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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Alternatives to methyl bromide soil fumigation for vegetable and floriculture production

Location: Subtropical Plant Pathology Research

Title: Use of Hay, Green, and Plastic Mulches to Suppress Nutsedge in Horticultural Crops

item Yasser, Shabana
item Rosskopf, Erin
item Morales-payan, J. P.
item Abou Tabl, A. H.
item Klassen, W.
item Charudattan, R.

Submitted to: Caribbean Food Crops Society Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/11/2011
Publication Date: 7/13/2008
Citation: Yasser, S., Rosskopf, E.N., Morales-Payan, J., Abou Tabl, A., Klassen, W., Charudattan, R. 2008. Use of Hay, Green, and Plastic Mulches to Suppress Nutsedge in Horticultural Crops. Caribbean Food Crops Society Proceedings.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Purple and yellow nutsedges (Cyperus rotundus and C. esculentus, respectively) are among the most serious weed problems in Florida, Caribbean, and other parts of the world. They have been reported to cause yield losses of 20-89% in various horticultural crops. Production systems based on plastic mulch and methyl bromide soil fumigation are used for nutsedge suppression in many conventional vegetable cropping systems. When methyl bromide has been totally phased out, the losses due to nutsedges are expected to increase in conventional horticultural crops. Organic production will continue to suffer due to a lack of effective weed control measures. Thus, 10 organic hays (shoot straw of bahiagrass, cogongrass, cowpea, millet, nutsedge, sorghum Sudangrass, sunnhemp, rye, corn, and sugarcane bagasse), four green mulches (cowpea, millet, sorghum Sudangrass, and sunnhemp), and two plastic mulches (black and IRT) were tested for their efficacy in suppressing purple and yellow nutsedge growth in a raised bed tomato (cv. Tygress) field. The black plastic mulch consistently reduced nutsedge emergence and growth more than the organic mulches and the IRT plastic mulch. All green organic mulches, except the green sunnhemp, were more suppressive to nutsedge emergence and growth than hay mulches. Among the organic mulches, the greatest suppressive effect on nutsedge was found when using green sorghum, green millet, and congongrass hay. Although cogongrass hay did not enhance the total yield, it influenced the proportion of larger fruits. The highest yield of extra large tomatoes per plant was obtained when cogongrass hay was used as mulch. However, the use of black plastic increased the total yield and the proportion of larger fruit.

Last Modified: 08/20/2017
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