Impact of pelargonic acid for weed control in yellow squash

Apr 28, 2014
Successful weed control in yellow squash was accomplished with postdirected applications of pelargonic acid. Credit: Photo by Charles Webber, USDA

Growers who produce squash for market are increasingly interested in using more natural herbicides that are also effective in providing season-long weed control, but the options for controlling annual broadleaf weeds in summer squash are currently limited. The authors of a new study say that both organic and conventional producers will benefit from the identification of natural herbicides that effectively provide postemergent weed control. Charles Webber III, Merritt Taylor, and James Shrefler conducted a research study published in HortTechnology to determine the impact of pelargonic acid—a fatty acid that occurs naturally in plants and animals and is found in many foods—on weed control efficacy, crop injury, and squash yields of yellow squash.

"Although pelargonic acid is not listed as a 'certified organic' herbicide, it is seen as a more natural type herbicide for use in sustainable crop production," explained Webber. The researchers designed experiments in which pelargonic acid (PA) was applied to 'Enterprise' yellow squash (unshielded postdirected) at 5-, 10-, and 15-lb/acre. The experiments included an untreated weedy control and an untreated weed-free control. Pelargonic acid was applied in mid-July, and then reapplied eight days later.

Results of the experiments revealed that maximum smooth crabgrass control, broadleaf weed control, and yellow nutsedge control occurred with the 15-lb/acre PA treatment at 9 days after initial spray treatment and 1 day after the sequential treatment. Pelargonic acid at 15-lb/acre provided equal or slightly greater smooth crabgrass and broadleaf control compared with the 10-lb/acre application, and consistently greater control than the 5-lb/acre rate and the weedy control. Pelargonic acid was less effective at controlling yellow nutsedge than smooth crabgrass and broadleaf weeds.

Analyses showed that increasing the PA application rate increased the crop injury rating at 1 and 3 days after each application; maximum squash injury occurred for each application rate at 9 days after treatment. Yield analysis found that the 10-lb/acre PA treatment produced the highest squash yields and fruit number compared with either the 5- or 15-lb/acre rates, and yields and fruit number equivalent to the hand-weeded, weed-free treatment.

"This research determined that a sequential postdirected application of pelargonic acid at 10-lb/acre in 40-gal/acre can consistently produce satisfactory with low crop injury to produce weed-free equivalent squash yields," Webber said.

Explore further: New bale unroller design deemed effective

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: horttech.ashspublications.org/… ent/24/1/25.abstract

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Corn gluten meal tested on squash survival, yields

Mar 17, 2011

Corn gluten meal, a powdery byproduct of the wet-milling process of corn, has shown important potential for use as an organic, non-selective preemergence or preplant-incorporated herbicide. A team of researchers from the ...

New bale unroller design deemed effective

Nov 19, 2013

John Wilhoit and Timothy Coolong from the University of Kentucky have introduced a new technology that can make the application of organic mulches more efficient. The research team from the University of ...

Two-spray strategy outmanoeuvres crop weed

Mar 17, 2014

A strategy that applies herbicides to crops at two different times has been found to effectively combat weeds including wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) in northern Wheatbelt crops.

Can sweet corn be grown using less atrazine?

Jan 18, 2011

Atrazine is one of the most widely used herbicides in North American corn production, but heated controversy remains over the 50-plus-year-old product. Several other herbicides are used in corn production, and a host of ...

Recommended for you

Genetically tracking farmed fish escaping into the wild

20 hours ago

European sea product consumption is on the rise. With overfishing being a threat to the natural balance of the ocean, the alternative is to turn to aquaculture, the industrial production of fish and seafood. ...

France fights back Asian hornet invader

Aug 20, 2014

They slipped into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China and have since invaded more than half the country, which is fighting back with drones, poisoned rods and even chickens.

Tide turns for shark fin in China

Aug 20, 2014

A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ...

Manatees could lose their endangered species status

Aug 19, 2014

About 2,500 manatees have perished in Florida over the last four years, heightening tension between conservationists and property owners as federal officials prepare to decide whether to down-list the creature to threatened ...

User comments : 0