A near-zero tolerance policy on weeds by markets for nursery crops calls for weed-free container-grown plants, and forces growers to frequently remove weeds. Thermal weed control could represent a novel method to control weeds in shrubs from container nurseries, thus avoiding the use of herbicides and mulches. The aims of this study were to develop custom-built machinery for thermal weed control in container nurseries and to test the weed control efficiency of flame weeding and steaming in Photinia x fraseri "Red Robin" containers. A liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) fed flamer and a steamer with a dedicated diffuser were built. Four treatments were applied for a total period of 24 months: steaming once every four months, steaming once every two months, flame weeding once every two months or once a month. Temperature values measured at different depths in the substrate after thermal applications were recorded and analyzed. Photinia x fraseri features (height, diameter, and dry biomass) and aesthetic parameters as affected by thermal treatments were also evaluated. The trend in temperature values of the substrate over time followed a two-phase exponential decay. All the thermal treatments lead to a continuous near-100% weed control level, which is the level required by growers for aesthetic reasons. No damages caused by heat on Photinia x fraseri were observed. Container nursery producers could thus adopt thermal methods as a substitute for chemical solutions for weed control management.
|Autori:||Frasconi, Christian; Martelloni, Luisa; Fontanelli, Marco; Raffaelli, Michele; Marzialetti, P; Peruzzi, Andrea|
|Titolo:||Thermal weed control in Photinia x Fraseri “Red Robin” container nurseries|
|Anno del prodotto:||2017|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.13031/aea.11529|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|