, soil solarization, grafting, biological control. An integrated approach utilizing two or more methods is required for successful disease management.
Steam sterilization of soils is commonly used in plant nurseries and greenhouses for effective control of soilborne pathogens and weed seeds. The technique, however, is highly energy intensive as the entire soil profile is heated. This is too costly and slow to be practical for field scale vegetable production. To reduce energy consumption and cost, use of band-steaming, where steam is applied only in the area where it is needed – in the plant root zone, is proposed. In this method, narrow strips of soil centered on the seed line are treated with steam rather than the whole bed.
Over the course of the last year, we developed a prototype band-steam and co-product applicator that is designed to raise soil temperatures in a band 2” deep by 4” wide to levels sufficient to control soilborne pathogens (140 °F for > 20 minutes) and weed seed (150 °F for > 20 minutes). The device is principally comprised of a 35 BHP steam generator and a co-product applicator mounted on top of a bed shaper (Fig.1). The apparatus applies steam via shank injection and from cone shaped ports on top of the bed shaper. An exothermic compound can be co-applied via shank injection and/or a banding spray nozzle. The rationale behind co-applying an exothermic compound with steam is that exothermic compounds react and release heat when combined with water, thereby reducing energy requirements and increasing travel speed.
Preliminary testing of the device this spring in Yuma, AZ were very promising. Trial results showed that application of steam alone effectively raised soil temperature in the center of the seed line to levels required for effective pest control (140 °F for more than 20 minutes). Use of the exothermic compound increased soil temperature by about 10 °F. A video of the device in action can be found at the link provided below.
We are currently evaluating the device in field trials with lettuce in Salinas, CA. Target pests in these experiments conducted in collaboration with Steve Fennimore, UC Davis, are soil pathogens which cause Sclerotinia lettuce drop and in-row weeds. Future articles will report the findings of this research.
This fall, we will be replicating these tests in Yuma, AZ and also investigating the effectiveness of band-steam for controlling Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lactucae which causes Fusarium wilt of lettuce. Heat has been shown to effectively kill Fusarium oxysporum spores and control Fusarium wilt disease. As an example, soil solarization, where clear plastic is placed over crop beds during the summer, raises soil temperatures to 150-155˚F at the soil surface, effectively killing the pathogen and reducing disease incidence by 45-98% (Matheron and Porchas, 2010).
These projects are sponsored by USDA-NIFA, the Arizona Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Arizona Iceberg Lettuce Research Council. We greatly appreciate their support.
If you are interested in seeing the machine operate or would like more information, please feel free to contact me.
See the band-steam and co-product applicator in action!
References: Matheron, M. E., & Porchas, M. 2010. Evaluation of soil solarization and flooding as management tools for Fusarium wilt of lettuce. Plant Dis. 94:1323-1328.
Results of pheromone and sticky trap catches can be viewed here.
We have started our Areawide Insect and DBM Trapping Network for the 2019-20 season.
We have added another trapping location in Bard, CA.
Area wide Insect Trapping Network VegIPM Update, Vol. 11, No. 20, Sep 30, 2020
Results of pheromone and sticky trap catches can be viewed here.
Corn earworm: Moth activity about normal for September but beginning to increase, particularly in Dome Valley and south Yuma Valley.
Beet armyworm: Moths remain active throughout the desert, especially in Texas Hill and Tacna growing areas- Staring to pick up in the south Yuma Valley.
Cabbage looper: Cabbage looper activity unusually low for mid-late September. Larvae just starting to show up in some fields.
Whitefly: Adult movement has been relatively light and about average for this time of year. Activity highest in Dome Valley.
Thrips: To date, thrips activity has been seasonably low at all trap locations; most activity found in Bard. Numbers beginning to slowly trend upward
Aphids: No aphids have been caught on traps thus far. Normal for this time of year. Still early, anticipate they will begin to show up in October.
Leafminers: Adult activity below normal for September, but moderate numbers caught in Wellton and south Gila Valley in areas where cotton was recently harvested and disked under.