May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
The volatility of herbicides, or the change from a solid or liquid to a gas, is dependent on several environmental factors and is extremely variable. We have been working on finding a replacement for Glyphosate for non-crop weed control and have tried to determine the stability of the potential herbicide alternatives. There are various methods used to measure herbicide volatility. All herbicides are initially tested in the laboratory to determine volatility and other properties. Volatility is specifically measured by placing a given volume of herbicide in a container, exposing it to various temperatures and humidity’s and then weighing how much is left. This is done under very controlled conditions. Another technique that is often the next step is to conduct bioassay studies in a greenhouse. This usually involves placing a container with the herbicide spray solution in a closed environment with sensitive plants. Injury to the bioassay plants are measured visually or by some other means. Field Studies are often conducted to measure herbicide volatility. This technique is the most applied, but the results are often imprecise and variable depending on environmental conditions. This commonly involves spraying an isolated area in the field and after the spray has settled placing sensitive plants at variable distances and directions away. Injury is observed or measured at variable time periods. We used this technique on June 10 to June 15 this year at the Yuma Valley Agriculture Center to measure volatility of 13 herbicides we are evaluating as alternatives to Glyphosate. Seven X 10 Ft. plots were sprayed, and tomato plants were placed 25Ft. away from each sprayed area on the north, south, east and west corners 1 hours after application A 50 Ft. buffer separated each sprayed plot. Visual injury was measured to the tomato plants at 24 and 48 hours after they were placed in the field. The 13 herbicides were used in this trial included 5 modes of action and are listed below.
The temperature reached above 100 F, the humidity was 10 to 20% and wind was 5 to 10 MPH during the trial. No injury symptoms were observed to any of the tomato plants from any of the herbicide treatments. The trial included low volatility formulations of the plant growth regulators, 2-4-D (Embed) and Dicamba (Enginia) which are often volatile under these hot and dry conditions. Neither of these two, or any of the other included herbicides, moved 25 ft or more in this one trial. We know, however, that in other trials the results have sometimes been different. Volatility is variable and difficult to measure in field trials.
With the start of melon season, you will also start seeing seedling diseases on melon. Bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) of melon is a common disease in melon seedlings that can stay in the crop until fruits/seeds are formed. You will be seeing more of this disease in greenhouse transplants.
Bacterial fruit blotch (BFB) of watermelon is caused by the bacterium Acidovorax avenae subsp. Citrulli. The bacteria produceslarge olive green to brown water-soaked lesions on fruit, making them unmarketable.
Symptoms of BFB on seedlings begin with water-soaked areas on the lower surface of the cotyledons and inconspicuous lesions on leaves. BFB lesions will become necrotic often with yellow halos. Lesions are frequently delimited by veins. Infected seedlings collapse and die.
Greenhouse conditions are usually favorable for dispersal and establishment of pathogen. Thus, good greenhouse practices and sanitation is extremely important. Clean transplant trays must be used (disinfect trays if they will be reused) and new soil. Destroy any volunteer seedlings and keep the area in and around the greenhouse weed free. Avoid overhead watering if at all possible, or water in the middle of the day so that the plants dry thoroughly before evening. The bacterium can spread on mist and aerosols. Relative humidity should be kept low through proper watering and good air circulation in the greenhouse. Separate different seedlots, to reduce lot-to-lot spread. Monitor these isolated seedlings daily and destroy trays where symptoms develop. The remaining trays should be sprayed with a labeled bactericide and the applications continued until the plants are transplanted to the field.
The pathogen can be seedborne, so growers should only use seed that has been tested for the presence of the pathogen by a reputable testing facility. Management of BFB includes a combination of preventing the introduction of the pathogen, sanitation to eliminate any inoculum present, and the use of bactericides if the disease appears. There are no commercially available watermelon cultivars that are resistant to bacterial fruit blotch, but there is some variation in susceptibility among cultivars.
Mark C. Siemens
Vol. 12, Issue 9, Published 5/5/2021
Automated thinning machines have been commercially available since 2012. These machines identify crop plants and intermittently deliver an herbicidal spray or dose of liquid fertilizer to thin the stand to the desired plant spacing. Some growers have converted older machines to spot apply pesticides to crop plants rather than thin lettuce. Spot spraying just the crop plant makes sense – it reduces applied chemical amount by about 1/3rd as compared to band spraying and by roughly 90% as compared to broadcast. I have heard reports of improved efficacy with this technique, perhaps due to better coverage, however this potential benefit has not been validated in formal trials.
A drawback with automated thinning machines is their high cost. Retail prices for machines are approximately $25,000 per seed line, or about $200,000 for a 4-row, 2-line machine. Another option might be to use automated systems designed for spot spraying weeds. These devices have been commercially available since the mid 90’s and function similarly to automated thinning machines in that they use optical sensors to detect plants and solenoid activated spray assemblies to intermittingly spray unwanted plants (Fig. 1). The cost of these devices is quite reasonable – about $3,000 per unit, or about $24,000 for a 4-row, 2-line machine.
Automated spot sprayers are typically used in agriculture to control weeds in fallow fields (Fig. 2), but could easily be adapted to apply pesticides or even fertilizer to vegetable crops. Spot applying foliar fertilizers to vegetable crops is an interesting concept and is being investigated in California with lettuce.
Another potential use of spot sprayers is to control herbicide resistant weeds. The device can be positioned between crop rows to spot spray a non-selective herbicide to target weeds. Placing the sprayer in a hooded enclosure prevents unwanted drift onto crop plants. We are conducting trials using this technique in cotton this season (Fig. 3). We are also looking for collaborators interested in trying the device as a pesticide and/or fertilizer spot applicator in vegetable crops for this upcoming season. If you are interested collaborating or would like to see a demo of the device, please feel free to reach out to me.
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.