Researchers with UF/IFAS look into combating weeds that impede the growth of vegetables.
UF/IFAS researchers have found options for controlling common weeds that affect vegetable growth and an operation’s bottom line, says a UF/IFAS release. According to the piece, they’ve determined a method to “surgically strike out weeds” that get in the way of crop growth. Read a summary of their findings below.
Fighting Weeds with Fumigants
According to the article, researchers Nathan Boyd, a UF/IFAS associate professor of weed science, Joe Noling, a professor of nematology at the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center, and Gary Vallad, an associate professor of plant pathology, and Boyd – both at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, have focused on using a combination of fumigants in soil management zones.
“The concept of management zones is novel for Florida but also for other regions across the United States,” said Boyd in the piece. “For weed control, we are suggesting that you apply it close to the surface where the weeds grow.” Their research has centered on injecting the soil with fumigant combination—such as dimethyl disulfide and metam potassium—into specific zones to manage those weeds that are most troublesome, such as nutsedge, a weed the pieces maintains can reduce pepper yield by around 70 percent and tomatoes by 50 percent.
In the article, Boyd compared the process to taking care of a yard to illustrate the process: “Think about your lawn for example. There are areas where weeds are worse than others, or areas where grass does not grow as well. If you want a healthy, nice-looking lawn, then you need to focus on the problem areas. What we have developed is a similar concept. If you control the weeds with the fumigants, there is no need to apply herbicides. The key is better use of pesticides, which can result in an overall reduction in pesticide use.”
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