Submitted to: Proceedings of Northeastern Weed Science Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2000
Publication Date: N/A
Current vegetable production systems utilize polyethylene mulch and require multiple applications of pesticides and fertilizers. During rain events, runoff from vegetable production is enhanced because 50 to 75 percent of the field is covered with an impervious surface. Thus, the potential harmful effects on organisms in nearby streams and rivers from off-site losses of agrochemicals is substantially increased. The objective of our research was to compare the environmental impact of polyethylene and hairy vetch (Vicia villosa Roth) mulch systems by quantifying the off-site movement of pesticides and soil in runoff. Runoff collected from side-by-side instrumented field plots was measured and analyzed to quantify suspended solids, dissolved-phase, and particle-phase pesticide concentrations. Greater quantities of water, soil, and pesticides were collected from plots with polyethylene-covered beds and bare soil rows versus plots covered entirely with hairy vetch residues. Results from toxicity tests with aquatic organisms have shown greater adverse effects associated with runoff from the polyethylene mulch systems.