A University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) researcher is trying to give growers more weed control options. The researcher, Ramdas Kanissery, says he wants the options to be more effective and economically viable as well as environmentally friendly.
“We are introducing a concept: herbicide synergy,” says Kanissery, a horticulturist at the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center at Immokalee. “We are mixing herbicides with different activities, different types of chemistry, and different modes of action.” His research trials include mixing pre-emergent and post-emergent herbicides. “We have some preliminary results that show these mixes of applications not only giving longer-term weed control, but also (being) economically very viable.”
Kanissery expects final results by the end of 2017. “So far, everything is promising,” he says.
The researcher also reports that “some vegetation is essential in the row middles” to prevent soil erosion. But, he adds, too much vegetation competes with the crops for nutrients and water. Kanissery says growers have used perennial peanuts and grasses effectively as vegetation in row middles. He says perennial peanuts “not only make a good cover crop … they add some more nutrition to the soil.”
Weed control got much more attention from researchers and growers in the decades before HLB was discovered in Florida in 2005. With the devastating disease killing many trees and drastically reducing crop production, most researchers focused on finding solutions to HLB. But growers still need to focus on all aspects of production to keep trees as healthy and stress-free as possible in order to cope with HLB. That focus on all production issues includes weed control, and the best use of herbicides is extremely important. Proper nutrition, control of all citrus-damaging insects and maintaining good water quality are also important in the effort to cope with HLB.
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