May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
It is much easier to kill weeds when there is no crop in the field and now is a good time to reduce the seed bank of summer annual weeds in fallow fields. Weed seeds are buried at variable depths in the soil, some have hard seed coats and there are other variables that cause them to germinate over a long period of time. If they all came up at the same time they would be much easier to control. It takes time, therefore, to repeatedly irrigate, germinate and kill weeds with either tillage or herbicides. We have conducted trials that indicate that in most years summer annual weeds begin to germinate in February, reach a peak in June but continue to germinate into October.
Proper timing of tillage to kill weeds can be important with some species. Some weeds like common Purslane are very succulent and can remain viable for several days after cultivation or hoeing. They can reroot at the nodes and continue to grow if they are allowed to get too big before they are uprooted. Growers sometimes allow early emerging weeds to get fairly big in an effort to germinate as many seeds as possible. Incorporating large amounts of organic matter into the soil can also have a negative effect on some preemergent herbicides used in vegetables. Many of the root and shoot inhibitor herbicides like Trifluaralin, Pendimethalin, Benefin, DCPA and others can bind to organic matter and be less available to kill weeds.
Tillage has the opposite effect on perennial weeds such as nutsedge and bermudagrass than it has on annual weeds. These weeds are spread vegetatively and repeatedly irrigating and tilling them will spread rather than kill them.
Both contact and systemic herbicides are used during fallow periods to control weeds. The contact herbicides include Paraquat (Gramoxone, Firestorm), Carfentrazone (Aim, Shark), Pyraflufen (ET), Pelegonic Acid (Scythe),Glufosinate (Rely,Liberty) and others. Some of the advantages of these are that they are quick and have no soil residual allowing crops to be planted soon after application. Disadvantages are that they are effective primarily only on small weeds.
The most commonly used systemic herbicide for fallow ground is Glyphosate. It is broad spectrum and has no soil residual. Many of the systemic herbicides registered for fallow use, such as Oxyfluorfen (Goal, Galigan) or EPTC (Eptam) require at least 90 days before planting many vegetable crops. If done correctly, Eptam can be very effective in controlling nutsedge during summer fallow.
Only the fumigants kill weed seeds. These include Chloropicrin, Methyl Bromide, Metam Sodium, Dazomet, Telone and others. Most preemergent herbicides only work after the seed has germinated. Preemergent herbicides are often used for fallow weed control only when at least 30 to 45 days or longer are available. Fumigants are expensive, can be difficult to use and are often used for disease or nematode control with the added benefit of controlling weeds. Unlike soil active herbicides, Fumigants do not have any residual activity.
Soil solarization and flooding have become increasingly popular in recent years as techniques to control pests during summer fallow. Few regions are as well suited for these techniques as the low desert. They are used primarily to control diseases but have the benefit of controlling some summer annual weeds as well. Summer flooding works better here in the low desert than it does in many places because of the high temperatures and high respiration demands. The availability of oxygen is cut off to the roots when it is most needed. It is necessary to keep the field continuously flooded at a depth of 6 to 8 inches for 3 to 8 weeks. Some species are much more sensitive than others to this technique. Perennial weeds are more sensitive than are many annual weeds. Pigweed, field bindweed and nutsedge survive while many annual grasses do not.
We have learned a lot about viruses and one of the striking features of most plant viruses is that they always need a host. And the relationship between a virus and its host plant is very specific. So where do the viruses go when we do not have lettuce or melon in the field? And how do they come back at the right time to infect the crops? (clue insect vector). The answer is weeds. A lot of the most economically important viruses are economically important viruses not just because of the losses they cause, but also because of the losses they cause in variety of plants. Viruses have small genome size that allows them to evolve faster. Viruses over time have evolved to adapt and increase their host range.
Below are some common viruses in agriculture and the number of plants they infect/overwinter. Keep in mind that there are many plants that can act as a reservoir for virus but have not been reported yet, so this is not an exclusive list.
Alfalfa mosaic virus (AMV): Alfalfa, lettuce, endive, sunflower, datura, amaranth, different species of pigweed, milkweed, annual fleabane, oxeye daisy, hairy galinsoga, smallflower galinsoga, different species of mustards, common lambsquarters, hedge bindweed, field bindweed, cucurbits, different species of clover and vetch, beans, broad beans, lima beans, lupine, pea soybean, ground Ivy, healall, okra, purslane, pimpernel, black nightshade, pepper, tomato, petunia, eggplant, potato, garden pansy etc.
Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV): pigweed, horseweed, oxeye daisy, coffee weed, Canada thistle, bull thistle, hairy galinsoga, Jerusalem artichoke, prickly lettuce, wild chamomile, hawkweed, groundsel, Canada goldenrod, sowthistle, endive, sunflower, lettuce, mustard, radish, chickweed, lambs quarters, morning glory, cucurbits, common teasel, alfalfa, beans, lima beans, mung beans, geranium, ground Ivy, okra, purslane, jimsonweed, ground cherry, horsenettle, black nightshade, pepper, tomato, petunia, eggplant, potato, burning nettle, garden pansy.
