May 5, 2021Summer Sanitation Is Important as Ever
To contact John Palumbo go to: jpalumbo@ag.Arizona.edu
This is the time of year when people start to regret not controlling weeds earlier in wheat. Uncontrolled weeds begin to become more visible and both the crops and weeds are too big for most herbicides. The weeds not only produce millions of little time bombs (seeds) but can contaminate the crop, increase moisture and make harvest difficult. There are some herbicide options at this point, but none are great and all of them can only be applied when the wheat is at least in the hard dough stage and the crop is essentially done.
If the wheat is still developing both Simplicity and Osprey will control some big broadleaf and grass weeds. They may not be killed but they likely will stop growing. They can only be applied up to the jointing stage and most vegetables cannot be planted for 5 to 9 months following simplicity or 10 months following Osprey. The growth regulators (2,4-D, dicamba, MCPA and others) can only be applied up to tillering or the heads could be distorted and yield reduced.
All of the preharvest herbicide options can only be applied when the wheat is in the hard dough stage and the crop is essentially finished. So, if the wheat is too far along now, you likely will have to wait. A few of the options include:
Do not use on wheat grown for seed. There is a zero tolerance for this herbicide in wheat for export to some countries and it also has the potential to reduce seed germ. This may be an option, however, for grain intended for other uses that is seriously contaminated with weeds. Applying glyphosate too early will damage the crop. There is a preharvest interval of 14 days and this treatment is likely to be slow. Application will have to be by air and drift should be avoided as glyphosate is none selective.
This is a contact herbicide and will work as a desiccant without systemic activity. There is a preharvest interval of 3 days and results can be slow. Systemic activity is not necessary since this will be used as a burndown harvest aid treatment. Paraquat is not registered for wheat.
Growth Regulators (2,4-D, Clarity, Dicamba)
Drift Hazard These are highly systemic and volatile. They will need to be applied by air and will be difficult to use after March. May be an option in isolated areas. There is a 7 to 14 day preharvest interval and the plant back interval can be from 1 to 6 months to many vegetable crops. It will not kill grasses such as volunteer sudan or Johnsongrass.
This is a contact, fast acting herbicide similar to Aim or Shark. It will not control grasses and has a preharvest interval of 3 days. Some markets will not accept grain treated with Sharpen so check first.
This is a systemic that will not work well if the weeds are stressed. It only controls broadleaf weeds.
Preharvest control of grasses such as sudan, summer and winter annuals. Most of the grass herbicides used in wheat (Discover, Tacoma, Simplicity and Osprey) are restricted to application before the boot stage of the wheat and have a plant back restriction of from 1 to 10 months. The use of the postemergence grass herbicides such as Clethodim and sethoxydim, will control most grasses but could reduce the viability of the wheat seed.
With harvesting time getting closer to many field crops now, we are seeing higher incidence of bacterial diseases. We had few reports of bacterial spot on lettuce, cilantro, arugula, and parsley. Most times bacterial symptoms are not expected or simply ignored because we think the desert is too dry and bacterial diseases require high humidity. But as the plants grow bigger the space and aeration in between plants decreases, thus creating a humid microclimate. It is even more common on produces/herbs like cilantro, arugula, parsley etc. where the crops are grown densely, and sprinkle irrigation is used.
Initial symptoms of bacterial leaf spot are water-soaked lesions on leaves. The lesions develop into spots that are varying shades of tan or brown (see picture ‘B’ on parsley whereas advanced spots on cilantro can be black (see picture ‘A’ on cilantro). The lesions are usually limited by leaf veins and thus have an angular, square, or rectangular appearance, a typical feature of bacterial infection. Lesions tend to be relatively small about 1/8 to 1/4 inch (3–6 mm) in diameter and are visible from both the top and bottom of leaves. Under favorable conditions, free moisture from rain or sprinkler irrigation, leaf spots may coalesce and cause considerable blighting of the entire foliage.
Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii (Psa) and P. syringae pv. coriandricola (Psc). cause bacterial leaf spot on most vegetable. Pseudomonas syringae pv. apii (Psa) can cause leaf blight in celery and fennel as well. Though the problem is documented as more of a problem in cilantro and less in celery, in severe condition the disease can result in unmarketable produce in any host. The bacteria can be seedborne. However, water from rain, sprinkler irrigation, and heavy dews and fogs will splash bacteria from infected plants onto adjacent healthy foliage resulting in heavy infestation.
To manage the disease, always use tested/treated seeds, rotate crop with non-host to reduce inoculum level, switch from sprinkler to furrow irrigation to limit secondary spread, avoid excessive use of nitrogen fertilizer. If sprinkle irrigation has to be used, use light and more frequent irrigation, or irrigate in the morning or early afternoon so the plants dry off during the day. Copper spray/copper based fungicide provide limited control against the pathogens.
In next few weeks in the Clinic:
Because of the recent increase of Covid-19 related cases in Yuma, the Yuma Ag center is open only in limited capacity. Samples have to be dropped in the bench outside the main building. Please fill out the form provided when you drop samples. Our last day to take samples in the clinic for 2020 will be 18th of December. We will be using the remaining few days of the year to update the lab records, data, and prepare for 2021. Thank you for your love, support, and patience this year.
The Yuma Plant Health Clinic and Plant Pathology program wishes you safe and happy holidays!
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.