Effect of surface tarp on emissions and distribution of drip-applied fumigants

Sharon K. Papiernik, Scott R. Yates, Robert S. Dungan, Scott M. Lesch, Wei Zheng, Mingxin Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soil fumigants are used to control a wide variety of soilborne pests in high-cash-value crops. Application of soil fumigants through drip irrigation systems is receiving increasing attention as a method to improve the uniformity of fumigant application. Little information is available on the emissions and soil distribution of fumigants following subsurface drip application, or the effect of plastic tarp on fumigant emissions in these systems. In these experiments, the fumigant compounds 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D), Vapam (a methyl isothiocyanate (MITC) precursor), and propargyl bromide (PrBr) were applied to soil beds via drip irrigation at 15 cm depth. Beds were tarped with either standard 1-mil high-density polyethylene (HOPE) or a virtually impermeable film (VIF), leaving the furrows bare. Cumulative emissions of 1,3-D, MITC, and PrBr in these tarped bedded systems was very low, amounting to <10% of the applied mass. These experiments were conducted in the winter months, with average air temperatures of 12-15 °C. Cumulative emissions of MITC and 1,3-D from a sandy loam field soil were decreased by ≥80% by tarping the bed with VIF rather than HDPE. A large fraction of the 1,3-D and PrBr flux was from the untarped furrows in VIF-tarped plots, indicating that inhibiting volatilization from the furrow will be important in further reducing emissions in these systems. Monitoring the fumigant distribution in soil indicated that tarping the bed with VIF resulted in a more effective containment of fumigant vapors compared to use of a HDPE tarp.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4254-4262
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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