Lettuce mosaic virus (LMV): lettuce, bristly oxtongue, spinach.
Bidens mottle potyvirus: lettuce, endive, horseweed, hairy beggarticks, virginia pepperweed, Mexican pricklepoppy.
Celery mosaic virus (CeMV): Celery, giant hogweed
Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV): Bur cucumber, creeping cucumber, balsom pear, cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, summer squash, pumpkin, gourd, winter squash, butternut squash,
Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV): Tomato, potato, pigweed, hairy beggarticks, oxeye daisy, coffeeweed, prickly lettuce, annual sowthistle, ebdive, sunflower, lettuce, shepherd’s pruse, chickweed, hedge bindweed, cantaloupe, muskmelon, bean, broad bean, mung bean, cutleaf evening primerose, broadleaf plaintain, purslane, jimsonweed, bittersweet nightshade, black night shade, pepper, tomato, petunia, eggplant, potato.
Tobacco mosaic virus(TMV): White campion, jimsonweed, pepper, tomato, tobacco.
Turnip mosaic virus(TurMV): pigweed, wild carrot, bachelo’s button, Canada thistle, hairy galinsoga, smallflower galinsoga, common catsear, pineapple weed, dandelion, endive, sunflower, lettuce, mustard, brassicae crops, corn cockle, chickweed, common lambsquarter, spinach, cucumber, alsike clover, lupine, redstem filaree, ground Ivy, okra, velvetleaf, common pokeweed, purselane, jimsonweed, black nightshade, tomato, petunia..
Watermelon mosaic virus (WMV) : mustard, common lambquarters, spinach, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, squash, buttercup, red clover, common vetch, alfalfa, beans, lupine, pea, henbit, common mallow, okra, common pokeweed, jimsonweed, nightshade,
Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) : cucumber, cantaloupe, watermelon, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, gourds.
Two years ago, Alphabet’s (Google) X-Labs initiated one of their infamous and far reaching “moonshot” projects focused on growing food sustainably on global scale. As you might expect, the project has been, and is kept pretty secret, but the company recently unveiled some details about the project through a company blog article (Grant, 2020) and their newly established website (https://x.company/projects/mineral/). The project is called “Mineral” and according to project lead Elliot Grant, the team has been working “alongside experts in the field – literally and figuratively…developing and testing a range of software and hardware prototypes based on breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, simulation, sensors, robotics and more”.
One of the tools the team has developed is a self-propelled “plant buggy” equipped with multiple cameras, sensors, GPS and other electronic equipment (Fig. 1). According to Mineral’s website, “Over the past few years, the plant buggy has trundled through strawberry fields in California and soybean fields in Illinois, gathering high quality images of each plant and counting and classifying every berry and every bean. To date, the team has analyzed a range of crops like melons, berries, lettuce, oilseeds, oats and barley—from sprout to harvest.” Stated objectives of Mineral’s software are to combine and analyze data collected from the field, soil health information and weather data to 1) predict how different varieties of plants respond to their environments, 2) allow growers to treat individual plants with fertilizers and pesticides to optimize production and reduce inputs and 3) help growers predict the size and yield of their crops.
It is exciting that a cutting-edge tech company like Alphabet is taking on an agricultural project like this. It will be fascinating to see what technical breakthroughs and solutions the company will be able to achieve for all crops, including vegetables.
Grant, E. 2020. Mineral: Bringing the era of computational agriculture to life. X Development LLC blog article. Mountain View, CA: X Development LLC. Available at https://blog.x.company/mineral-bringing-the-era-of-computational-agriculture-to-life-427bca6bd56a.
Area wide Insect Trapping Network VegIPM Update, Vol. 11, No. 22, October 28, 2020
Results of pheromone and sticky trap catches can be viewed here.
Corn earworm: Moth activity is about average for mid-October, particularly in Dome Valley and south Yuma Valley.
Beet armyworm: Moths remain active throughout the desert, especially active in Tacna and Dome Valley.
Cabbage looper: Cabbage looper activity remains unusually low for early October, likely a result of unusually hot weather. Larvae are yet to show up in many fields.
Whitefly: Adult movement has been about average for this time of year. Activity highest in Tacna near fall melons.
Thrips: To date, thrips activity has been seasonably low at all trap locations; activity increased significantly in Roll.
Aphids: Aphids beginning to show in most traps along the Colorado River (Bard, Gila, Yuma) which is normal for this time of year. Recent high winds may begin to disperse them throughout the area.
Leafminers: Adult activity below normal for September, but high numbers caught in Wellton in areas where melon harvest has commenced.