HortTechnology (Aug 2022)

Integration of Halosulfuron and Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation for Weed Control in Tomato

  • Gursewak Singh,
  • William Patrick Wechter,
  • Bhupinder Singh Farmaha,
  • Matthew Cutulle

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 32, no. 5


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Anaerobic soil disinfestation (ASD) is a preplant pest management technique that involves amending the soil with a labile carbon source, irrigating the soil to stimulate decomposition, and then covering the soil with polyethylene film (polyfilm) to limit gas exchange. During the ASD process, soil microorganisms shift from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism and release phytotoxic byproducts such as organic acids and gases. Although it has been shown that these phytotoxic by-products have a negative impact on weed survival, questions remain about whether commercial-level weed control can be achieved using ASD alone or in combination with other chemicals. Greenhouse and field studies were conducted to evaluate ASD with mustard (Brassica sp.) meal, molasses, and herbicide applications for yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) control in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). The treatments in these studies included factorial of two carbon sources [mustard meal + molasses (MMM) or no carbon amendment], three herbicide treatments [halosulfuron applied preemergence (PRE), halosulfuron applied postemergence (POST), and no herbicide] and two polyfilm treatments (polyfilm cover or polyfilm uncover). In field trials two polyfilm cover treatments were punctured and nonpunctured. Soil treatments included molasses at 14,000 L·ha−1 and mustard meal at 2100 kg·ha−1. Halosulfuron was applied at a rate of 1 oz/acre for PRE or POST applications. Greater anaerobic conditions were achieved in polyfilm cover treatments amended with MMM. In greenhouse and field trials, the most effective treatments for reducing yellow nutsedge populations were ASD with MMM or combined with halosulfuron application (PRE- or POST-ASD), which delivered significantly higher weed control than all other treatments tested or controls. In field trials, ASD with MMM caused plant growth stunting 14 d after transplantation (DAT); however, plants recovered, and stunting or injury was often not observed at 42 DAT. These studies demonstrated that ASD using MMM can be an effective strategy for reducing yellow nutsedge populations; however, the more research is needed to ensure crop safety while using ASD technology.