May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
Clovers can be very difficult to control weeds here, but it is also a major crop and common ornamental. Clovers can survive under poor growing conditions and are not controlled with glyphosate and seem to get worse every year. There are more than 50 types and 300 species of clover and they can be easily misidentified. They are all in the legume (Fabracea) family and can use a bacterium (rhizobium) in the soil to convert nitrogen in the atmosphere to a form that they and other plants can use for fertilizer. There are only 4 or 5 clover species that are agricultural pests here. The ones we get the most questions on are white and yellow sweet clover. These are in the Melilotus family. White sweet clover (Melilotus albus) is tall for a clover and can get 3 to 5 foot in height. The leaves are thinner than most clovers and this difficult to control weed lives at least 2 years and sometimes longer. Glyphosate and most of the contact herbicides do not control it. The plant growth regulator herbicides work best. Yellow sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis) is less common here. The flowers are yellow, and it is not as tall and vegetative as white sweet clover. Yellow is more common at higher elevations. California burclover (Medicago polymorpha) and Black medic (Medicago lupina) are in the same genus as alfalfa and are more of a problem in landscapes, parks and golf courses than in agricultural fields here. They do not grow upright and spread below the crop or turf. The true clovers are in the Trifolium genus and include white and strawberry clover. These creep along the ground and root at the nodes of the stem. These are more of a urban landscape weed and not considered an agricultural problem. Creeping woodsorrel or Oxyalis looks like a clover but it is not related. It is a turf weed that spreads rapidly along the ground and can live for several years. Preemergent herbicides are effective against all these clovers before they become established. The postemergence herbicides that are most effective in controlling these clovers are the plant growth regulators. Contact herbicides and glyphosate are generally ineffective.
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.
Weed escapes are easy to spot in vegetable fields at harvest time. Some growers have these weeds pulled, bagged and removed by hand from the field because they are unsightly and to reduce seedbank loads. This can be a costly operation. An alternative solution might be to use high voltage electricity to kill these weeds. The idea of using electricity to “zap” weeds is not new. Machines for agriculture applications were developed decades ago and commercially available in the late 1970’s. Although the devices worked, they were not widely adopted due in part to the availability of low cost and efficacious herbicides.
Because of environmental concerns, herbicide resistant weed issues and increased organic production, non-chemical, high voltage weed control technology is seeing a resurgence. There are now five companies, three established within the last four years, offering or developing machines for commercial agriculture. Although configurations differ, all machines operate using the same principles. To explain, consider the example of the machine shown in Fig. 1. The unit comprises high voltage electrodes (8-15 kV) positioned above the crop canopy, an electric generator and a soil engaging coulter connected to ground. During operation, when an electrode touches a weed protruding above the canopy, current flows through the plant back to the generator via the ground contacting coulter. Current flow combined with electrical resistance in the plant causes rapid heating and plant fluids to vaporize. This ruptures cell walls and kills the plant. Although there are few recent reports in the literature, prior research on dated machines showed that the technique can provide better than 98% weed control in moderate weed densities (15,000 weeds/acre) at travel speeds of 2 mph (Diprose & Benson, 1984).
Modern approaches that utilize high voltage electricity in combination with smart machines to spot treat weeds are being developed. The idea is to use camera imagery and artificial intelligence to locate weeds and high voltage electricity to kill them. One such machine being developed by the MASCOR Institute1 and the Zasso Group is an autonomous robot equipped with cameras, on-board computers and robotic arms (Fig. 2). As the machine moves through the field, high voltage electrodes mounted on the movable, computer controlled robotic arms zap weeds. Another unit is being developed by Stekettee and RootWave. It is tractor pulled and designed to travel at 3 mph. Stekettee’s machine vision system identifies the weeds and RootWave’s high voltage electric technology shocks the weed with a pulsed 5 kV charge. Power is supplied by a generator connected to the tractor’s PTO. Both systems are in late stages of development with field tests conducted in 2020.
These systems appear promising and if they prove to be effective and economical, may be something to look for in the future.
1Reference to a product or company is for specific information only and does not endorse or recommend that product or company to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.
Growers and PCAs can monitor data from the Yuma Leaf Wetness Network through the AZMET website located at the following URL: http://18.104.22.168:460
The website updates information on leaf wetness and near-surface air temperature every 15 minutes. Wetness data are provided in graphical format (see figure below). Output from the leaf wetness sensors increase from the grey (dry) zone of the graph to the blue (wet) zone when wetness (dew or rain) is detected by the sensors.