Researchers are examining the use of hormones to control the most difficult weed for vegetable and specialty crop growers in Florida.
Ramdas Kanissery, assistant professor at the University of Florida’s (UF) Horticultural Sciences Department at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee, said hormone use might be able to help growers prevent this devastating weed better than current management tools.
The current tactic is mainly fumigating the soil prior to laying down plastic before planting the crop, he said. However, fumigation may not deplete the seed bank that nutsedge creates within the soil, which allows the weed to continue sprouting from that seed bank, said Kanissery.
While fumigation does work to manage the weeds above ground, it does not effectively remove the source of the weeds. The weeds will be removed from the crop for the season, but they will sprout again and become an issue in the following season due to the seed bank.
Kanissery said he is working alongside many other researchers at UF to screen various hormones to examine the efficacy of using them to combat the nutsedge seed bank formation within the soil. Growth hormones and anti-growth hormones are being examined in a lab experiment to see if they can become an effective management strategy for growers to combat nutsedge.
Following the lab experiment, Kanissery said this project will be recreated in a small field setting to accurately see if these hormones can control nutsedge for vegetable and specialty crop growers in Florida. The goal is to help ensure they can have a successful upcoming season.
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