Integrating weed and vegetable crop management with multifunctional air-propelled abrasive grits

Samuel Edward Wortman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abrasive weed control is a novel weed management tactic that has great potential to increase the profitability and sustainability of organic vegetable cropping systems. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of air-propelled organic abrasive grits (e.g., organic fertilizers) on weed seedling emergence and growth and vegetable crop growth. A series of thirteen greenhouse trials were conducted to determine the susceptibility of weeds to abrasive weed control with one of six organic materials including: corn cob grits, corn gluten meal, greensand fertilizer, walnut shell grits, soybean meal, and bone meal fertilizer. In addition, crop injury was quantified to determine the potential utility of each organic material as abrasive grits in tomato and pepper cropping systems. Of the six organic materials, corn gluten meal, greensand fertilizer, walnut shell grits, and soybean meal provided the broadest range of POST weed control. For example, one blast of corn gluten meal and greensand fertilizer reduced Palmer amaranth (one-leaf stage) seedling biomass by 95 and 100% and green foxtail (one-leaf stage) biomass by 94 and 87%, respectively. None of the organic materials suppressed weed seedling emergence when applied to the soil surface, suggesting that residual weed control with abrasive grits is unlikely. Tomato and pepper stems were relatively tolerant of abrasive grit applications, though blasting with select materials did increase stem curvature in tomato and reduced biomass (corn cob grit) and relative growth rate (corn gluten meal and greensand) in pepper. Results suggest that organic fertilizers can be effectively used as abrasive grits in vegetable crops, simultaneously providing weed suppression and supplemental crop nutrition. Field studies are needed to identify cultural practices that will increase the profitability of multifunctional abrasive weed control in organic specialty crops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalWeed Technology
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

Keywords

  • Ecological weed management
  • organic farming
  • physical weed control
  • specialty crops
  • weed blasting,weed control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science

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