Mustard seed meal suppresses weeds in container-grown ornamentals

Sep 29, 2008

Mustard is one of the most widely used condiments on the planet. Prized for its oils, mustard plants grow wild in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, and is grown commercially in the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.

During processing, the useful oils are extracted from the mustard plant, leaving mustard seed meal, or MSM, as a byproduct. Scientists are searching for innovative uses for mustard seed meal, hoping to increase profitability for mustard producers. Several products derived from natural sources are currently used as pest control substances for greenhouse plants. MSM and other byproducts of the expanding biofuels industry are being studied as solutions for controlling pests while offering the potential to increase profitability of biofuel production.

The use of herbicides in container-grown ornamentals is often limited as a result of the lack of registered products for use in greenhouses and the difficulty in assuring crop safety on numerous species grown in ornamental nurseries. Can MSM offer a solution? Dr. Rick Boydston and colleagues at the USDA recently published a report of their study of MSM's usefulness as an herbicide for container-grown ornamental plants. In the study, seed meal of mustard was applied to soil surfaces to evaluate its effect on several common weeds in container-grown ornamentals.

MSM applied to the soil surface of containers at 113, 225, and 450 g·m-2 reduced the number of annual bluegrass seedlings by 60%, 86%, and 98%, respectively, and the number of common chickweed seedlings by 61%, 74%, and 73%, respectively, at eight weeks after treatment. "Surface-applied MSM may control weeds in container-grown ornamentals without injuring the crop", summarized Boydston. In addition, MSM provides about five percent nitrogen and contributes to the nutrient needs of the crop."

"MSM has the potential to be developed as a selective herbicide for annual weed control in ornamental containers and further research could identify additional tolerant and susceptible species of both weeds and ornamentals", Boydston noted. Cost may be a factor in the long-term use of MSM, he noted, adding, "Transportation of MSM from oil-crushing facilities to end users will be a major factor influencing the overall cost of MSM".

The complete study is available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/43/3/800/

Source: American Society for Horticultural Science

Explore further: Saved from Sandy: Shorebird efforts are declared a success

Related Stories

NSA winds down once-secret phone-records collection program

19 hours ago

The National Security Agency has begun winding down its collection and storage of American phone records after the Senate failed to agree on a path forward to change or extend the once-secret program ahead of its expiration ...

Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off

19 hours ago

The pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three ...

Recommended for you

Researchers combat bias in next-generation DNA sequencing

20 minutes ago

Ever since scientists completed mapping the entire human genome in 2003, the field of DNA sequencing has seen an influx of new methods and technologies designed to help scientists in their search for genetic ...

11 new species come to light in Madagascar

5 hours ago

Madagascar is home to extraordinary biodiversity, but in the past few decades, the island's forests and associated biodiversity have been under greater attack than ever. Rapid deforestation is affecting the ...

Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

May 23, 2015

Many animals feed on seeds, acorns or nuts. The common feature of these are that they have shells and there is no direct way to know what's inside. How do the animals know how much and what quality of food ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.