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.
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.
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.
The Yuma County Leaf Wetness Network remains in place for the 2018/19 vegetable season. Growers and PCAs may access information generated by the network by entering the following internet address: http://18.104.22.168:460
Upon entering the address above, you will be transferred to internet page that provides a series of tabs at the top of the page. Simply click on the tabs to access the information of interest.