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Integrating Weed and Vegetable Crop Management with Multifunctional Air-Propelled Abrasive Grits

  • Sam E. Wortman (a1)

Abrasive weed control is a novel weed management tactic that has great potential to increase the profitability and sustainability of organic vegetable cropping systems. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of air-propelled organic abrasive grits (e.g., organic fertilizers) on weed seedling emergence and growth and vegetable crop growth. A series of thirteen greenhouse trials were conducted to determine the susceptibility of weeds to abrasive weed control with one of six organic materials including: corn cob grits, corn gluten meal, greensand fertilizer, walnut shell grits, soybean meal, and bone meal fertilizer. In addition, crop injury was quantified to determine the potential utility of each organic material as abrasive grits in tomato and pepper cropping systems. Of the six organic materials, corn gluten meal, greensand fertilizer, walnut shell grits, and soybean meal provided the broadest range of POST weed control. For example, one blast of corn gluten meal and greensand fertilizer reduced Palmer amaranth (one-leaf stage) seedling biomass by 95 and 100% and green foxtail (one-leaf stage) biomass by 94 and 87%, respectively. None of the organic materials suppressed weed seedling emergence when applied to the soil surface, suggesting that residual weed control with abrasive grits is unlikely. Tomato and pepper stems were relatively tolerant of abrasive grit applications, though blasting with select materials did increase stem curvature in tomato and reduced biomass (corn cob grit) and relative growth rate (corn gluten meal and greensand) in pepper. Results suggest that organic fertilizers can be effectively used as abrasive grits in vegetable crops, simultaneously providing weed suppression and supplemental crop nutrition. Field studies are needed to identify cultural practices that will increase the profitability of multifunctional abrasive weed control in organic specialty crops.

El control abrasivo de malezas es una táctica novedosa para el manejo de malezas que tiene gran potencial para incrementar la rentabilidad y la sostenibilidad de los sistemas de cultivos de vegetales orgánicos. El objetivo de este estudio fue determinar el efecto de la aplicación de partículas abrasivas orgánicas (e.g. fertilizantes orgánicos) con aire a alta presión en la emergencia y crecimiento de plántulas de malezas y en el crecimiento de cultivos de vegetales. Se realizó una serie de trece experimentos de invernadero para determinar la susceptibilidad de las malezas al control abrasivo de malezas con uno de seis materiales orgánicos incluyendo: partículas de mazorca de maíz, harina de gluten de maíz, fertilizante de arena verde, partículas de cáscara de nuez, harina de soya, y fertilizante de harina de hueso. Adicionalmente, se cuantificó el daño del cultivo para determinar la utilidad potencial de cada material orgánico como partícula abrasiva en sistemas de cultivos de tomate y pimentón. De los seis materiales orgánicos, la harina de gluten de maíz, el fertilizante de arena verde, las partículas de cáscara de nuez y la harina de soya brindaron el mayor rango de control POST de malezas. Por ejemplo, una aspersión de harina de gluten de maíz y el fertilizante de arena verde redujeron la biomasa de Amaranthus palmeri (estado de una hoja) en 95 y 100% y de Setaria viridis (estado de una hoja) en 94 y 87%, respectivamente. Ninguno de los materiales orgánicos suprimió la emergencia de plántulas de malezas cuando se aplicó a la superficie del suelo, lo que sugiere que el control de malezas residual con partículas abrasivas es poco probable. Los tallos del tomate y del pimentón fueron relativamente tolerantes a las aplicaciones de partículas abrasivas, aunque la aplicación con aire a presión de los materiales seleccionados incrementó la curvatura del tallo en tomate y redujo la biomasa (partículas de mazorca de maíz) y la tasa de crecimiento relativo (harina de gluten de maíz y arena verde) del pimentón. Los resultados sugieren que los fertilizantes orgánicos pueden ser usados efectivamente como partículas abrasivas en cultivos de vegetales, brindando simultáneamente supresión de malezas y nutrición suplementaria al cultivo. Se necesitan estudios de campo para identificar prácticas culturales que incrementen la rentabilidad del control abrasivo de malezas multifuncional en cultivos de vegetales orgánicos.

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Weed Technology
  • ISSN: 0890-037X
  • EISSN: 1550-2740
  • URL: /core/journals/weed-technology
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