This project is aimed to develop sustainable methods for nutsedge control under Florida vegetable production systems and its economic impacts. Nutsedge is rated one of the most troublesome weeds for vegetable production systems not only in Florida rather across the globe. Previously, growers used Methyl bromide as a primary tool nutsedge managment but since its phaseout nutsedge management has been a challenge. Nutsedge is a problematic weed mainly due to its ability to propagate through tubers and most of the currently available management strategies are not very effective on tuber control.
The project focuses on the mechanical option for nutsedge tuber removal from the field using a peanut digger. Following the tuber removal, other weed management tools can be used such as cover crops, herbicides, fumigants, etc. based on the type of cropping system grower has adopted.
The project basically includes a greenhouse study and 2-year long field study followed by partial budget analysis to assess the cost to benefit ratio.
The field research is still in the beginning phase so no research conclusions have been made yet.
The objectives of the research are as follows:
1. To evaluate the herbicides and growth regulators for artificially breaking nutsedge tuber dormancy.
2. To evaluate the long-term nutsedge control feasibility through tuber removal using peanut digger and cover crops.
3. To assess the cost to benefit ratio for physical tuber removal technique for nutsedge control.
This project is will begin in April 2019 and field selection has been made for it. The field sites have been selected at UF Plant science research and education Unit, Citra, FL and Live Oak, FL. The selected has a known history of Nutsedge infestation.
The materials and methods listed in the original proposal will be applied to conduct the research and for data collection and analysis. We should be able to collect the data first year of data by November 2019.
Data collection hasn’t started yet and is scheduled to start in April 2019.
Educational & Outreach Activities
The research plots have not begun. We have discussed the research at the Suwanee Valley Watermelon Growers meeting and the Hastings Area Cole Crop field day. Several growers have requested a field day for the research plots once they have begun.
Weeds makes a prominent pest encountered by the growers across the world as they compete with the crop for resources and result in yield loss. Sustainable weed control methods are very eminent for ensuring global food security. In today’s world the chemical weed control methods are the most favored weed control technique used by growers however the excessive and exclusive use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers has led to a greater threat to environmental sustainability. The impact of chemicals on the environment and the backlash of natural species in terms of herbicide, fungicide and insecticide resistance is pushing us to adopt sustainable agricultural techniques. This project is intended to develop a non-chemical method for long-term control of nutsedge. The positive results from this study would reduce the growers’ dependence on chemical methods for nutsedge, which will contribute to avoiding depletion of the environment and other natural resources. The cover crop (cowpea) is a legume and known to fix nitrogen. Alongside, suppressing tuber growth through its shading effect, cowpea would act as a source of organic matter. This project is intended to develop a long-term weed control strategy through mechanical and cultural methods which could be used for multiple crops, unlike herbicides. By the completion of this project, growers will have not only chemical-free alternatives for nutsedge control rather they will also simultaneously be able to attain green manuring to their fields through cover crop termination. This project will enable growers to sustainably increase their productivity.
The project is still in the beginning phase however by reading through literature while preparing for this project has significantly added to our knowledge about nutsedge spp. behavior under field conditions. We have learned that usually, none of the single weed management strategies is sufficient nutsedge management. There is a strong need for growers to adopt integrated weed management strategies for effective and long term nutsedge control. We are very optimistic about further expanding our knowledge about sustainable nutsedge management during the course of this project.