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Title: Corn gluten meal: Alternative weed control for squash

item Webber Iii, Charles

Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/31/2005
Publication Date: 6/1/2005
Citation: Webber III, C.L., Shrefler, J.W. 2005. Corn gluten meal: Alternative weed control for squash [abstract]. HortScience. 40(3):884.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Corn gluten meal (CGM) has been identified as a potential organic preemergence and preplant-incorporated herbicide. It is an environmentally friendly material that has demonstrated ability to decrease seedling development and plant survival by inhibiting root and shoot development. Unfortunately, CGM can also decrease the development and plant survival of direct-seeded vegetable crops. As a result, the use of CGM is not recommended in conjunction with direct-seeded vegetables. The development of equipment to apply CGM in banded configurations has created an opportunity to investigate whether banded CGM applications will provide significant crop safety for direct-seeded vegetables. The objective of this research was to determine the impact of banded CGM applications on squash plant survival and yields. A factorial field study was conducted during the summer of 2004 on 81-cm (32-inch) wide raised beds at Lane, OK with two application configurations (banded and solid), two CGM formulations (powdered and granulated), two incorporation treatments (incorporated and non-incorporated), and three application rates [250, 500, and 750 g/m**2 (5, 10, and 15 lb/100 ft**2)]. The two CGM formulations at three application rates were uniformly applied in both banded and solid patterns on August 18. The banded application created a 7.6-cm (3-inch) wide CGM-free planting zone in the middle of the raised bed. The CGM applications were then either incorporated into the top 2.5 - 5.0 cm (1-2 inches) of the soil surface with a rotary hoe or left undisturbed on the soil surface. 'Lemondrop' summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) was then direct-seeded into the center of the raised beds. When averaged across the other factors, there was not a significant difference between powdered and granulated CGM formulations or incorporating and non-incorporating the CGM for either squash plant survival or yields. CGM application rates did make a significant difference for both crop squash survival and yields, when averaged across all other factors. As the CGM application rates increased the plant survival and yields decreased. When averaged across all other factors, the banded application resulted in significantly greater crop safety (59% plant survival) and yields (228 cartons/ha) than the solid applications (25% plant survival and 118 cartons/ha). The research demonstrated the potential usefulness of CGM in direct-seeded squash production, if used in banded application configuration. Additional research should further investigate the interaction of CGM application rates and the width of the CGM-free zone on crop safety for various vegetables.